The six-film series will be shown over six nights: Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week and next. Film topics range from the World Water Crisis to electric cars. Each film will be paired with a relevant segment from Brooklyn filmmaker Michelle Vey’s From Elegance to Earthworms, a documentary about New York-based environmental groups.
Screenings will be followed by one or two guest speakers and a question and answer session. The speakers are from local environmental groups and businesses, said Judy Harper, New York City chapter director of GreenEdge. “The movies are about big issues,” she explained. “We want to bring them back to the local area.”
Doors will open each night (figuratively, since the screenings are outside) at 7 p.m. with the films starting at 7:45. The projector and audio will be powered by a solar system on the roof of Solar One, at 23rd Street and FDR Drive in Manhattan, where the screenings will take place. Chris Neidl, outreach and advocacy coordinator at Solar One, said that the solar power is collected and stored in a battery bank, allowing it to be used after dark.
Though the film series will be shown in Manhattan, the event has a strong Brooklyn influence. GreenEdge Collaborative NYC was founded in 2006 by then-Park Slope resident Carolyn Gilles. She wanted to connect businesses and residents who live sustainably. Since then, GreenEdge has expanded to include a Kentucky chapter, and a San Francisco chapter is in the works. Gilles has relocated to Kentucky — “I moved five weeks ago and I miss [Brooklyn] dearly,” she said — but GreenEdge still has a strong connection to Brooklyn.
“We’re very much born and bred in Brooklyn,” said Harper. “It’s where we have built the most support.”
In a nod to these Brooklyn roots, several of the guest speakers are from Brooklyn organizations. For Thursday night’s film, Addicted to Plastic, a documentary about solutions to plastic pollution, speakers will be Vey and also Amanda Gentile, a co-founder of the Brooklyn Green Team. On Sept. 18, The Garden, about a community garden in Los Angeles, will be shown, followed by speakers Juventino Avila, co-owner and Chef of Get Fresh Table and Market in Brooklyn, and Stacey Murphy, founder of BK Farmyards. Gilles said the films were chosen to emphasize current topics in environmentalism and she hopes attendees will gain something from the screenings. “I hope that they walk away inspired to take action and make changes in their daily lives.”
Neidl — who happens to be a Brooklyn resident — hopes to “build the reputation and understanding of solar power” through the film series, demonstrating “the message and the medium” at the same time.
The series should also be a good time. Previous years have seen as many as 400 people in attendance, said Neidl, noting that though this is the second year GreenEdge has been a partner, it’s the fifth year Solar One has hosted film screenings.
“It’s a fun way to learn about the environment and what’s happening currently,” said Gilles.
Screenings for the Solar-Powered Film Series will be on September 10, 11, 12 and 17, 18 and 19. The event is free. Doors open at 7 p.m.