So Right So Smart” should be required viewing for every executive and every employee in every corporation with more than 50 people. It’s great to have environmental films that are positive with practical traction, but to have films be about positive, practical, and proven examples in the world of big business is vital.
Ray Anderson built his corporation, Interface, into a billion dollar a year enterprise with 5000 employees. He would tell you that an environmentalist or professor talking to a businessman about going green can’t breathe life into the message the way a profitable businessman can.
Anderson would also tell you that his carpet company’s first wave of success came before he knew what an environmentalist was. After his epiphany that he was nothing but a legally sanctioned plunderer, stealing from everyone’s grandchildren, he imbued his workforce toward a second wave of success. The ways his employees continually reduce operating costs while reducing their carbon footprint and toxic impact inspires Anderson to spread the word.
While the core attention of “So Right So Smart” is Anderson’s no-nonsense, grandfatherly presence, the film highlights other successful manufacturers. He makes carpet. They make clothing and toilet paper and yogurt and beer.
An engaging environmental film need not mire itself in the gloomy “can’t” when so much of what can be done is already being done.
There are more than 100 films big and small flickering around Nevada City’s Environmental Film Festival. It’s another diverse crop of topical and stylistic expressions. Here’s a reviewer’s blitz through sixteen films, each doing its festival thing in five minutes or less:
“Attack of the Sea Slugs” (gorgeous photography of ooky—read: creepy—creatures); Climber (stylish animated vertigo); “Good Life Parable” (familiar realization, crisply told); “I Met the Walrus” (animated doodling inspired by John Lennon); “Papiroplexia” (origami flowering the world); “Sand Dancer” (artistic nod to the temporary); plus four five-minute Global Focus winners (dedicated accomplishments happen); plus six five-minute Brower Youth Awards (starting practical leadership early).
- - - - - Q and A with Guy Noerr, director of So Right So Smart - - - - -
Excerpted from a discussion between film reviewer, Chuck Jaffee, and the director of “So Right So Smart,” Guy Noerr:
Chuck Jaffee: Are you a green sort of person?
Guy Noerr: I’ve been an organic gardener since 1974.When I get a chance, I just want to go fly fishing.
CJ: How did you hook up with Ray Anderson, the centerpiece of your film, “So Right So Smart”?
GN: Early in my career doing corporate meetings and video work, I heard some big corporate guys celebrating that some toxic spills the company caused were not detected.I said I’d rather drive a taxi than work with corporate accounts like that.A guy from my past connected me with Ray Anderson at his company, Interface.I’ve been doing work with Interface for about 13 years now.
CJ: You lucked out getting to hitch your career to a man and a company like that.
GN: Yes, I’ve been very fortunate.
CJ: Why did you want to make “So Right So Smart”?
GN: I didn’t want to do a negative piece.We all got the message from Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”Leonardo DiCaprio’s “11th Hour” was more doom and gloom than people can take.There really are people trying to do the right thing.
CJ: What can you tell us about the man, Ray Anderson, more than the kind and gentle grandfather type with a mission bigger than being successful in business?
GN: You don’t get to be a corporate CEO with a billion dollar business just being kind and gentle.He used to be all about working harder, harder, faster, faster. He was an aggressive sales guy and an aggressive business manager.When Ray had his epiphany about doing well by doing good, when Ray decided he was doing good business for everybody’s grandchildren, he changed his style.
CJ: Ray Anderson is a thoroughly genuine and clear-minded person, but he’s hardly an electrifying personality.How does he convince corporate business types?
GN: Actually, they’re seeking him out.They know about the money he has saved his company.They know how profitable his company is.