If you're undecided what movie to check out next, you could pick one based not on who's the star or what the story is, but on how clean the film is. No, I'm not talking about anything the MPAA has to say, but about a movie's carbon footprint. Carbon-neutral films have been making their way to theaters and video store shelves for a while now. Some are well known - like "An Inconvenient Truth," "The Day After Tomorrow" and "Syriana" – but the new independent movie "Sweet Land" is also carbon neutral and the story has nothing to do with the environment.

"Sweet Land" writer and director Ali Selim said the movie cost $1 million to make and the filming process emitted 8,000 tons of carbon. This sounds like a lot, but it could have been a lot higher. Selim asked his cast and crew be conscious of their emissions during filming (actors were asked to carpool to the filming locations, for example) and the technical process used as little energy as possible (e.g., using sunlight instead of film lights). The hard work of then making sure the film was carbon neutral was the responsibility of Selim's wife, Robin, who added up "every mile driven by every vehicle, every gas receipt ... every airline ticket, every actor who traveled, every pound of film," Ali told Reuters. To offset the 8,000 tons of CO2 the film's production sent into the air, the filmmakers invested $10,000 in a German reforestation project and windmills and compact fluorescent lighting in Jamaica.

[Source: Reuters / Deborah Zabarenko via Planet Ark]

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