If there’s one question people have for filmmaker Randy Olson about his newest movie, “Sizzle,” it’s why did he want to make a comedy about global warming. His answer? To capture a new audience — one that other films such as Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” didn’t already reach.
“What matters is the next generation and that’s why the movie is filled with humor,” he said, “to make it more enjoyable for a younger demographic."
“Sizzle” is a mockumentary in which Olson and a film crew set out to make a documentary about global warming and come across a cast of skeptics and scientists. The result is a comical journey that has the ability to reach new audiences that might not be compelled to watch Gore’s film.
The movie premiered in July and has been reviewed by Nature and Variety, and currently Olson is showing it at several universities and museums. He will be at the University of Delaware for free screenings of “Sizzle” as well as his 2006 film “Flock of Dodos” on Nov. 10 and 11 as follows.
Nov. 10: Smith Hall, Room 140
7 p.m., movie, followed by Q&A, Refreshments will be provided
“Flock of Dodos: The Evolution-Intelligent Design Circus”
Nov. 11: Purnell Hall, Room 115
6 p.m., pizza will be served, 7 p.m. movie, followed by Q&A
“Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy”
Events are free and open to the public. No RSVP is required.
“Flock of Dodos” focuses on the various sides of the evolution-intelligent design debate. While the intelligent design advocates appear concise and clear, the scientists come across as arrogant and condescending.
Olson, who has a Harvard doctorate in coral-reef ecology and spent 15 years a scientist before turning to filmmaking in 1994, hopes the movie and his subsequent work can help scientists learn to make their work more accessible to general audiences. He has a book due out on the topic in March 2009 called “Don’t Be Such a Scientist.”
Olson also is known for his work on Shifting Baselines (www.shiftingbaselines.org). That project points out that if we allow references points from the past to shift, we lose track of our standards and eventually accept a degraded environment as “natural.”
So far, “Sizzle’s” comedic approach has been a success. Following the film’s East Coast premiere, one father explained that he had to drag his daughter “kicking and screaming” to the event. Afterward she went directly home and got on the computer to learn more about climate change.
The father told Olson, “I’ve never seen my daughter catch fire with a subject like this.”
The UD screenings are sponsored by the College of Marine and Earth Studies, University Studies Program, University Honors Program, Students for the Environment (S4E), and Beta Beta Beta (National Biological Honor Society).
If you have questions about the events, call 302-831-2841 or e-mail email@example.com.
For more about Olson’s films, visit www.flockofdodos.com and www.sizzlethemovie.com.
For more about CMES, visit www.ocean.udel.edu.