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» This '2012' film sees nature in positive role

This '2012' avoids catastrophe, uses tech, drugs to get back to nature
by Hugh Hart, published on Sunday, April 4, 2010

The movie "2012" made $770 million last winter by imagining a global apocalypse predicted, some believe, by the ancient Mayan calendar. Working from the same point of departure, "2012: Time for Change" steers the focus away from dramatic catastrophes and toward people who are using technology and psychedelic drugs to repair man's relationship with nature.

The film has a three-day San Francisco run beginning April 9.

Brazilian filmmaker João Amorim's documentary follows journalist Daniel Pinchbeck as he meets with a wide range of sustainability activists. Author of "2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl," Pinchbeck says: "We need to recognize that the inertia of our society as it operates now is going to lead to cataclysmic effects, so a critical mass of people need to get fully engaged in changing that."

The varieties of engagement explored in "Time for Change" include actress Ellen Page's visit to a sustainable farm Sting also appears on camera to recount his experience with hallucinogenic plants grown in the Amazonian rain forest. Pinchbeck believes that the counterculture's drug experiments may finally pave the way for some long-term dividends. He says, "In the '60s, the culture freaked out because it was as if drugs broke open this container and all this material from the unconscious came rushing in, but people didn't have the elders or wisdom to integrate the material."

Pinchbeck hopes the film helps trigger an enduring shift in awareness. "João's film clarifies issues facing our planet, and I think it will awaken people. Because more people now have gone through their initiatory process, some of this consciousness is now re-entering the culture in a more subtle, mature way."

Yale films educate about environment

Sixteen days before Earth Day, Yale University launches the 2010 Environmental Film Festival. Beginning Tuesday, the festival will showcase eight features and 12 short films.

Topics include penguins, gas drilling in the Catskill Mountains, over-reliance on soybeans, bear hunting, Dumpster diving and arsenic-laced water.

The opening night entry, "Houston We Have a Problem," critiques Texas' oil industry.

Festival Director Eric Desatnik says, "Our mission is to capitalize on the power of film to educate the public about critical environmental issues, to encourage environmental stewardship, and to incite change."

Indie film distributor's advice: Keep it simple

"I am not a very good prognosticator, but I am a very good adapter," says Mark Urman. That has served Urman well. A longtime indie film player, Urman co-founded THINKFilm, where he produced Oscar-winning documentary "Born Into Brothels" and three other nominees. He left in 2008. Urman now runs distributor Paladin.

Staying afloat in a volatile market, Urman likes to keep it simple: "I don't own a corporate jet. I don't own a corporate bicycle! And I don't need a 10-year plan. We can be flexible, we can be limber as the business changes, as the films change, as the economic models change."

Surveying the collapse of specialty film companies, Urman says, "The drunken-sailor days of independent films are now fewer and far between. If you have a movie where everybody dies at the end or it's dark, depressing and stylistically innovative, you have no business spending the kind of money that requires you to sell it to everybody."

Paladin has released "Disgrace" John Malkovich, "The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond" with Bryce Dallas Howard and "The Greatest" with Pierce Brosnan. This summer, Paladin will distribute "Great Directors," featuring interviews with Bernardo Bertolucci, Agnès Varda and others. "I can't promise my partners that their film will make a lot of money," Urman says, "but I can promise that it will make a lot of noise and get on the radar. It will exist."

Source: www.sfgate.com

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