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EVAN ALMIGHTY

Ecological Almighty
Attempting to modernize elements of a legendary biblical tale like that of Noah's Ark necessitated a compelling, wide-reaching theme that would not trivialize a story cherished by many. The filmmakers felt an environmental theme was especially appropriate and strengthened the heart of the screenplay (and added to the humor). As the story took shape, Shadyac and the other producers made their own commitment to be environmentally conscious as they proceeded.

True to their word, the filmmakers accomplished their goal of being environmentally responsible citizens of the world. Working in conjunction with The Conservation Fund of Washington, D.C., the production "zeroed out” Evan Almighty carbon emissions—courtesy of planting 2,050 trees (ranging from hardwood species such as oak to cottonwood and willow trees). All were planted in the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Warsaw, Virginia, and the San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge near Modesto, California.

Producer Bostick explains: "Given the movie's environmental themes, we worked closely with The Conservation Fund to calculate our carbon emissions from what we used on the movie—whether from vehicles used or any of the construction equipment. Once our carbon emissions were calculated, we planted trees that will effectively zero out our climate-changing footprint left behind from the movie.”

"Our goal has always been to be a green film,” Shadyac continues. "We recycled during filming. Every piece of material—lumber, windows, door and window treatments, flooring, hardware, etc.—that was salvageable was recycled, repurposed and donated somewhere, as opposed to just throwing it into a landfill. We melted down the steel (from the ark's steel infrastructure), sold it and then donated the money to Habitat for Humanity.”

Shadyac admits that creating a project of this magnitude is taxing to the Earth. But that wouldn't stop a commitment to leveling the playing field. "Because you fly production planes to transport your crew, you try to zero that out by planting trees. The trees absorb carbon and release oxygen. Zeroing out kind of heals the damage.”

It was not only important to filmmakers to erase their footprint, but also to cast. Freeman thoughtfully adds to the discussion of planet preservation: "We are the new dinosaurs. And if we aren't careful, we're going to wind up just like the old ones did.”

Complementing the work with The Conservation Fund, green activities and efforts during the production of Evan Almighty included:

· Donation of materials from landscaping (approximately 300 shrubs and trees) and lumber (including windows and shutters) to Habitat for Humanity.

· Launch of the web site www.getonboardnow.org as the centerpiece to the film's partnership with The Conservation Fund. Visitors are encouraged to "Go Zero” at the site, which features the "Almighty Forest”—an online destination where people can take real action (including buying and planting trees) to slow the effects of global warming.

· Recycling paper, and using recycled paper (including what you are reading right now), plastic, aluminum and glass on set.

· Use of two-sided scripts by cast and crew.

· Gifts of bicycles to crew members by Tom Shadyac to reduce car usage during the shoot.

· Planting trees near the site of the ark in Crozet, Virginia, as a thank you to the community.

· Use of bottled water company HtoO (Hope to Others) water on the set. Founded by Shadyac, the company donates 100 percent of profits after taxes to charities around the world.

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