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City Lights Gives a Hoot And Goes Green

19 Oct, 2007 By: Billy Gil

As far as Sal Scamardo, president of City Lights Home Entertainment, knows, his company's joint label with Green Owl Productions, dubbed City Lights/Green Owl, is the only “all green” visual entertainment label out there.

City Lights, an independent film and television distributor and production house, has found a perfect partner with Green Owl, a music and film label that produces and markets environmentally friendly product. Their first joint effort is a DVD release of Everything's Cool: A Toxic Comedy About Global Warming, coming Dec. 11 (prebook Nov. 13) at $24.98.

“Given what happened with Live Earth and Al Gore getting the Nobel Peace Prize, people, I think, are coming around in a much bigger way to the seriousness of the issue of global warming,” Scamardo said of the timing of the green label announcement.

He said teaming with Green Owl allows access to the company's marketing capacities, which includes targeting activist groups through mailing lists and events. City Lights/Green Owl also has partnered with AOL True Stories, a community engagement site in which people can discuss documentary films. The label also will screen the film in New York and Los Angeles.

The DVD release, along with all other future DVD releases, will be distributed by Warner Music Group's WEA Corp. and will bear a Green Owl stamp that states it comes in 100% post-consumer recycled material. Scamardo said as progress is made, the company will be vigilant in becoming more green through such efforts as eliminating paper announcements in favor of on e-mail.

The DVD's special features will include deleted scenes, DVD-ROM links, a photo gallery and commentary. Additionally, “activist extras” include congressional summary reports that illustrate the levels of manipulation on climate change, as well as an advertised link to a carbon calculator, where visitors can determine how much they are contributing to pollution ( greenowlrecords.com/calc).

Through Warner, the company also is reaching out to digital film providers such as Netflix to make it available digitally in as many places as possible.

“Obviously it makes sense for a movie that talks about the environment to be available through digital [streaming and downloading] because it's the least polluting method,” Scamardo said.

In the film, directors Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand interview experts as well as common folk who offer humorous insight into the so-called debate about global warming. The aim, Scamardo said, is to show the disconnect between politicians and the scientific community, which largely believes that human activity contributes to climate change.

The film also focuses on Rick Piltz, founder of government accountability project Climate Science Watch and former associate director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, who resigned in March 2005 in protest of changes made to his scientific report and went to the press.

“Here's a guy who's pretty much under the radar but has witnessed the doctoring of documents on global warming to the point that he quit his job and went to The New York Times,” Scamardo said.

Scamardo said the label is working on other projects, such as another documentary film and a possible TV series, saying the field is fertile with such avenues as Discovery Channel's upcoming 24-hour green lifestyle channel, Planet Green, and Sundance Channel, which will screen Everything's Cool in January. But for now, the company is focused on its toxic comedy.

“It's kind of like An Inconvenient Truth, but more enjoyable to watch… as much as I love Al,” Scamardo said.

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