No matter who they have screened the movie for, the makers of the documentary film, Dirt! The Movie, the take-home message has been that dirt is important--as if you couldn't tell that by the title.
Recently I had a chance to speak with Gene Rosow, the co-director and producer of Dirt! The Movie, which premiers tonight, April 20, on PBS' Independent Lens, about the documentary and he said they "set out to make a film that would appeal to arange of audience ages interests."
In screenings for a diverse collection of audiences, from the European Parliament to schoolchildren in Salt Lake City during the Sundance Film Festival, Rosow said the whole idea has been to "get people to think about this problem in a different way." And getting people interested in protecting something that may seem on its surface as mundane as dirt can't be easy.
"This is a living breating matrix of life on terrestrial earth," said Rosow who said he hoped the film could inspire not only intrigue but also action. "In the case of the EU," he added, "that means policy, passing laws."
One of the major policy implications Rosow did touch on with me was the idea of carbon sequestration and how good soil can be a powerful carbon sink. In terms of U.S. policy, Rosow said he hopes to help elucidate "the link between soil and climate changes in terms of upcoming legislation and what we can do about it."
As a viewer I thought Rosow and his team did good work with a topic that could potentially be quite difficult to inspire interest in. And to make the film both accessible for children as well as intellectually stimulating for those with a greater knowledge of the ecological problems surrounding dirt is no easy task, but one that they certainly took on with vigor.
Narrated by actor Jamie Lee Curtis and featuring well known environmental activists and thinkers like Vandana Shiva, Wangaria Mathai, David Orr, as well as some less-likely characters like Wine Library TV and social media phenomenon, Gary Vaynerchuk, Dirt! The Movie was an official Sundance Film Festival Selection and premiers tonight on PBS’ Independent Lens at 10pm nationwide, but check your local listings to be certain.
I also have two DVDs and some Dirt! schwag to dole out to my faithful ecopolitology readers and will draw two names out of a hat on Earth Day, to win a copy of the DVD. Just leave a comment below and express your interest.
In the meantime, watch the trailer and enjoy: