Powerful energy alternatives

Documentary shows innovation

One month after the devastating 9.0 earthquake off Japan’s northern coast that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and sent plumes of radiation into the atmosphere, it seems there is no better time to discuss sustainable energy options.

For its 85th screening and fourth-annual Earth Day fundraiser, Open Cinema, the non-profit grassroots documentary screening program by Media Net is presenting Powerful: Energy for Everyone, an innovative look at what alternatives everyday people are finding to conventional energy systems.

“Filmmaker David Chernushenko embarks on this exploration of the various alternatives to fossil fuel power and nuclear power, and finds that there are people all over doing remarkable things with wind energy, solar energy and more,” according to Mandy Leith, Open Cinema’s founder and director.

“He takes a journey across the country — partly in a bio-diesel bus with Adam Kreek, the gold medal Olympian rower who is also a bio-diesel engineer — on the trail of people doing innovative and alternative things with energy.”

After the screening, an open-forum discussion will follow, led by a panel of experts including Kreek, moderator Hugh Kruzel, author Guy Dauncey and Donna Morton — founder and CEO of First Power. Chernushenko will make an appearance via Skype to introduce the film.

“We’re not critiquing the film as much as we are using the film as the jumping off point to discuss the issues that it addressed. Then we throw it open to the floor and it’s always very lively. People come prepared to not only engage in a Q & A, but we also encourage people to think of this as a conversation, and the guests are essentially a resource to the conversation as opposed to the experts.

The last event of Open Cinema’s eighth season will also be a fundraiser with a silent auction. “We raise about 20 per cent of our annual revenue from the fundraiser,” Leith says. “Another 20 per cent comes from donations at the door.”

Suggested donation is $15-$55 at the door. Almost every event this season has been a sell out, so get there early to save a seat. Please bring your own cup, cloth napkin and spork if you plan to partake in the evening’s food and beverage offerings.

Leith was asked by the Documentary Organization of Canada to be part of the We Love Documentary national campaign, which is drawing attention to the state of the industry, which Leith calls dire.

For more information about the We Love Documentary campaign, visit www.welovedocumentary.com. M

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