X-Dance goes green with local youth
January 24, 2007
It’s easy being green in Hollywood this year, and the X-Dance Sports Film Festival is no different.
The festival, which is committed to furthering the sports action filmmaking genre, has decided to make a concerted effort to become a vital part of the green movement by recognizing it in different ways throughout the festival.
And it’s more than a green influence its green saturation. The festival’s official broadcast sponsor is CurrentTV, a national network committed to international and cultural themes, and is partly owned by former vice-president Al Gore. With the release of his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," the green theme is ever-present.
They are also welcoming actress Darryl Hannah to present an honorary award at the closing ceremonies of the festival to the Action Sports Coalition and its founder Frank Scurra, who focus on furthering the environmental movement. Chris Paine, director of "Who Killed the Electric Car," is also part of the closing event and will hand out the award for Best Director.
X-Dance co-founder Brian Wimmer explains that the connection between "going green" and action sports is natural. Most extreme sports are reliant on nature and the outdoors, so protecting it should be of the utmost importance to athletes and the people who follow them.
The final piece of the green puzzle for X-Dance was to tie in the green theme with the community. Enter Anne Wycoff, another X-Dance founder, whose young daughter, Olivia, attends Another Way Montessori Development Center, which is committed to making positive changes in the environment. As part of honoring the green movement, she approached the center about making a short film involving the students.
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"I thought lets do a movie behind the school and at the resorts," Wycoff said.
Her original intention was to complete a short film about one of the students, Jack Hamilton, a junior freestyle champion. She thought that a child who loves and depends on the outdoors to pursue his passion would be a perfect platform to launch the film. As time began to run out, Wycoff decided to use the footage for a public service announcement (PSA) instead, that would hopefully be picked up by CurrentTV and other stations.
"We decided this is perfect," Wycoff said. "Kids are great avenues to have their voices heard."
She says that the children’s voices can be part of Gore’s global mission.
In the PSA, Hamilton and fellow student, Seamus O’Conner, a top snowboarder, ask serious questions of adults on saving the environment, while other students support them in the background.
"They’re scared," Wycoff said. "They ask questions about SUVS, water "
The kids also offer solutions. In preparation for the piece, the children watched film’s like "An Inconvenient Truth," and "Who Killed the Electric Car," and completed reports about the environment.
"We did reports so we were focused," explained Hamilton.
The children also spent much of their time at the development center completing earth-friendly projects like weed clearing, recycling, replacing light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs taking their environmentally-friendly knowledge into their owns homes.
"Even this year, we can see the changes," Hamilton said.
"Another Way" director Diane Bode says that when Wycoff approached them to make the film, they jumped at the opportunity.
"They wanted to make a statement to Sundance that they are concerned about issues of the environment," Bode said. "They want an environment here. They want water to drink. They wanted to reach out and see different films being made."
The children are very passionate when questioning the adults that they question about things as simple as energy-efficient cars, public transportation and recycling.
"When you see the children, it’s heart-rending," Bose said.
The making of the PSA has also helped to increase the children’s level of commitment to "staying green." They are installing a greenhouse at the development center this summer and the children have begun searching labels for eco-friendly products.
The two-minute PSA will be shown during the closing ceremonies of the X-Dance Film Festival on Tuesday evening, and hopefully soon on CurrentTV. Wycoff hopes that it’s only a matter of time before other networks take notice.
"The children worked so hard to reach the hearts and minds at Sundance and if it goes out further, that’s great," Bode said.
Hamilton just hopes that the PSA doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
"We have to do something, until there’s no snow," Hamilton said. "For me, I’ll probably have a good life, but if I have kids, they will never have seen snow. It’s not just about the snow either "