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Is This "The Age of Stupid"?

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On Monday, Sept 21 a new British film, The Age of Stupid, will have its global premiere. In the US, the hip, youth-oriented, drama-documentary-animation movie on "climate change, oil, war, politics, consumerisim and human stupidity" will launch from a solar-powered cinema tent in New York live to over 400 movie theaters across the country, timed for the day before the UN's climate meeting on Sept 22nd, when 80 heads of state -- and therefore the world's media -- will gather in New York.

Following the screening, there will be a 40-minute live event featuring Kofi Annan, actress Gillian Anderson, the film's director Franny Armstrong and star, Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite. Audiences will also hear from scientists working in the Himalayas and the Indonesian rain forest via live satellite link. A group of children will speak from the very room in Copenhagen in which all our futures will be decided at the UN climate summit in December, and Radiohead's Thom Yorke will wrap up the evening with a short acoustic performance.

Why all the hullabaloo? Many believe this could be the next, far hipper "An Inconvenient Truth." Pete Postlethwaite ("In the Name of the Father," "Brassed Off") stars as a man born in the 2000s, now living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking back at "archive" footage from 2007 and asking why we didn't stop climate change when we still had a chance?

Why were we so "stupid"?

The 92 minute film was filmed on location in America, the UK, India, Nigeria, Iraq, Jordan and the Alps. In addition to Postlethwaite, it "stars" a 92-year old French mountain guide, an entrepreneur starting a low-cost airline in India, a Shell oil man who rescued 100 people after Hurricane Katrina, an African woman living in Shell's most profitable oil region in Nigeria and two Iraqi refugee kids trying to find their brother.

On August 12, 2009 the New York Times commented on the unique way this film is being distributed:

Quentin Tarantino never had to go through this.

When "The Age of Stupid," a climate change movie, "opens" across the United States in September, it will play on some 400 screens in a one-night event, with a video performance by Thom Yorke of Radiohead, all paid for by the filmmakers themselves and their backers. In Britain, meanwhile, the film has been showing via an Internet service that lets anyone pay to license a copy, set up a screening and keep the profit.

Is this the kind of media it will take to help people around the world wake up to our precarious situation? And if it is, will we take the next steps towards intelligent action?

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