Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy (2008)
"Sizzle" is a hybrid of three genres -- mockumentary, documentary and reality. It was written by Randy Olson and Ifeanyi Njoku, and directed by Randy Olson. The movie premiered at the Outfest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival followed by over 50 public screenings at other film festivals, universities or museums. While initially met with a wave of disapproval by many in the science community (and comments like, "There's no place for comedy with such a serious issue") it received solid praise in the film community -- Variety called it, "An exceedingly clever vehicle for making science engaging," Cinemasource called it, "Brilliant filmmaking," and the Arizona Daily Star says it's, "Laugh out loud" funny.
As a mockumentary, the movie is about a scientist-turned-filmmaker (Randy Olson) trying to make a documentary about global warming that features his beloved scientists, but the only sources of funding he can find are two flaky Hollywood producers who want the host of the film to be someone like Tom Cruise (not a scientist, but a Scientologist and, "most people don't know the difference"). Randy is given a crew that includes a cameraman who is a global warming skeptic and interrupts the interviews to argue with the experts. The movie was criticized in part for allowing a number of climate skeptics to speak on camera. But after the November, 2009 attack on climate science (dubbed "Climategate") the film, while still being solidly pro-science, turns out to be one of the only places where you can hear the voices of both sides of the climate controversy, thus making for a popular evening of viewing and post-screening discussion.
ADAPTATION AS A PLAY: The New Suit Theater Company in Chicago recently announced they are adapting "Sizzle" as a play to open in February, 2011 and run through Earth Day.
Sizzle is still playing exclusively at film festivals and events attended by Dr. Olson. It is not yet available on DVD.