Earth tones Participant's style


Having backed the Oscar-winning "An Inconvenient Truth," progressive-minded Participant Prods. said Monday that it is embarking on a new, environmentally friendly documentary inspired by Saturday's Live Earth concerts.

Participant CEO Jim Berk said that British director Brian Hill will helm the project, to be produced by Hill and Katie Bailiff through their Century Films. Although it will include footage from the concerts, the currently untitled feature will move on to focus on the stories of individuals around the world who are working to combat the effects of global change.

Live Earth, a series of eight concerts taking place worldwide, is being overseen by Kevin Wall, executive producer of Live 8, and Al Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection. All of the film's proceeds will be donated to the Alliance for Climate Protection, Berk said.

"As a result of our relationship with Al Gore and the success of 'An Inconvenient Truth' in altering the public's perceptions and the dialogue about global warming, we are excited about the Live Earth events," Participant president Ricky Strauss said.

Noting that Participant founder and chairman Jeff Skoll and his company "always believed in the message of 'An Inconvenient Truth' long before it was fashionable to do so," Gore said, "I'm thrilled to be working with them again in this new effort to focus attention on climate crisis."

As a documentarian, Hill has tackled such subjects as alcoholism ("Drinking for England"), autism ("Nobody Makes Me Normal") and women in prison ("Songbirds"). He has delved into the music arena with biographical docus like "Nobody Someday," a portrait of Robbie Williams. His dramatic work includes such TV films as "Falling Apart" and "Consent."

"Brian is the perfect person to realize this documentary — he is a highly regarded, passionate filmmaker with a unique style and a gift for finding and telling personal stories," said Diane Weyermann, Participant's executive vp documentary films.

Hill emphasized that the project will not be a concert film but rather "a record of what people are doing around the world to take positive steps towards ending global warming."

As executive producer of London-based Century Films, Bailiff also has worked in both the documentary and drama fields, with credits including the docus "Facemakers," "Carehouse" and "The Spy Who Conned Me."

Founded in 2004, Participant focuses on socially relevant films and documentaries. In addition to "Truth," its films have included "Good Night, and Good Luck," "Syriana" and "North Country."