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Turning Down The Heat: The New Energy Revolution

“I must tell you this is one of the sweetest pieces of work I've seen in a very long time. You've made a real concerto out of a potentially dry and pretty lifeless subject. It's smooth as can be. It never flags. It never ceases to be interesting. In short, I am awed by your artistry.”

Ross Gelbspan, 1984 Pulitzer Prize Winner and author of “THE HEAT IS ON: The High Stakes Battle over Earth’s threatened Climate”.

"It's a gift - an extraordinary opportunity, not just economic but for the environment, for ecosystems, for people, for cultures, for societies, and of course, a gift by us back to the entire earth."
Donald Aitken, Union of Concerned Scientists

It is very rare to hear people talk about a major global environmental problem in this kind of way - especially a problem so huge, so threatening and so complex as global climate change. Where's all the doom and gloom we're supposed to be feeling ?

In stark contrast to many environmental films, the 49-minute (CBC Version 44:30) documentary film Turning Down The Heat, (narrated by Dr. David Suzuki and co-produced with the NFB) approaches the problems of global warming in a manner that leaves the viewer feeling positively excited about the energy revolution that is sweeping the world, rather than worried about yet another environmental horror story. From the thousands of Danish farmers who have struck co-operative agreements to install windmills on their land to the Vancouver schoolchildren who are saving money by saving energy, Turning Down The Heat speaks to the optimist in each of us.

The problem is the burning of fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide, which warms the global atmosphere, which leads to all sorts of concerns, such as increased floods, droughts, hurricanes and other nasties. Director Jim Hamm demonstrates that the solutions lie with the new energy revolution, based around solar and wind energy, energy efficiency, hydrogen fuel and other breakthroughs. In Denmark, which is leading the wind-power revolution, wind turbine manufacturers have quadrupled their production over the past four years, a rate faster than the growth of cellular phones or internet servers, generating 13,000 new high-paying jobs.

Turning Down The Heat shows that the same story is emerging all around the world, from solar energy in Japan, Holland and Sacramento, to biogas energy in Vietnam and wind energy in Tamil Nadu, India, to hydrogen fuel and ground source heat in Vancouver. By exploring the look of the future, the director provides a reassurance that solutions do exist : it's just a matter of making the policy commitments to make progress with them. Here in Canada, the government has provided massive subsidies to the Hibernia oil field and the oil sands projects in northern Alberta, but almost nothing to renewable energy. The future is waiting for us, with new jobs and new technologies : why are we waiting for it?

Key Credits:
Producer & Director - Jim Hamm
NFB Producer - Gillian Darling-Kovanic
Writers - Pj Reece and Jim Hamm
Narrator - David Suzuki
Editor - Shelly Hamer
Cinematographers - Rudy Kovanic, Glenn Taylor and Neville Ottey
Sound - Mark Edwards, Keith Henderson and Eric Davies
Music Composer - Bruce Ruddell
For CBC Nature of Things - Michael Allder

Corporate Credits:
In Association with the CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION with the participation of the CANADIAN TELEVISION FUND created by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Cable Industry CTF: Licence Fee Program and the assistance of ENVIRONMENT CANADA, NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA, and the CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY.

A co-production of Jim Hamm Productions Ltd., and the National Film Board Of Canada

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Copyright 1999, JIM HAMM PRODUCTIONS Limited

Bronze Plaque, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
Leo Award nominee for Best Screenwriting in a documentary, Vancouver, B.C.
Invited to screen at:
Conscientious Projector Film Festival, Bainbridge Island, Washington
EarthVision Environmental Film & Video Festival, Santa Cruz, California
Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival, Seattle, Washington
Planet in Focus, Toronto Environmental Film & Video Festival
Siskiyou Environmental Film Festival, Portland, Oregon


"Now that the debate about global warming is over, Turning Down the Heat offers a wonderful and hopeful examination of alternative energy sources -- from hydrogen fuel cells to wind energy. Presented in clear language, this film is perfect for any K-12 or university level course that broaches environmental topics."

Mike Sosteric, Managing Editor, Electronic Journal of Sociology

"A super introduction to the field of renewable energy as a solution to global warming...Compelling and upbeat, Turning Down the Heat is ideal for schools, colleges, and anywhere a nontechnical audience can be assembled for a glimpse into the future of clean energy."
Renewable Building News

"Illustrate(s) the need for humanity to change its...energy sources...Besides being utilized in environmental classes, this film is ideal for many others...including...Asian Studies, World Politics, etc...I highly recommend this monumental film."
Ceferina G. Hess, Political Science, Lander University

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