Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Tale of Two Hashtags: #HollywoodInDenial and #HollywoodCliFi

[I wrote a new oped and will start tweeting the link now. I want to reach film critics and people inside Hollywood and I need all the help I can get. Any ideas or contacts?]
A Tale of Two Hashtags: #HollywoodInDenial and #HollywoodCliFi
an OpEd by Dan Bloom
Where are the Hollywood movies about climate change issues, the movies with climate themes? You know, powerful ''issue'' movies like "On the Beach" or "Gentleman's Agreement" or "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner"?
And not just in Hollywood, but among independent movie studios, too, like the one that produced "Moonlight." And not just in the USA, but among movie studios in Norway, France, Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Japan, China, Chile?
In 2016, there was not one feature movie from Hollywood about climate issues. In 2017, there will be none as well. What is wrong with the people who make movies? Can't they see the handwriting on the wall?
A few years ago, Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood put out a challenge to Canadian writers, young and old, to respond to the challenge of climate change. Prime Minister Justine Trudeau's government has appointed a minister responsible for climate change, and with this action, Canada has, in terms of policy, created a new framework for writers and film directors to use in their creative works. More nations should follow Canada's example. Hollywood, are you listening?
Movies about climate change issues, either in the background of the story or front and center, are more important than ever now as the 21st century gets ready to welcome in the years 2020, 2040, 2060 and more. Some of us won't be here anymore. Others reading this will be here.
Some of these future movies with three dramatic acts -- a set-up, a look inside the situation and final denouement -- might be dystopian, some might be utopian. Some might be crime thrillers or detective yarns. They can take place in the past, the present or the future. They can be sci-fi or cli-fi or speculative fiction stories.
Since most people now accept man-made global warming as real, film producers and scriptwriters need to try to use their creative spark and emotional heft to emotionally move readers about a possible disaster that could claim much of the planet within the next 30 generations of humankind. Hollywood needs to get on this. In a hurry.
Of course, movies take time to fund and cast and greenlight. Some movies take 15 years from first speak of an idea to the final product in the theaters or on TV or DVD. Some take less time, maybe 5 or ten years. But movies cannot be made overnight or produced in a year, as novels or stage plays can. So we cannot realistically expect to see Hollywood movies about climate issues and global warming anxieties (within a 90-minute dramatic frame, with A-list actors and top producers and directors at the helm) until at least 2025 or 2030.
But you read it here first. It can happen. It will happen. Don't believe me? Just Bill McKibben or Robert Macfarlane, who both asked the same kind of question separately in essays they wrote in 2005. Better yet, ask Hollywood climate activist and producer Marshall Herskovitz. He's onto this. He' working at this. He needs more people to support him.
I am an optimist. I believe in the power of art and literature to transform lives and transform society. What Nevil Shute did with his 1957 novel "On the Beach" (with the movie adaptation released in 1959), Hollywood producers and scriptwriters can do with their movies now: shine a spotlight on the most pressing issue facing humanity ever.
Lights! Camera! Action!

No comments: