7 MPs, 2 Lords, 1 Baroness, 1 (former) Deputy Mayor, 1 Party Leader and 1 movie star.
One of our big aims in making this Stupid film was always been to influence the people making the climate laws. As anyone who understands the situation knows, we are not going to solve climate change by asking people to change their light bulbs if they feel like it. So we were thrilled to be invited to screen to the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group in the UK Parliament - which does exactly what it says on the tin - before the film has even been released.
- Click on photos for bigger versions -
(L-R) Colin Challen (Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group), Big Ben (clock), Franny Armstrong (Director), small tape (The Age of Stupid movie), Lizzie Gillet (Producer) and Pete Postlethwaite (actor)
The UK is currently leading the way on climate legislation, with its e Climate Bill which is reaching the final stages and will become law next year. The fact that it exists at all is thanks to the brilliant Big Ask campaign run by Friends of the Earth, who also helped us set up the screening and who gave us a quick briefing before the show, so we wouldn't say anything stupid. The summary of which is: the Bill is absolutely brilliant and ground-breaking, but should be strengthened to 1) have an overall target of 80% reduction of emissions by 2050, not 60% and 2) must include aviation and shipping emissions in the calculation, otherwise the numbers are meaningless. There's still time to persuade the MPs to do this.
The event was doubly nerve-wracking as it was the first time our movie star was going to see the film. Plus it was the last day of term (Parliament breaks for their, er, three month holiday tomorrow), so we had no idea if anyone would turn up. But there was no need to panic, as the room was packed out, with not-even-standing-room-available. And only about a third of those people were our friends. Other than an annoying child eating crisps, the room was hushed, the concentration levels extremely high, and the applause which followed genuinely enthusiastic.
Mark Lynas (climate change writer and one of the film's contributors), Franny Armstrong (Director), Colin Challin (Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change), Roger Higman (FOE's climate campaigner)
It was a little bit worrying when Pete said, just after the film had finished, that he didn't want to be part of the panel discussion after all. I took that to mean he hated the film and was embarrassed to be part of it. But someone asked him for his opinion directly a little later and he said, choking back tears, that he was "totally overwhelmed", that the film is "magnificant" and Steven Spielberg should "eat his heart out". Phew.
Here is a video of the day with Pete's reaction at the end:
Pete Postlethwaite after the screening
We've now been offered screenings in the European Parliament and the London Assembly, the UN Climate Summits in Poland this year and Copenhagen next, as well as at the National Conferences of the Labour, Greens and Lib Dems (what no Tories?). So the film is beginning to reach the people it needs to reach... and hopefully will help persuade them to make the laws as strong as the science says they need to be.