RVA Environmental Film Festival

Richmond, Virginia – Spring 2018

Catching the Sun

Playing Saturday 2/18 at the Byrd Theatre

Before the film, Drive Electric RVA will exhibit several electric cars (EVs) in front of the Byrd and demonstrate how they operate. The organization advocates for renewable energy and promotes EVs as a fun, practical transportation alternative that also reduces energy consumption and air pollution.

After the film, Aaron Sutch from Virginia Solar United Neighborhoods will speak on the new Solar Co-op and Charles Gerena from Drive Electric RVA will speak on The Zero Emission Transportation Equation.  Speakers welcome questions from the audience. 

Through the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China, Catching the Sun explores the global race to lead the clean energy future.

One notion underlying Catching the Sun filmmaker Shalini Kantayya’s winning documentary is that solar power is not only a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels but can also promote employment. The film begins in Northern California, which has experienced at least one refinery accident, and where clean energy initiatives by Sungevity and Solar Richmond (California) are hiring and training area residents.

The energizing film bounces to countries fast-tracking solar energy production – Germany and China, “now the leading country in terms of how fast they are implementing sustainable technology at really large scale,” according to Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the nonprofit Joint U.S.- China Collaboration on Clean Energy.

Fascinating portraits stand out. In Atlanta, Debbie Dooley, founder of Conservatives for Energy Freedom, advocates solar energy’s growth within a free market, rejecting the idea that it’s a left versus right issue. Zhongwei Jiang, an entrepreneur in Wuxi, China who lived without electricity until he was 7 capitalized on the Chinese government’s investments in renewable energy in 2003 to found WesTech, a solar business. Now WesTech is finding partners in Germany, and Jian says, growing by 50 percent every year.

Van Jones, an Oakland, Calif., lawyer and activist who wrote the best seller The Green Collar Economy, wasn’t so fortunate. His efforts earned him an appointment as the Obama administration’s special adviser for environmental jobs. But vociferous opposition to him from former radio and Fox News personality Glenn Beck and Republicans in Congress forced his resignation. The battle for a greener tomorrow, Catching the Sun reminds us, has its casualties.

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