November 2, 2011

The Last Mountain to Receive IDA Pare Lorentz Award

This year, the esteemed Pare Lorentz Award will go to The Last Mountain, directed by Bill Haney. Each year, the IDA gives this award to a film that demonstrates concern for the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all and the illumination of pressing social problems. Previous winners of the Pare Lorentz Awards include Wasteland, Oil on Ice, and An Inconvenient Truth.

The Last Mountain
is of a piece with Haney's commendable career as a documentarian and feature narrative filmmaker whose focus is social justice and environmental issues. The Last Mountain is a true David and Goliath story celebrating everyday people heroically working together to stop a giant corporation from destroying their community's environment and economy. This film shines a light on their dedicated pursuit to stop major coal corporations from continuing Mountain Top Removal, a mining practice known to create health and environmental hazards, in addition to eliminating local jobs.

Bill Haney, who is a filmmaker, entrepreneur and inventor, is the founder of the eco-housing startup Blu Homes, which uses advanced technology to make greener, healthier and more affordable housing. Aside from The Last Mountain, his award-winning films include American Violet and A Life Among Whales. Haney is also the chairman of the nonprofit World Connect, a program created to help women and children in 400 developing-world villages.

The Awards namesake, American filmmaker Pare Lorentz, was known for his non-fiction films about the New Deal. Lorentz is rightfully celebrated for making a distinct contribution to more than just American film history. Arguably the most influential filmmaker of the Great Depression, Pare Lorentz made films that set out to document the American experince in the Dust Bowl and the great American Plains. His sensitivity to American's impact on the environment is precisely why he is remembered today.