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Movie Night: The Greening of Southie

October 25, 2010

Thursday night I attended the Early Bird Film Screening of The Greening of Southie at Studio 35 in Clintonville. This screening was a preview of what’s to come in the Columbus International Film & Video Festival and I highly recommend not only watching this documentary, but also checking out the other festival events that are coming up.

The Greening of Southie is a documentary following the construction of the first LEED Gold residential building in Boston. The filmmakers tracked the process of gaining enough LEED points to attain the Gold certification, and spoke to many of the skeptical workers making it all happen. Some of these points were difficult to achieve and as with many construction projects, issues during the build did arise. Although the film highlighted those aspects, the heart of the documentary was in the workers themselves.

This new type of building was not really understood by the construction crews and for quite a while it seemed as though the only things that truly interested them were the dual flush toilets that were going to be installed. At one point the foremen asked the consultant on the job the purpose of the LEED certification, and even he had a difficult time explaining it. Throughout the film, many points were brought up as to the validity of the choices being made since many of them resulted in complications that later increased materials, time, and money. But, since this documentary was not intended to push an agenda, it is left to you to decide.

Each person was genuine and colorful in their opinions, questions and comments, which was refreshing. One of my favorite quotes was from Carrie, from Waste Solutions, inc. who said in her local Boston accent, “When I first got involved with the Leed program, I’ll be honest with you, I thought it was bulls**t. We’re a country of waste. We’ve always basically been a throwaway society. I used to think of green being dorky, but it isn’t. You know, I’m trying to teach my own kids as well that you can’t just throw away things. There’s certain stuff that people can use.“ She believes this so deeply now that she tattooed her hip with a picture of a recycling truck. (What do you think?: My next body art masterpiece?)

By the end of the build many of the crew seemed to feel a sense of pride in being a part of something bigger than them. I really enjoyed this piece. It offered insight into the difficulties of green building and the perceptions held by many about what it is really worth. You can check this documentary out now by purchasing it through Amazon, and I really think it’s well worth it!

On a side note, catching films at local theaters like Studio 35 are a lot of fun and are entirely different from watching them at the major movie houses. This particular theater / draughthouse combo is part of a dying breed, so I highly recommend checking out the food and drinks they offer! Another bonus is the theaters recycle bins that you don’t often find at other theaters. All-in-all, what a great evening out!

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