Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Thursday

May 10, 2012

Energy film to be screened for students

TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City high school students will get a peek into the future of energy at a special screening of an award-winning documentary.

Ninth-graders from Traverse City Central and West Senior high schools will visit the downtown State Theatre today and Friday for a special screening of "Switch," a film that explores energy alternatives as oil resources continue to dwindle.

Scott Tinker, director of the Bureau of Economic Geology and the state geologist of Texas, wrote and produced the film and will be at the State to answer students' questions.

"Our big vision is to change the global conversation on the most important topic of our time," Tinker said. "We feel, and we've seen through the decades, that people are interested in energy, but they don't spend time thinking about it daily."

In "Switch," Tinker travels the globe to explore different energy options, including coal, solar, oil and biofuels. The film includes interviews with government, industry and academia leaders who drive energy policy.

"We went to 11 countries. We see the best geothermal guy in Iceland, nuclear guy in France, hydropower in Norway, wind in Denmark ... we're looking at all the energy in the best light," Tinker said. "We're not trying to make somebody the bad guy and somebody else the good guy. We're just trying to show the good sides of energy and challenges of each form."

Louis Dickinson, the State's general manager, said the film's been billed the "first unbiased film on energy" — no small feat considering the political debate over soaring fuel costs and calls to "drill, baby, drill."

Charles Kolbusz, a principal at West and former chemistry teacher, screened "Switch" for West science teachers and said there's very little that's controversial.

"Oil's running out, as we are all fairly aware of, and this is just exploring some different options. I would say it's akin to a National Geographic movie," he said.

"Switch," directed by Harry Lynch, won the Best of Fest award at the Colorado Environmental Film Festival and was selected as the opening night film at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C.

Student screenings will be at 9 a.m. today and Friday. Tinker is hoping for a slot at this year's Traverse City Film Festival, but nothing is scheduled.

Kolbusz said there is no cost to TCAPS to offer the screenings, and Tinker and other film supporters will pay for busing.

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