Sunday, April 22, 2007

Al Gore's main concern is the environment

Key to "An Inconvenient Truth

"I’m guessing it’s the first time that a feature film or documentary has ever been made with Keynote as its basis," says Lesley Chilcott, coproducer of the Sundance Film Festival hit "An Inconvenient Truth."

Directed by Davis Guggenheim, the film eloquently weaves scientific facts with practical solutions and spikes of humor from the likes of Matt Groening’s animated series "Futurama" as it documents former Vice President Al Gore’s lifelong effort to reverse the effects of global climate change.

A longtime and respected advocate for the environment, Gore has given some 1,000 talks on climate change since 1989 at first using slides in a carousel with easels and charts. He switched to Keynote on his PowerBook, Chilcott says, after Gore’s wife Tipper said, "Well, Mr. Information Superhighway, why don’t you put your slides on your computer?"

"An Inconvenient Truth" captures Gore’s "traveling global warming show" and punctuates it with filmlets of his personal journey to show why, out of the world’s menu of issues, Gore has remained so passionate about the environment.

A Genome of Slides
"When we were trying to figure out how to best film Al’s presentation," Chilcott recalls, "we looked at a variety of options when designing multiple screens for him." Once we started investigating Keynote and its capabilities, we realized that it was best to actually film the presentation using Keynote on multiple screens.

"It’s just a phenomenal program," Chilcott adds. "Al keeps what he calls a genome of all his master slides whether they are charts or graphs or images or QuickTime clips in Keynote, so he can tailor his presentation to different audiences." Gore also downloads new photographs or animations while he’s on the road so he can include new information, often relating directly to his audience, the day of his talk.

Star in New Role, Gore Revisits Old Stage


Published: March 21, 2007

WASHINGTON, March 20 — The last time Al Gore appeared publicly inside the United States Capitol, he was certifying the Electoral College victory of George W. Bush. He returns on Wednesday, a heartbreak loser turned Oscar boasting Nobel hopeful globe trotting multimillionaire pop culture eminence.

For Mr. Gore, who calls himself a “recovering politician,” returning to Capitol Hill is akin to a recovering alcoholic returning to a neighborhood bar. He will, in all likelihood, deliver his favorite refrain about how "political will is a renewable resource" and how combating global warming is the "greatest challenge in the history of mankind." He will confront one of his fervent detractors, Senator James M. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, who derides Mr. Gore as an alarmist.

He will also embrace old friends, pose (or not) for cellphone photos and greet the legion of climate change disciples who swear by the "Goracle" as a contemporary sage.

And, of course, he will be asked whether he plans to run for president in 2008, something he has said no to a million times or so, if never quite definitively. On Tuesday at a Washington hotel, where Mr. Gore addressed a group of institutional investors, he was urged on accordingly.

"Run, Al, run," one attendee shouted after the former vice president as he barreled through the hallway, a greeting that has become as familiar as "hello."

Almost everywhere he goes these days, Mr. Gore is met with the fuss of a statesman. His hair is slicked back in a way that accentuates the new fullness of his face. At the hotel, Mr. Gore’s perma-smile folded his narrow eyes into slits as he milled his way into a ballroom. Afterward, he accepted his customary standing ovation, slipped out a back door and into the back of a Lincoln Town Car, looking almost presidential.

In a brief phone interview Tuesday night, Mr. Gore said he was eager to appear before the House and Senate on Wednesday, even though he has turned down invitations in the past. There is, he said, "an unwritten tradition" that former presidents and vice presidents testify only rarely before Congress. He accepted this time in light of the Democratic takeover and what he calls "a new determination to deal with this issue," referring to climate change.

"Mother Nature is a powerful witness and has been sending some pretty powerful messages that people are hearing," Mr. Gore said.

And he repeated that he "has no plans" to run for president.

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