Sizzle: A global warming mockumentary
No one could accuse Randy Olson of shying away from risks. This PhD marine biologist gave up a tenured professorship at the University of New Hampshire in 1994 to move to Los Angeles, enroll in film school and become a filmmaker.
Olson's last film, "Flock of Dodos," unleashed his quirky brand of humor to look at the differences between scientists trying to explain evolution and the forceful advocates of intelligent design. Now his focus has shifted to global warming. Olson mixes a mockumentary storyline, comic actors and and a bit of raw emotion around the impact of Hurricane Katrina to address a topic that, as he puts it, "has already reached saturation for the general public."
The West Coast premier of Sizzle comes at 7 p.m., Saturday, July 19, at the Fairfax Theater in Hollywood as part of Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
"We intentionally submitted the first finished cut to this gay and lesbian film festival to make the point that the film is for broader audiences -- more than just scientists and environmentalists," Olson said. "The film is about our society in general and how we're going to deal with climate change in a fair and compassionate manner."
Nancy Knowlton, a leading marine biologist at the Smithsonian Institution, said she got an early peek and gave it a thumbs up. "It is excellent," Knowlton said, "with its bizarre mix of off the wall comedy and dark reality -- its split personality perfectly captured in its opening at the Gay and Lesbian film fest in L.A., followed by the Woods Hole Film Festival." That East Coast premier will occur July 26, as the opening night film at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Woods Hole, Mass.
-- Kenneth R. Weiss