Coming to theatres today, Friday, April 1: CATCHING THE SUN
Shalini Kantayya’s look at initiatives to expand solar energy had its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival last Summer. Screenings followed at Big Sky, Washington DC’s Environmental, San Francisco Green, Twin Cities, and Australia’s Transitions, among others.
Recognizing the potential in renewable energy to provide not only a means to kick oil dependence but to generate much-needed employment and revenue, initiatives have emerged in cities both at home and abroad to tap into solar power. Kantayya’s film surveys the landscape of the solar boom, both on the local level, as she explores how the city of Richmond CA turns to training programs as a means to fight high crime rates, unemployment, and the dangers of a nearby Chevron refinery; and on the global scale, as Chinese solar entrepreneur Wally Jiang dreams of expanding his successful business to other countries. Demonstrating the US government’s resistance to the adoption of sensible renewable energy policies, well-represented here by both historical precedent – President Carter’s installation of solar panels on the White House and their immediate removal when President Reagan took office – and the rise and fall of the film’s subject Van Jones – who finds himself moving from the SF Bay Area’s Green for All program to serve as President Obama’s Special Advisor on Green Jobs and instantly attacked by the rightwing – the doc instead sees hope in grassroots initiatives that change local behavior and create demand among the people that will prove harder and harder to ignore.