Santa Monica has long been a hotbed of environmental activism, and the City of Santa Monica itself is world-renowned for its Sustainable City Plan.
So its not surprising that latest global environmental blockbuster – The 11th Hour – has its roots right here in our city by the bay. Created by Santa Monica resident Leila Connors Peterson and her sister and former Santa Monica resident Nadia Connors, the film takes off from where Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth ends, going beyond addressing global warming and climate change to examine our entire relationship as a species to our planet.
“Only with such a perspective,” say both sisters, who are also business partners at Santa Monica-based Tree Media, “can we truly address the daunting and unprecedented environmental challenges before us.”
Narrating The 11th Hour is actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who was involved in the film since the beginning. “Leonardo, Nadia and I would have very long conversations about the state of the world here at our office on Main Street in Ocean Park,” said Connors Peterson, whose husband Matt Peterson himself is a longtime member of the City of Santa Monica Environmental Task Force and has led Santa Monica-based Global Green USA since 1994. “We decided to tell the story of the human experience with the natural world. We identified which voices would be the most credible – on the state of the oceans, the soil and trees, and the air and atmosphere. We interviewed 71 people and got over 150 hours of interview footage. Then we selected the best statements and put them into a ‘script’ that, when assembled and dubbed, ended up being 17 hours, which we then edited down to 91 minutes. The result is a single narrative told by 54 people, from 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai to physicist Stephen Hawking.” Associate Producer and Santa Monica resident Stephan McGuire then wove shots of DiCaprio together with footage from around the world to create the final product.
Being activists themselves and understanding the need to promote real solutions, the sisters have created a website to follow up after seeing the movie: 11thhouraction.com, which recommends everything from avoiding plastic bottles and bags, to working to elect environmentally-oriented candidates.
Called “an unnerving, surprisingly affecting documentary about our environmental calamity” by the New York Times, The 11th Hour opened in Los Angeles and New York on August 18 and is currently playing at the Monica 4Plex on 2nd Street in Santa Monica. The duration of its showing in Southern California and around the country will be a function, like more commercially-oriented films, of how many people go to see it.
So, for those who believe in spending their entertainment dollars to benefit an environmental cause, and who want to see an incredible film in the process, The 11th Hour is the right film for you.