In 2009, the Emmy Award-winning drama series 24 became the first ever television production to go completely carbon neutral. The production team pioneered a set of innovative sustainability measures that have since become common practice in the industry, prompting a featured story in The New York Times. Dana Walden, Co-Chairman/CEO of the Fox Television Group, told the Times that she hoped the result would be "a more gratifying viewing experience, even if it is at a more subconscious level." This year, the show returned as the 24: Live Another Day event series, and the team at Twentieth Century Fox Television seized the opportunity to continue the groundbreaking green production work they had begun five years before.
However, the new season of 24 presented a new set of sustainability challenges. While past seasons had been filmed in Los Angeles, the series would now be shot on location in London at a vacant Gillette razor factory built in 1937, preventing the team from taking advantage of the green production programs already in place on the Fox Studios Lot. Yet, this change allowed them to expand the scope of the project beyond carbon emissions tracking to include waste management, responsible set design, and sustainable food purchasing.
Each department was able to integrate sustainability into its daily operations. Sets were constructed using 100% FSC-certified lumber and were either recycled or sold to other productions after filming wrapped. In addition, the team was able to divert 98% of the production's waste from landfill by replacing plastic water bottles with refillable bottles, donating all leftover food and drinks to local charities, and recycling or donating leftover props and costumes. Efforts to minimize air travel and replace generators with grid power tie-ins also helped decrease the production's carbon footprint.
24: Live Another Day will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the US on Tuesday, September 30. For a preview of a behind the scenes look at Green Production, which will be included on the DVD and Blu-Ray, watch the video above. Click here to read the full case study on 24's green production.
On Sunday, October 5th, STAR India's groundbreaking social awareness series Satyamev Jayate returned for its third season. With their discussions of road safety, the LGBT community, and the positive impacts of sports, the new episodes have continued to deliver on SMJ's commitment to address India's most pressing social concerns, and by introducing a new live show, STAR is working more than ever to make sure its audience can have their voices heard.
In the time since its debut in May 2012, Satyamev Jayate has become a driving force for social change in India. The series features Bollywood star Aamir Khan in conversation with experts, activists, and victims on the country's most urgent social issues, from female feticide and child sex abuse to alcoholism and political corruption. Yet, despite its sensitive subject matter, SMJ has become one of India's most watched programs. STAR estimates that more than 500 million Indians saw the show in its first season, and the groundswell of grassroots movements that have come about as a result have had tangible effects on Indian culture.
The series has led to several new and revised laws at both national and local levels, and after just one month in office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Khan to discuss the issues covered on the show. The series has clearly become a centerpiece of the national conversation, and above all, it has encouraged people all over the country to share their stories and become more engaged in their communities.
"We began Satyamev Jayate to build awareness around urgent social issues," said Uday Shankar, CEO of STAR India. "But it's now gone way beyond that and has emerged as the best showcase of the role media can and should play in driving change in the country. I am particularly proud that Satyamev Jayate has also become the most powerful platform to inspire individuals and groups and acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that seemingly ordinary people are making to our country. For us at STAR India, it has given purpose to why we exist."
Keeping in mind that the show has created such a powerful relationship with its audience, the team at STAR is allowing viewers to be more involved in SMJ than ever before. In addition to being the season's campaign slogan, "Mumkin Hai," or "Change is Possible," is the name of a new live show that airs after each episode of SMJ and allows viewers to interact directly with Aamir Khan and the SMJ team through phone calls and social media. The live show is broadcast each week from a different city in India.
"Ninety per cent of my time this entire year has been spent on Satyamev Jayate, and it is with great anticipation that I look forward to the new season," Khan said. "Importantly, the major new aspect of our show is what I am really looking forward to, and that is the live response of the audience. Up till now the show was a one way communication, but now I get to hear live the response of the audience, through direct phone calls, Twitter and Facebook."
Social media has been a key point of contact between the show and its audience, and the third season premiere was among the series' top-performing episodes. Satyamev Jayate's Twitter profile and Facebook page were each the fifth-fastest growing in the world in the week following the premiere, and the social media chatter during airtime increased 190% over last season's premiere.
Promos for the new season are available with English subtitles here and here. To watch new episodes from this season, as well as past episodes, visit SatyamevJayate.in. The series is sponsored by Airtel and Axis Bank.
At its annual awards dinner in New York City Wednesday night, the nonprofit organization Human Rights First awarded the Fox Searchlight film 12 Years a Slave with the Sidney Lumet Award for Integrity in Entertainment. The organization cited the film's depiction of "the devastating effect of slavery on the human soul" as a key reason for recognition.
"Great works of art have the power not only to entertain, but to inspire action that can change lives. This extraordinary film is not only a powerful reminder of a painful part of our nation's history; it is a call to action to combat the evil of slavery in our midst today," said Elisa Massimino, President and CEO of Human Rights First. "We are proud to honor this courageous, honest, and thought-provoking film."
Actress Alfre Woodward, who played the role of Mistress Shaw in the film, was on hand to accept the award, and she also performed "Ain't I a Woman?" a famous speech given by Sojourner Truth, who was born into slavery in New York in 1797. You can watch the performance by clicking the video below.
The organization also recognized human rights advocate Ryan Boyette for his work documenting the ongoing attacks against civilians by the Sudanese government. In addition, Human Rights First awarded the Marvin Frankel award to Latham & Watkins LLP of New York and McDermott Will & Emery of Washington, D.C., for the films' dedication to pro bono service to refugees seeking asylum.The dinner was hosted by news anchor Brian Williams.
Human Rights First is an independent advocacy organization that builds bipartisan coalitions and teams up with frontline activists to tackle global challenges that demand American leadership. For more information on Human Rights First and this year's awards dinner, visit HumanRightsFirst.org.
Since its U.S. launch in 2010, Nat Geo WILD has been one of television's fastest-growing networks. Breakout series such as The Incredible Dr. Pol and Cesar Millan's The Dog Whisperer have helped make Nat Geo WILD a home for premium nature programming that is both enlightening and entertaining.
Geoff Daniels, the General Manager of Nat Geo WILD since 2012, has had a key role in its success. Daniels oversaw the channel's U.S. launch, and since then, he has supervised the commission of countless original series, specials, and events for broadcast on WILD globally. In a new interview with io9, Daniels speaks about his experience in content development at Nat Geo WILD, the unique identity that the National Geographic brand has created, and content's relationship with inspiration.
"We have a responsibility to figure out how to make authentic science in all of its different guises entertaining, relevant, real, relatable, [and] resonant with a broad audience... and not chase, if you will, the lowest common denominator," Daniels tells io9's Jason G. Goldman. "If we stay committed and focused and disciplined - taking the harder path, telling great science stories in a way that's entertaining, [not resorting] to cheap tricks and to false promises - in the long run, we will be stronger and we will be rewarded."
Daniels also spoke about WILD's unique position to deliver on National Geographic's commitment to provide wildlife programming that inspires people to care about the planet.
"Ultimately what I want WILD to be is more than a television channel," Daniels says. "In some ways, I want it to be a lifestyle, I want it to be an ethos, I want it to be something that basically becomes a destination for people in all sorts of different platforms and in different arenas that is really about the positive things that we can take away from our relationship with the natural world and with animals."
Each year, the Environmental Media Awards honor film and television productions that convey environmental messages in creative ways, and at this year's awards ceremony, FOX Broadcasting Company will receive the special EMA Green Production Award. The award recognizes FOX for its efforts to raise awareness and funds for environmental causes through the FOX Fall Eco-Casino Party.
FOX has been celebrating the premiere of its fall television season with the Eco-Casino Party for the past ten years, and in that time, the event has raised more than $250,000 for environmental charities. FOX also works to make each event carbon neutral, including using LED lights, recycling all paper, cans, bottles, and cardboard, composting food and beverage waste, serving sustainable foods, renting event furniture and equipment, and measuring the carbon footprint to offset all remaining CO2 emissions.
In addition, FOX continually works with its partners to encourage them to implement green initiatives. For example, Sweetwater Video Productions, FOX's main supplier of audio/visual equipment, has changed its entire fleet of trucks to run off more eco-friendly B20 bio-diesel, and it powers its facility with solar power. These types of efforts affect industry-wide events.
"We are incredibly proud of our friends at FOX Broadcasting Company for the work they have done with the FOX Fall Eco-Casino Party," said EMA President Debbie Levin. "When millions of fans around the U.S. are excited and focused on the new fall season and their new favorite shows, FOX captures this attention to showcase essential environmental messages with a beautiful and high-end sustainable event. It represents the best in what EMA strives to do each day and we're excited to honor the network this year."
FOX's content also received two nominations at this year's awards: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey in the Reality Television category and New Girl in the Television Comedy category. In addition, 21st Century Fox businesses Fox Film and Twentieth Century Fox Television received nominations for Rio 2 and Modern Family.
The EMA Awards, presented by Toyota and Lexis, will take place on October 18th at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. The Environmental Media Association, founded in 1989 by Cindy and Alan Horn and Lyn and Norman Lear, is dedicated to harnessing the power of celebrity and the media to promote sustainable lifestyles and believes, through positive role modeling, the entertainment community can inspire consumers to take action. For more information on the Environmental Media Association, visit ema-online.org.
After months of carefully reviewing projects and allowing the public to vote for their favorite, the National Geographic Channel has found the winner of its Expedition Granted contest, a nationwide search to find the next generation of great explorers. Charlie Engelman, a biologist and filmmaker based in Chicago, was announced yesterday as the winner, and he will receive a $50,000 grant toward his dream expedition, a cross-country journey to create an educational film series about America's forests.
"It's with great esteem that we grant Charlie Engelman's winning expedition, 'Get Pumped about Nature,'" said NGC CEO Courteney Monroe. "At National Geographic Channel, we believe in pushing boundaries and forging new paths, and were thrilled to receive such a wide and innovative variety of video entries. After three months of submissions, advisor input and community voting, we are honored to name the 2014 Expedition Granted Explorer."
Nat Geo launched Expedition Granted in June, accepting project proposals from virtually any field, including art, music, food, science, technology, and more. The program's goal was to democratize the concept of exploration to show that in the 21st century, explorers can come from all backgrounds and disciplines and anyone with curiosity and passion can be an explorer. After receiving more than 700 entries, a group of Expedition Granted advisors, including Brain Games host Jason Silva, author Ainissa G. Ramirez, and journalist Thayer Walker, selected a group of ten finalists to compete for the $50,000 grand prize. The public was then allowed to vote for the top project, and they selected Engelman as the winner.
Engelman will partner with Black Hawk Paramoter and the Cornell Tree Climbing Institute to produce an online film series about the wonders of America's forests, and he hopes that his expedition will help young people all over the world "get excited" about nature.
"This is absolutely amazing," said Engelman. "The support I received from my family, friends, neighbors, classmates and professors was just incredible. Thanks to the voters and National Geographic, I can now produce the nature series of my dreams."
To learn more about Engelman's project, follow him on Twitter and Tumblr, and visit ExpeditionGranted.com. Expedition Granted was developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society, 21st Century Fox, and sponsors the Jeep brand and Dos Equis.