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IFFBoston Review: The Greening of Southie

The Greening of SouthieThere’s a lot of talk about going green these days. On the news, on the world stage, figures like Al Gore, rattling the cage, calling for a change in old ways. ‘The Greening of Southie,’ tells the story of a family owned developer looking to build Boston’s first completely green building, from the foundation up.

This task is much more difficult then one may perceive. Films like the ‘Inconveinent Truth’ delve into the affects we’ve had on the world, but the ‘Greening of Southie’ goes one step further, it takes a look at the effects going green has on the people implementing the policies.

The developers of the Macallen building set out to meet the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standard, with a Gold medal in their sights.

The film starts with the initial planning meetings, those taking part in the construction clearly don’t understand the exact reasoning behind going green. Building a building in this way is extremely expensive, material costs, things like wheatboard cabinets, bamboo floors, eco-friendly glue, drive up costs.

The Macallen building, seems to be a flagship project for its developers, luxury, green condos. One of the tile workers comment that the expense is driven by its current low demand, but as things become standard, and more widely used, the cost will decline.

The construction workers portrayed in the film were colorful, funny, adding quite a bit of humor. The personalities found here were quite diverse, spending quite a bit of time on these workers. The complex, being a luxury condo, many of these workers stated that they’d never have the opportunity to live in something like that, but they took quite a bit of happiness in what they were doing (despite the complexity in completing it).

A fascinating part of the film are the effects of such sorts of constructions in Southie. Personally, I would have loved to see more about the gentrification of Southie, however, this wasn’t the intent of the filmmakers.

The film runs perfect length, appropriately for television/classroom distribution. It’s highly informative, educating the viewer quite a bit on what sort of standards go into creating such a building, and the problems that the developers face.

The film is available on DVD, and currently screening on the Sundance Channel.

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