News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Film Contest Shoots for Making L.A. 'Solar City'

Just like this, only with solar panels. | Photo: Dmitri Chekhter/Flickr/Creative Commons License

As last year's UCLA Luskin Center report pointed out, Los Angeles could be generating a staggering amount of solar power on its buildings. L.A.'s combination of steady sunshine and flat roofs could put it in the running for Solar Capital of the World. All we need to do is get the idea in people's heads and motivate them to make it happen. But how do we promote the idea effectively?

Fortunately, L.A. also has another nearly inexhaustible resource at hand: aspiring idealistic filmmakers. If you're a fan of rooftop solar and you have some video chops, Environment California has an opportunity for you. The group's Los Angeles solar video contest "Sunlight. Camera. Action." is now accepting submissions of creative videos that highlight the city's immense, largely untapped potential for urban solar development. It's free to enter, and there's a $1,500 first prize attached.

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The L.A.-based non-profit is also offering second and third prizes with cash awards, and a "people's choice" award for the short film that does best in the popular vote portion of the contest.

Environment California stresses creativity as a criterion for entries: they're looking for submissions that have a chance of going viral. The group describes the themes it's looking for in submissions on its contest rules web page:

  • Solar power is a no-brainer for Los Angeles, a city famous for its sunshine. Los Angeles should and can become a world-class solar leader generating over a thousand megawatts of sun-powered energy by 2020.
  • Solar energy can help Los Angeles reduce air pollution, solve global warming, create energy independence and generate local jobs.

But Environment California knows how you creative types are when confronted with limits, so it's okay with them if you think outside that cliched box. You can depart from those themes as long as the basic message is there in your work, and if it's more effectively conveyed for your coloring outside the lines, so much the better.

Submissions are already being accepted: if you need to slap something together -- and keep in mind that they're looking for good production and editing here -- you have until September 21 to submit your work. Finalists, as chosen by the group and a "guest panel of Hollywood celebrities and producers," will be published online in October for members of the public to vote on.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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This is a great idea. We're firm believers that the more people are exposed to technologies such as solar, the more comfortable they become. Effectively engaging Hollywood could be a terrific avenue for reaching the masses. This was our take on the subject: