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Interview with Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners, co-directors of The 11th Hour

Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners co-direct The 11th Hour, a documentary about the threat of global warming on our planet and how we can take action to deter it from getting worse. Leonardo DiCaprio serves as the co-producer and narrator. This marks the directorial debut of Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners. To participate in the anti-global warming movement, please click here
. I had the privilege to interview them together.

Warner Independent Pictures releases The 11th Hour on August 17th, 2007.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How did Leonardo DiCaprio get involved as the co-producer and narrator?

LP: Leonardo DiCaprio created this with us; he wasn’t just a celebrity that came and put his name on it. The intention of all three of us was to create awareness so that people would have an action to take in their lives.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What was your greatest challenge?

NC: The hardest part was editing down the 150 hours [of footage]. We kept saying, “Thank God for the internet” otherwise it would be lost forever. The 91-minute format can only do so much.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Why do you think many people don’t react appropriately to global warming?

NC: How we organize ourselves and get our information is what’s blocking us from reacting to the crisis that we’re in. It’s also what’s [making] us [do] destructive behavior.

LP: Global warming is a symptom of human illness. We’re short-term-thinking species. It’s hard for us to think long-term.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Why did you bring up the issue of politics?

LP: We wanted to make this accessible to everyone. When you start to bring politics into it, then you alienate people. We’re not pointing fingers at anyone because, in fact, it’s been a problem for both [political] parties over the last thirty years.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What kind of change are you hoping for at the very least?

NC: There’s intermediary stuff that has to happen. The change of consciousness and heart, even if there’s no instant solution, will never let you look at things the same way again.

LP: We can have this civilization—we just have to have an internal design logic that takes life into account.

NYC MOVIE GURU: What interview(s) were you unable to include?

LP: We tried to get an interview with Jim Hansen of the Nasa Goddard Institute through the formal channels, but his assistant said he can’t do interviews. So, we went through a friend of his that we knew and got a special email, sent him an email, and he agreed to do the interview immediately. Then, at the last minute, he was not able to show up.

NYC MOVIE GURU: How have companies responded to the ant-global warming movement?

LP: The earliest companies [to respond] were the insurance companies because they’re seeing their returns dropping if they don’t insure properly. The global warming future and the peak oil future are the same: renewable energy and efficient designs. Companies are understanding this and, everywhere you look, there’s green programs in companies—not just recycling paper or changing light bulbs. It’s more about how we can become more efficient in a resource-scarce world. We live in an environmental age whether we like it or not. You either adapt or die. It’s up to you.

NYC MOVIE GURU: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the progress of anti-global warming?

NC: When you look at the data, you get really depressed. But when you look at the human heart, you get really inspired. After every interview, I was completely inspired.

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