You can watch the entire film online for only $2.99 during Earth Month 2013 by clicking on “Rent” below.
We are coming out west! On April 19th, Empowered will be screening at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, WA as part of their annual environmental film festival. Please spread the word to anyone you know in the area! Here are the details…
4/19/13, Olympia, WA: Olympia Film Society Environmental Film Festival
WEST COAST PREMIERE!
Friday, April 19, 9pm
206 5th Ave SE, Olympia, WA, 98501
Here’s what the Olympia Film Society has to say about the film…
Is it possible for an entire community to live ‘off the grid’? Well, it is achievable and it’s happening in Tompkins County, New York. In Empowered: Power From the People, the feat that this East Coast town has accomplished is examined to understand how they did it, and how it could be possible for us all. Through pointed interviews with residents and city leaders, this informative documentary takes us behind the scenes to reveal how a small town that lives under a blanket of clouds for most of the year has managed to shed its dependence on fossil fuels and local power companies by using sustainable energy methods from wind and solar power to bio-diesel and geothermal energies. Positive and motivational, Empowered: Power From the People paints an enlightening portrait of a town in the midst of an energy revolution.
Producer Suzanne McMannis, Director Shira Evergreen, Art Weaver of Renovus Energy (featured in the film), and Guillermo Metz, Coordinator of the Green Building and Renewable Energy Program with Cornell Cooperative Extension, were on Ithaca Community Radio 88.1 WRFI, on Tuesday morning, February 12th discussing Empowered, Renovus Energy, Solar Tour Dryden and Solarize Tompkins SE. You can listen to the show in two parts:
Since we’re environmentalists, we don’t really like making products and shipping things around – we prefer things to be done online when possible. But we’ve had a lot of requests for the DVD, and they are useful for community screenings and gifts. So, we’re now selling DVDs! They’re made in as low-impact a way as we can manage, burned right here at Shirari Industries (a.k.a. the director’s living room), and folded into handmade paper packets (no plastic cases).
- DVD Ithaca Pick Up $10 (we’ll leave it at the Shaleshock office at the Workers Center, above Autumn Leaves Used Books on the Commons in Ithaca, for you to pick up)
- DVD U.S. $15
- DVD International $20
Proceeds go toward making more DVDs, creating outreach materials, maintaining this website, and funding other upcoming film and activist projects.
There’s a full-page piece about Empowered: Power from the People with quite a bit of back story about Shira’s prior filmmaking experience and why Ithaca is such a great place to make movies. Here’s an excerpt and you can read the full article: Do-It-Yourself Film Ethic Empowers Ithaca
Evergreen and her partner moved upstate from the city for both professional and personal reasons. “All the physical spaces gave us the financial and emotional space to tackle film making,” she said. “We started out in Ithaca and set up a graphics business, and we now live in Dryden. It’s less than an acre, but it seems like so much coming from the city.” She has been applying the energy efficiency lessons that she learned while making Empowered to her own house.
What advantages are there to making films out in the hinterlands? “Well, the overall pace of life is a relief,” Evergreen said. “It promotes creativity and collaboration. There’s a big word-of-mouth community, and everyone is eager to tell a story that reflects pride in the community. Empowered quickly became more about the people than about the [alternative energy] systems.”
We’re thrilled to be featured on the Sundance Channel’s “SUNfiltered” culture blog, with a great article by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg. You can read the whole thing here or on their site: EMPOWERED: No power plant required!
Sure, you’d love to power at least part of your home on renewable energy, but the local infrastructure isn’t there yet: no nearby wind farm, no solar or geothermal installers. And, besides, it really isn’t that windy where you live.
That’s the kind of mindset that fossil fuels have given us: we really can’t go out and drill our own oil and gas, or mine our own coal, so we’ve assumed largely that energy is something that others have to provide for us. But part of the beauty of renewables is their availability: we all get some sun, wind, or geothermal heat, and with a little elbow grease, we can harvest that energy – no power company or massive centralized plant needed.
That’s the the theme underlying EMPOWERED: POWER FROM THE PEOPLE, an independent documentary produced in the Ithaca, New York area. Director Shira Golding Evergreen, one half of queer vegan multimedia production and community organizing company Shirari Industries, and producer Suzanne McMannis (a full-time farmer) were originally drawn to the topic of natural gas fracking, but really wanted to make a film that was for something positive. That “something” turned out to be the community of energy DIYers in the area: folks using the sun, wind, biofuels, energy efficiency upgrades, and more to power their lives. EMPOWERED debuted at last year’s Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, and has since screened at various locations in the Ithaca area.
Energy’s not the only thing that doesn’t need massive infrastructure and money behind it: the creators of EMPOWERED demonstrate that professional film making can come from a small-scale, DIY approach. Don’t expect this one to come to the local multiplex; you can, however, watch the film online for a mere $4.95, or order a DVD.
We are thrilled to announce that Empowered has been selected for inclusion in two upcoming festivals – the Colorado Environmental Film Festival in February and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital in March. Stay tuned for more details…
The April 23rd NYC Sierra Club screening was attended by a packed room of 90 people (in a space meant for 75) and after some technical difficulties, people settled in to enjoy the film. Lisa DiCaprio, NYU professor and sustainability expert, introduced the film and led the discussion afterwards by framing the grassroots growth of renwwable energy in the larger context of Ithaca’s participation as a 100% Green city, and their decision to supply all municipal power by renwable energy. Everyone was pleased to get updates about the wind farm and biodiesel, and look forward to hearing more.
Producer Suzanne McMannis attended the screening in March at the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capitol. An enthusiastic crowd of about 120 people joined her for the evening, including several former Ithacans now relocated to DC.
Prepared with remarks about DIY filmmaking, Suzanne ended up fielding
very serious questions about the big picture for renewables. The audience really wanted to know how to move alternative energy ahead in their communities, and the Solarize Tompkins SE campaign seemed to be of great interest.
The program of films at this festival was marvelously impressive. It is inspiring to see such a far-reaching commitment among activists and artists to a sustainable future. Please support these films anyway you can with family, friends, and organizations because they are at the forefront of bringing real news to viewers.
An old friend of producer Suzanne McMannis was able to attend the Colorado Environmental Film Festival in February. The event is held not far from Denver, and a good-size crowd attended the Friday afternoon screening. Colorado has initiated a couple of terrific state programs promoting renewables, and it was inspiring for us to bring news of Tompkins County’s own robust commitment to alternative energy and document the support we enjoy from organizations such as NYSERDA. Yay, New York!
From Peter Foster…
Transition Longfellow, a neighborhood group in Minneapolis, Minnesota, screened Empowered: Power From the People on Friday, February 14 for 35 residents. The screening was part of an ongoing monthly movie night hosted by Transition Longfellow at Bethany Lutheran Church. Movies are preceded by a potluck, which typically feature local, organic, vegan and vegetarians options, and include a local speaker. After Empowered, Timothy DenHerder Thomas lead a discussion about local solar programs, rebates and the future of solar power in the Twin Cities. Thanks for an inspiring and informative movie. It was very well-received.
Here are a few links to our activities through our local Community Council, and to our site, where you can learn more about what we do:
Know anyone in Minneapolis? Come to this free screening and potluck organized by Transition Longfellow.
Friday, February 15, 7pm (potluck starts at 6:30)
Bethany Lutheran Church
3901 36th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Transition Longfellow is part of the Transition Town movement, a grassroots network of communities that are working to build resilience in response to peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability.
Producer Suzanne McMannis, Director Shira Evergreen, Art Weaver of Renovus Energy (featured in the film), and Guillermo Metz, Coordinator of the Green Building and Renewable Energy Program with Cornell Cooperative Extension, will be heard on Ithaca Community Radio, 88.1 WRFI, on Tuesday morning, February 12th, at 7:00 am.
They will be talking about the possibilities of using the sun to heat your water and to power all things electrical – including your radio! Tune in to learn about the new initiatives Solar Tour Dryden and Solarize Tompkins SE!
Town of Dryden residents, under the auspices of DRAC, the Dryden Resource Awareness Coalition, are organizing monthly green house tours to encourage people to explore the many renewable energy options now available. Each month will feature a different home in Dryden where the homeowners have made a commitment to offset at least part of their fossil fuel consumption with alternative energy. The event will allow visitors to see a renewable installation at work and talk with the owners at length about living with the system – cost, efficiency, decision-process. The tours will be open to the public and run year-round. Stay tuned for more details!
In other news, renewable energy advocates in Caroline and Dryden have started work on a campaign to enhance the presence of solar power in their communities. Details are still being worked out. If you are interested in this very exciting renewable energy effort, please contact Energy Independent Caroline for further information.