Overview: Highlighting innovators and entrepreneurs in communities from Georgetown, Texas to Buffalo, New York, HAPPENING: A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION follows filmmaker Jamie Redford – grandson of a longtime Chevron worker and son of actor/environmental advocate Robert Redford – on an enlightening cross-country journey to discover the current state of clean energy and see what lies on the horizon. The film reveals pioneering renewable-energy solutions that are making the potential future brighter than ever before while underscoring notions of human resilience and social justice. Additionally, Redford brings his own personal point of view to this complex, polarizing issue.
Expectations: It seems pretty basic to me. This is an infomercial declaring the power of alternative fuel alongside a curious mind towards the matter in Redford. The question is whether this filmmaker and his approach are effective in raising more awareness to clean energy.
Gut Reaction: It was quite factual and interesting, at times. It was also unique to have Redford as an “everyman” character walking us from an outlet in his house, following the electric poles and locating the power station that runs his home. He also asks some of the basic questions that we all might have, even down to the basics of electricity itself. He is not the most charismatic host to the story. I did get tired of his yakking at times, but he was through in illustrating the particulars of clean energy and the pride, passion, empowerment and knowledge of the people enthused by their alternative energy choices.
There is one thing that kind of confused me here. It does not have to do with how energy is generated by the sun or the wind, how it is marketed or how you can rig a home to get it. My question is, “Who is this documentary for?” The people you want to turn on to the energy revolution are the ones who aren‘t going to watch. They live in coal country or are just don’t care for changes. Redford is preaching to the choir; the people watching are either already a part of the revolution on some level or reviewers like me. This documentary illustrates that there is a movement happening across our country. Will it ever grow larger? As James Redford and his documentary has shown us that there is hope.
In Conclusion: Redford’s pursuits were smart in that this story doesn’t get told often enough. We get the documentaries that talk about the dangers of fracking and the ‘unclean’ methods of the coal industry; we get the preaching of the extreme results of climate change. But you don’t often get the alternative solution story. He just served that story to us with HAPPENING: A CLEAN ENERGY REVOLUTION. Watch the documentary or don’t; get on the bandwagon or don’t, but it is happening. The question, though, that lingers on is if it is happening fast enough.
Next: We review a documentary about a guy you likely never heard of. He is AGNELLI. Why is he worthy of a look? We’ll find out.
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