Cool It (movie)

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Learn more from the Center for Media and Democracy's research on climate change.

Cool It is a documentary film about Bjorn Lomborg and his climate policy views. It was released November 12, 2010, and closed December 30, with a total domestic lifetime gross of $62,713.[1]

Content

From Kåre Fog's review and extensive notes[2], the film has three parts: first, an introduction and focus on Lomborg himself; second, a critique of environmentalists and of Gore's film; third, an examination of some possible global warming solutions.

Andrew Revkin saw the film and reports that "Lomborg’s main prescription, derived in part from his periodic consultations with...economists, is to invest heavily in research on non-polluting energy technology and [on geo-engineering] countermeasures to greenhouse heating."[3]

Criticisms

Experts such as Ken Caldeira and Presidential Science advisor John Holdren believe skipping mitigation in favor of geoengineering would expose us to massive risk.[4]

UC Berkeley Professor Daniel Kammen appears in the film but took a dim view of the final product, saying:

"Beyond it being a commercial for Lomborg, I can't figure out what was novel about the film or hasn't been said by hundreds or thousands of people and organizations worldwide. ...Lomborg's call for $100 billion for climate mitigation technologies is the same as what was discussed widely in Copenhagen".[5]

And[5] "Kammen pointed out that the film completely ignores energy-efficiency technologies, which numerous studies have shown to be the most cost-effective tool for reducing emissions - and which have been used with great success in California."

The Union of Concerned Scientists said "Lomborg cherry-picks data to present a skewed view of how we should combat global warming"[6]. Flaws they identified were:

"[It's] Square peg economics for a round hole problem...

...Engineering the climate is a dangerous proposition ...Lomborg accepts that climate change is real, but incorrectly discounts its threat ...criticizes the Kyoto Protocol, but doesn't acknowledge it was never meant to solve climate change on its own ...argues against specific clean energy policies and action in isolation, failing to acknowledge that they all could work together

...recycles the discredited claim about global cooling and misrepresents scientific research"

Kåre Fog reports[2]

"The film is...a one-sided presentation seen from Lomborg´s personal point of view. [e.g.] ... he presents the case when he was accused of scientific dishonesty as if he were completely innocent and as if the complaints were only politically motivated...


People who watch the film seem to like the middle part best... where he criticizes Al Gore´s film and `shoots down Gore´s points one by one´ as it was described in the Reel Film review. ...one point where the audience was amused and could not stop laughing... at the stupid environmentalists:...the part about polar bears. Unfortunately, what Lomborg says here about polar bears is completely wrong and not based on scientific evidence. [e.g. [7]]... So the ridicule of Al Gore is completely unjustified here - but the audience does not know that. On other points (sea level rise, hurricane Katrina, malaria) Al Gore was not completely wrong as stated by Lomborg, although the evidence is more ambiguous on these points.

...one should remain critical of Lomborg´s presentation even [in the third part, on energy solutions]. He endorses wind energy as a part of the solution, but at the same time he claims that we should not invest in more wind turbines right now, and in other contexts he argues strongly against implementation of wind energy, so one may wonder if he has a hidden agenda (see here on Lomborg-errors)."

Publicity

From the publicity for the film, which has not been nuanced, it's clear the intended message is "fighting climate change should be low priority". The website ReelTruths.com ("a series of Biblically-based discussion guides to help people talk about hot-button issues that are incited by movies"[8]) has a Q&A with producer Terry Botwick asking "What do you see as the moral, ethical and/or spiritual implications of "COOL IT"?" Botwick responds, advising against human sacrifice:

"We all have a responsibility to be stewards of the planet. But, Cool It goes much further in challenging us to spend our resources in a manner that does the most real good in the world. Major problems in the world, like poverty, are a much greater moral imperative than reducing carbon emissions....we should not sacrifice people in need to reduce carbon emissions but rather support research into new energy sources that will be sustainable and clean." [1]

A sample excerpt - a biblical passage followed by questions - gives the flavor of the discussion guide:

"(Matthew 6:19-21) Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


Q: What treasures do we store up on earth? How do these treasures keep us from working to address the world’s biggest problems?
Q: Do global-warming advocates make the earth itself one of these treasures? If so,

why is this a problem?

A cursory examination of the Reel Truths website reveals that Cool It, Reel Truths' "Current Project", is its only project; and the reeltruths.com domain turns out to be a product of Propeller Consulting, "a creative consultancy specializing in developing powerful brand experiences to reach faith and family consumers", which was enlisted by Roadside Attractions to plug the film.[9]

Unsupported assertions

In a December 2010 interview, filmmaker Ondi Timoner said "About four or five people I interviewed for the film got completely shut down or fired from their jobs"

Numerous attempts to reach Timoner through her film company Interloper Films, to substantiate this assertion have been unsuccessful.[10]

Funding

The identities of the film's backers - "independent investors" according to Lomborg [5] - are unknown.

(Producer Terry Botwick said he makes it a practice not to comment on investors or budgets.[11].

There are indications that these independent investors may have also paid for the film's distribution; see the "Distributors" section below.

A spokeswoman for Anschutz Entertainment Group subsidiary Walden Media did not return a phone message asking if Anschutz Entertainment Group or subsidiaries were involved with the film. Another possible funder is "independent film finance company"[12] Skydance Productions or its officers; its COO is Republican operative and former DCI Group EVP Andrew J. McKenna Jr.[13] - who co-manages the Goodsijn funds with DCI Group principals Tom Synhorst and Doug Goodyear[14]. Skydance publicists Prime PR initially denied that Skydance or its officers had any involvement with the film, but would not say who at Skydance had provided this information, and subsequently did not return phone calls; nor did Mr. McKenna.[11])

People

Filmmaker

Filmmaker Ondi Timoner of Interloper Films was approached by the producers to do the film.[15]. Interloper Films "develops and produces original feature length documentaries, music videos, television programs, and promotional and documentary films for corporate clients" and "is also committed to creating public service media to explore social and cultural issues...".[16]

Production Company

The production company for Cool It is 1019 Entertainment, of 1019 Holdings LLC, consisting of:

  • Terry Botwick, advisor to the Michigan-based Dove Foundation
  • Ralph Winter, formerly with 20th Century Fox, "a featured speaker at the National Religious Broadcaster’s annual convention TV and Film Boot Camp"[17] and "a founding partner in the commercial production company ThomasWinterCooke...[which] successfully pioneered branded entertainment with product integration ranging from global beverage brands to automobiles"[18] and aimed for "creating opportunities for its directors to move into long-form".[19]
  • Possible board of directors; Botwick did not respond to a request to identify them.

Indeterminate

Sarah Gibson is also listed, as a writer, screenwriter, or producer of the film.[20]

Distributors

Distributor Roadside Attractions snapped up the film even before its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival[21] - surprising eagerness in light of environmental films' recent troubles finding distribution "including a number of Sundance darlings"[22] and of the reportedly poor performance[23]. of the environmental film Roadside Attractions picked up in 2009, The Cove[24]. Co-founder Eric d'Arbeloff has not yet responded to a query asking whether the producers of Cool It put up most or all of the film's releasing costs.

Financial performance

In its first month in theaters, Cool It grossed $61,202.[25].

Articles and Resources

References

  1. No byline (Undated). Cool It (2010). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2011-01-06.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kåre Fog (date unknown). The film `Cool It!`. Lomborg Errors website. Retrieved on 2010-11-14.
  3. Andrew C. Revkin (2010-11-12). 'Cool' Climate Film Takes On 'Truth'. Dot Earth, NYTimes.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
  4. Joe Romm (2010-11-15). Caldeira calls Lomborg’s vision "a dystopic world out of a science fiction story". Climate Progress. Retrieved on 2010-11-16. “First, as science advisor John Holdren resasserted in 2009 of strategies such as space mirrors or aerosol injection, “The ‘geo-engineering’ approaches considered so far appear to be afflicted with some combination of high costs, low leverage, and a high likelihood of serious side effects.“ Second, of course, those ’solutions’ do nothing to stop the consequences of ocean acidification, which recent studies suggest will be devastating all by itself (see Geological Society: Acidifying oceans spell marine biological meltdown “by end of century”). Third, a major analysis in Science this year by leading experts on volcanoes and/or climate — Alan Robock, Martin Bunzl, Ben Kravitz, and Georgiy L. Stenchikov — “A Test for Geoengineering?” (online here), concluded: "Stratospheric geoengineering cannot be tested in the atmosphere without full-scale implementation." Indeed, they found “weather and climate variability preclude observation of the climate response without a large, decade-long forcing. Such full-scale implementation could disrupt food production on a large scale” — for two billion people! For Bunzl’s discussion of this, see “the definitive killer objection to geoengineering as even a temporary fix.””
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Robert Collier (2010-11-06). Bjorn Lomborg film offers new convenient truth. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2010-11-08. “We also don't know who the money is behind the message. In a separate interview, Lomborg said only that "independent investors" had bankrolled the film. A spokesman for the film's producers, Terry Botwick and Ralph Winter... did not respond to queries about the funders' identity or the film's cost.”
  6. No byline (2010-11-19). New Documentary on Bjørn Lomborg and Climate Change is Long on Opinion and Short on Facts, UCS Says. Union of Concerned Scientists. Retrieved on 2010-12-11.
  7. Things Break (pseudonym) (2010-11-12). 'Cool It' yourselves. The Way Things Break. Retrieved on 2010-11-14. “[Section "On Polar Bears"] Lomborg has frequently and grossly misrepresented scientific data and literature on polar bears and other aspects of climate change....”
  8. Author unknown (Date unknown). Bible Study Resources - Cool It. Reel Truths. Retrieved on 2010-11-23.
  9. Author unknown (Date unknown). Propeller to help launch new documentary film COOL IT. Propeller Consulting. Retrieved on 2010-11-23.
  10. Ahaynes, phone and email, in February and March 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 Anna Haynes (2010-10-29). Andrew McKenna and Skydance Productions - oddly silent re Lomborg film ties. Warming101 blog. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
  12. Author unknown (2010-02-08). Fashion Shoot: The Young & the Guest List. Washington Life Magazine. Retrieved on 2010-11-16. “Andrew McKenna is founder, president and chief executive officer of McKenna & Associates, a strategic management, consulting, and fundraising firm. McKenna serves as chief operating officer of Skydance Productions, an independent film finance company in partnership with Paramount Pictures. He is also a managing partner of the private investment firm GoodSijn Management LLC”
  13. Mike Fleming (2009-11-12). Ellison's Skydance to Co-finance Par Pics. BFDealmemo on Variety.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-12. “Ellison runs Skydance with COO Andrew McKenna and CFO Paul Schwake, and they are directly involved in raising coin for the Paramount venture. McKenna was the co-founder of GoodSijn Management, a domestic infrastructure investment fund started in 2004 with a dedicated fund.”
  14. unknown (date unknown). Goodsijn II Opportunities Fund. Goodsijn.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-12. “The Fund Managers, Thomas J. Synhorst, Douglas M. Goodyear and Andrew J. McKenna will be primarily responsible for the investment activities of the Fund.”
  15. Sarah Gopaul (2010-09-19). In conversation with Cool It director Ondi Timoner and Bjorn Lomborg -. Toronto Film Scene, TIFF 2010. Retrieved on 2010-11-08. “Independent documentary director Ondi Timoner was approached by producers to direct a film about “The Skeptical Environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg. Not an issue-driven filmmaker, Timoner wasn’t sure why they’d selected her.”
  16. unknown (date unknown). About Us. Interloper Films. Retrieved on 2010-11-12.
  17. Phil Cooke (2004-12-05). Is God Making a Difference in Hollywood?. Christian Spotlight™ on the Movies. Retrieved on 2010-11-08.
  18. Unknown (date unknown). Ralph Winter, Executive Producer. In My Sleep. Retrieved on 2010-11-08. “Winter...is a founding partner in the commercial production company Thomas Winter Cooke, where he and his partners have successfully pioneered branded entertainment through integrations ranging from global beverage brands to automobiles.”
  19. Unknown (2004-01-21). Commercial Production Company Thomas Winter Cooke Launches in Los Angeles. Digital Media Net. Retrieved on 2010-11-05. “Executive producer Mark Thomas, feature film producer Ralph Winter and director Phil Cooke have launched a new commercial production company under the banner Thomas Winter Cooke. ... the new company aims to become a national force in commercial production while creating opportunities for its directors to move into long-form.”
  20. Author unknown (Date unknown). 2010 Films - Cool It. Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved on 2010-11-16. “Producer: Terry Botwick, Sarah Gibson, Ondi Timoner; Executive Producer: Terry Botwick, Ralph Winter”
  21. Nigel M. Smith (2010-09-01). Roadside Gets Hot Topic Environmental Doc Ahead of Toronto Premiere. indieWIRE. Retrieved on 2010-11-14. “Ahead of its world premiere at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival, Ondi Timoner’s hot-topic doc “Cool It” has been acquired by Roadside Attractions for U.S. distribution this fall. Maple Pictures will distribute the film in Canada. ... The deal was negotiated by d’Arbeloff and attorney Greg Bernstein on behalf of Roadside Attractions and Botwick and attorney Steve Fayne of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld on behalf of 1019 Entertainment, the company that produced the film.”
  22. Randy Olson (2010-11-12, 11:55am). comment on 'Cool' Climate Film Takes On 'Truth'. Dot Earth blog, NYTimes.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-14. “"...no other climate film has done anything close [to An Inconvenient Truth], and pretty much all of them can't even find distribution, including a number of Sundance darlings."”
  23. Randy Olson (2010-11-14). comment on Questioning Bjorn Lomborg - Readers' Comments -. NYTimes.com. Retrieved on 2010-11-16.
  24. Eugene Novikov (2009-03-11). Roadside Attractions Picks Up 'The Cove'. Moviefone blog. Retrieved on 2010-11-16.
  25. No byline (Undated). Cool It (2010) -. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on 2010-12-14. “$61,202 by Dec. 11, 2010”

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External resources

External articles

Wikipedia also has an article on Cool It (movie). This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.