Green Film Sets Q&A with Ryan Pomeranz, Director/Producer

The Following Q & A with filmmaker Ryan Pomeranz was re-posted from Production Hub...

Q: What was the inspiration for Theodore is Dying and why did you decide to go green for this project?

A: Theodore is Dying (TID) was made as part of an MFA program at UCF in "Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema." I knew I wanted to do a feature once I got my BFA and the program at UCF gave me the means to do it. It's amazing how much a mandate and a deadline can act as inspiration. 

Theodore is Dying tells four different stories dealing with themes of death and rebirth, which is something I knew I wanted to explore when I started writing it. I think it's a normal part of life to hit these points of demarcation where you can draw a line and say "this is where everything changed." Whether it's the loss of a loved one, or the end of a long-term relationship, or whatever, at some point you're going to have to pick up and start over, and that's what each character in the film is faced with.

Q: What kind of equipment did you use for this film and how did it affect the going green initiative?

A: We shot HD on the Sony EX-3. Obviously shooting digitally is more environmentally sound as opposed to shooting on film. You end up avoiding the use of environmentally damaging materials that are used to both make and process the film. Our first goal when deciding to shoot digitally was (like most people I would assume) to keep costs down. 

Q: What was the budget for this film and how did you achieve success on such an “ultra-low budget”?

A: The budget for TID was $35,000. Certainly the reason we had a successful shoot comes from the incredible crew we had working on the film. It was important to us (Producer Allie Kenyon and I) to surround ourselves with people that we had worked with before and/or had absolute confidence in. Making a film with this small of a budget, in a somewhat unfamiliar location, comes with an extra set of challenges, but having a talented dedicated crew can absolutely make the difference between whether those challenges are surmountable or not. 

Q: What are some tips that you could give other filmmakers working on feature films with low budgets?

A: This is sort of a hard question to answer because I feel like every situation is different. Once again I would say making sure you surround yourself with people you trust is one of the most important things you can do. As a director or a producer you're not going to be able to handle every "fire" that flares up, so having a great production manager and a great 1st AD (We had the amazing Meredith Kaulfers and Alix Duggins respectively) is absolutely essential. 

My other advice would be to make the film as "above the table" as possible. This isn't to say you shouldn't steal shots when you need to, but the more preparation and paperwork you finish in pre-pro, the less hassles and potential legal pitfalls you'll face when it's time to distribute or even (God forbid) sell your movie. We had a great lawyer that was willing to work with our budget and our specific situation. Shop around because many entertainment lawyers are willing to work with first time filmmakers. The last thing you want is to end up with an amazing film you can't do anything with. 

Q: Would you encourage other filmmakers to go green on set? What are some tips for making a set more eco- friendly?

A: I absolutely would recommend that filmmakers try to make their films in as sustainable a way as possible. Beyond sleeping better at night, we were also actually able to save money in production by going green. It's also been incredibly useful as a marketing tool.  Read MORE...

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Water Equals Human Dignity And International Security

Water scarcity and drought is directly connected to public health, energy, agriculture and food supply and, by extension, international security.





From the Desk of Jim Thebaut

The full spectrum of social networking is beginning to have a dramatic turning-point effect on public policy and societal change throughout the world. Much like its impact as a major stimulus in the election of Obama in 2008, this grassroots phenomenon is creating a profound paradigm shift in the international political landscape and structure, specifically on countries, governments, principalities and kingdoms throughout the Middle East. Unrest, upheaval and anti-government movements have spread to Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen and particularly Egypt, the historic epicenter of the Arab world.  Furthermore, anti-government rallies are underway or upcoming in Iran, Algeria, Bahrain, Libya and Morocco and the end result of this momentous wave of revolution is anyone’s guess.

 The central catalyst within this dynamic political outcry is applied science. The youth of the world, particularly the young intellectual community within the university environs, have comprehended the technology as a political tool. Text messaging, Facebook and Twitter have opened a gateway to unprecedented grassroots political organization and communication capability. This reality is beginning to stymie and may very well soon terrify current and future autocrats, dictators, oppressors, tyrants and despots everywhere.

 The dramatic events in Egypt were triggered by a social networking campaign. The movement evolved into a challenge to Mubarak’s authoritarian rule, fueled by frustration over government corruption, rampant poverty and unemployment. Mubarak has now resigned and the ultimate leadership and structure of the Egyptian government is a question yet to be determined.

 This overall historical milestone should be a lesson about the powerful effectiveness of an organized political and social movement which utilizes social networking tools in order to achieve governmental change or reform. The remarkable reality is that it took only 18 days to precipitate the collapse of a military regime which was in power for 30 years. Just imagine if a similar effort could be applied to far-reaching geopolitical public policy to solve the global water and sanitation crisis – a situation which, if not immediately checked, will ultimately undermine the health and stability of the world.

 Currently on planet Earth, 4,000 children die every day from water-related diseases or lack of water. One in eight people (884 million) live without safe drinking water and two in five (2.5 billion) do not have sanitation. This lack of basic services adversely affects human health, education, dignity and livelihoods. Water scarcity and drought is directly connected to public health, energy, agriculture and food supply and, by extension, international security.

 In December, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act. The legislation died in the lame-duck session of Congress. Once more in 2011, a new effort is underway to guide the legislation through Congress. However, in reality, I’m concerned that the only way this legislation will ever be approved by the new Congress is through a national grassroots campaign by the body politic, all the people in support of this critical international humanitarian measure.

 As we have learned from recent events, community organization reinforced by social networking can make a profound political and historical difference. As citizens of the world, we are responsible for maintaining the planet’s ecological system. Non-governmental organizations, community and civic groups, students from across the globe and individual citizens now have the unique opportunity and capability to make a monumental difference. Let’s use the social networking resources available and pull together and organize in order to communicate to elected and public officials. Let’s push governments to accept the moral responsibility to solve the water and sanitation crisis and make sure the planet is healthy and safe for future generations.

Jim Thebaut
Chronicles Group


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Education And Environment Kick Off

Teachers in the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District are introduced to EEI at Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School

[From the office of Sen. Pavley]

I was thrilled recently to give a taped kick-off speech to teachers in the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District - some of the first in the state to begin teaching using the Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI). EEI is a unique opportunity to formally include environment-based education into California's classrooms.

I authored the landmark EEI law while I was serving in the Assembly. The bill (AB 1548) was sponsored by Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization based in Santa Monica. The goal is to teach students about their relationship with the environment – and to do that by weaving environmental principles and concepts into existing curriculum in science and social science.

The EEI curriculum is the result of unprecedented cooperation between the California Environmental Protection Agency and the California Department of Education. More than 100 scientists and technical experts from across the state contributed to the development of this landmark curriculum. These experts represent state agencies, universities, businesses and industry, and environmental organizations. They've all shown enormous dedication.

This first–in-the-nation curriculum has gone through a very rigorous review. The format is age and content appropriate. Many pilot schools have given EEI a test run and the results have been wonderful! The teachers participating in the orientations for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District were very enthusiastic and we've received nothing but positive feedback. This curriculum will help prepare students to compete in a global economy. It will educate them in local and global issues that will impact the rest of their lives. It will prepare students to become future scientists, economists, and green technology leaders.

I'd like to congratulate the Santa Monica – Malibu Unified School District for implementing EEI. I'd also like to thank all of the teachers for their dedication to educating our future leaders.


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