At first glance, the Going Green Film Festival, which claims to be the first film fest to focus solely on green filmmaking, seems reasonable. Films can be submitted only through the festival’s Web site in three categories: Green Production (where a film’s production somehow lessens its carbon footprint), Our Planet (where a film covers third world issues, ecology, nature, or environment) and Hybrid/Alternative Transportation (where a film features a hybrid car, bike, electric scooter, or public transportation).
Filmmakers who focus on environmental topics surely appreciate the opportunity to have their films featured in the Our Planet category, but Green Production and Hybrid/Alternative Transportation just seem silly. How green is a film that purchases a few carbon credits or features a main character riding around on a Vespa? As environmental concerns come to the forefront of society, one would hope that sustainability concerns in production become de rigeur. And as hybrid vehicles become more common than gas-powered cars, won’t most films feature them? The Going Green Film Festival is a decent incentive for filmmakers to shift their attention to environmental ideas in the short term, but it mostly just serves to make so-called green filmmaking a niche category, when in reality it should be integrated into all mainstream movies. Indeed, that trend is already beginning–out of the 32 films that competed at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, five focused on the environment.
If you’re still interested in submitting a film to the Going Green Film Festival, prizes include a hybrid electric bicycle, a tree planted in your name, and screenwriting software.