Monday, May 15, 2006

President Al Gore, SNLive From the Oval Office

[ took it down, but....] Al Gore 2008 has it up in flash video, or in Quicktime, your choice of low bandwidth or high bandwidth.

Al Gore's highly acclaimed movie about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," is opening in selected cities on May 24th:

The story behind the movie:
Gore's interest in world climate changes dates to the late '60s. Roger Revelle, one of his science teachers at Harvard, issued a shocking prediction to his students: Carbon dioxide, spewed into the atmosphere by cars, coal-burning power plants and other black-smoke polluters, would devastate Earth if left unchecked.

"I was lucky because I had a good teacher who explained and showed this to me early on," Gore recalled.

In the late 1970s, after his election to the U.S. House of Representatives, he organized the first congressional hearings on global warming. He began discussions with world leaders in the 1980s to raise awareness about the issue. In 1990, while in the Senate, he gave slide presentations, complete with charts. While vice president, he argued for new emissions standards. Occasionally he brought out the slides at the White House to show to lawmakers, environmentalists and, once, a group of visiting weathermen.

Gore figured lawmakers would be outraged by the climate changes and take action. They didn't. Instead, people started calling him "Ozone Man" and worse. Critics used his interest in the environment against him, portraying him as a tree-hugger.
"I consistently underestimated how hard it would be to convince people," he said.
After the 2000 election debaucle, with nothing left to lose, Gore reassumed the environmentalist mantle in the wake of his defeat:
Six weeks after the nasty election was decided by the Supreme Court, Tipper Gore went to a storage unit in Arlington, Va., where her husband's papers were stored. She combed through boxes until she found the old carousels and projector.

It would be several more months before Al Gore pulled it all together, along with new images, and took them to a photo shop near his home in Nashville, where they were turned into slides.

The assemblage resembled — as Gore put it — a nature hike through the Book of Revelation: temperatures rising, carbon dioxide levels zigzagging higher, glaciers melting, the Arctic giving way, bigger storms.

Like a traveling evangelist, he began booking free appearances all over the country: in school auditoriums, hotel meeting rooms and theaters. Audiences were drawn as much to the message as to the spectacle of the former vice president delivering the message, sans the entourage he'd left behind in D.C.

He arranged the slides in three projectors, hooked together like a Rube Goldberg contraption. He'd bring along a ladder as a prop. A climb to the top illustrated how much CO2 had increased in recent years.

There were plenty of mishaps. All the slides were backward at his first presentation, held at a college in Tennessee. At another show, he fell off the ladder.

"I think it was at an auditorium in downtown D.C.," he recalled. "One of the four legs of the ladder got partway over the edge of the stage. When I got up on top of it, the entire thing went off the stage. I wasn't hurt and I leaped back up, and I said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, you will never forget this presentation.' "

He finally realized he needed to computerize the lecture — an ironic realization for a man jokingly credited with inventing the Internet.

"It was silly that I hadn't thought of it before," Gore said. "It's like that old movie where the family comes out of the bomb shelter and technology has moved on. That's how I felt."

After joining the board of Apple, he sought the help of several engineers. They moonlighted at his hotel in Palo Alto, working late into the night to help him modernize. With the presentation finally in Keynote, he started getting stronger reactions from audiences.

One night, he showed it to a group of camping buddies — a number of them Republicans — at a lake in Tennessee. "Even the guys farthest to the right said, 'I had no idea.' At that point, I knew the show was really connecting."
On the road, Gore continued to update and refine his presentation — which he estimates he has given more than 1,000 times. He incorporated slides of Katrina, fissures in the ice of Greenland, new pictures of Mt. Kilimanjaro with its diminishing snowpack. "In a few years, there will be no more 'snows of Kilimanjaro,'" he told audiences.
Last year, environmentalist Laurie David — wife of "Seinfeld" co-creator Larry David — saw Gore's presentation in Los Angeles.

She and "Pulp Fiction" producer Lawrence Bender — who met David in Hollywood's tight-knit circle of political activists — pulled together a team led by director Davis Guggenheim to turn the one-man show into a movie.
Gore immediately agreed, but he wanted the documentary to focus on the hard facts: "It was essential that they craft the movie on factual analysis." Guggenheim, however, worried that he wouldn't be able to turn scientific data into a compelling movie.

The only way, he figured, was to also capture Gore's personal side. Guggenheim said the movie became "the journey of how he first learned about it, how he became obsessed with it, and at moments how he felt derailed."

Guggenheim worked as director and cinematographer, following his subject around with a hand-held camera. He captured him talking about a tragic accident that almost killed his son and about his sister's death from lung cancer — two important emotional keystones that forced Gore to grapple with life's fragility. The personal turning points, he explained, solidified his determination to stay on track: Unless we stop global warming, Earth's climate could be forever altered in ways that would destroy life as we know it.
After six months of work on the film, "An Inconvenient Truth" was unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival to three standing ovations for Gore and the movie. (Even before the movie ended, several studio executives approached the producers about distributing the film. Paramount Classics eventually won the rights.)
Gore will spend the summer traveling with the movie, which opens at two theaters in Los Angeles on May 24 and then begins a slow rollout across the nation. (He also has a book coming out on global warming.)

Once again on the campaign trail, he has been urging environmentalists to help pack the theaters on the opening weekend. He has also been lobbying theater owners to show the film. "I've told [them] that I would sell popcorn if I had to, I'd take the movie door-to-door. We want to use this as a tool to persuade people that we have to do something, before it's too late."

Filed under: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

No comments: