Director Shira Golding Evergreen and producer Suzanne McMannis will present their film Empowered at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28 in the Sanford Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library. Following the showing, the filmmakers will lead a question and answer period with the audience. The event is free and open to the public.
Presented as part of HWS’ Green Lens Environmental and Social Justice Film Series, Empowered tells the story of Tompkins County, N.Y.’s role in the energy independence movement. The film focuses on individuals and organizations in Tompkins County who have switched to inexpensive, environmentally safe energy sources including solar, wind, geothermal and biodiesel. While Tompkins County is in one of the cloudiest, least windy regions in the U.S., the film attests that the community is on the forefront of the movement toward sustainable energy.
The film features vignettes focused on projects such as the town of Caroline’s town hall, which is heated by solar power, geothermal heating, sun tubes and passive solar. Other initiatives profiled in the film include Ithaca Biodiesel Cooperative, Renovus Energy and Black Oak Wind Farm.
“We made this film to document the many ways that our neighbors have embraced renewable energy from wind and solar to geothermal and biodiesel in creative and empowering ways,” says Evergreen. “We hope the film will inspire students and local residents to think more deeply about their own energy decisions and move toward sustainability. Hopefully audiences will also see how accessible these technologies can be and how they can be used to make individuals and communities more resilient.”
Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, praises the film. “Here’s a remarkable ground-up account of the revolution that’s really starting to alter things on this earth—and with any luck this movie will help many more people shake up their communities!” McKibben says.
First released in 2012, Empowered screened at environmental film festivals around the country and abroad, including the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, FilmColumbia Festival and Colorado Environmental Film Festival, among others. Excerpts from the film can be seen at its website.
Empowered is the third of four film in the Green Lens series at HWS, which is sponsored by the Colleges’ sustainability initiative, Office of Intercultural Affairs and the Environmental Studies Department. Previous films in the series include Not Without Us, on grassroots activists heading to Paris for the 21st U.N. Climate Conference, and Flow: For Love of Water, which examines the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply. The last film, The Story of Stuff, will be shown on Thursday, April 25 in the Sanford Room at 6:30 p.m. This film is a short, animated documentary about the lifecycle of material goods.