Ana’s Playground a winner at Norwich Film Festival

24 09 2009


Ana’s Playground received awards for The Best Short Film and Best of The Fest this week at the Norwich Film Festival in the United Kingdom.

In its advance pre-screening at the debut Norwich Film Festival, Ana’s Playground not only won Best Short Film, but Best of The Fest – beating out all the feature films that were screened as well as more than 90 films entered in the competition.

Learn more about the Norwich Film Festival

The world premiere of Ana’s Playground is Friday, September 25 at the Calgary Film Festival.  Information on the Calgary Film Festival is available at their website.

Calgary International Film Festival

Written and directed by Minneapolis film maker Eric Howell, Ana’s Playground is a Oscar worthy story of children subjected to armed conflict.  The mission of the film is to raise awareness of children in conflict and raise funds for Right to Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.

What nobody is talking about in the U.S. and everyone is buzzing about in the rest of the world.

15 09 2009

SEEEEEL THE DEAL ENGLISH 2D“Now is the time for decision-making. We must seal a deal in Copenhagen for a global, equitable and comprehensive deal for the future of humanity and the future of Planet Earth.”

– U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

In December in Copehagen, the United Nations will host a global conference from governments around the world to achieve a comprehensive agreement on climate.

Reaching a deal by the time the meeting ends on December 18 will depend not only on complex political negotiations, but also on public pressure from around the globe.

The United Nations has launched “Seal the Deal” campaign that encourages users to sign an online, global petition which will be presented by civil society to governments of the world.

Visit the Seal the Deal website

Watch U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon talk about the “Seal the Deal” campaign.

CoolPlanet2009 is also on board to support the Seal the Deal campaign.

The week of September 21st has been desiganated as Global Climate Week.  Rallies in more than 100 cities across the global are being organized by young people as a major push to keep global warming high on the international agenda. More than 800 young people pledged a comprehensive campaign at the conclusion of the Tunza International Youth Conference in Daejeon, Korea at the end of August.

Learn more about Climate Week



Now is the time to spread the world about the United Nations’ Seal the Deal campaign.  You can follow them on Twitter or join a Seal the Deal group on Facebook. Let’s get Copenhagen and climate change on minds in the U.S. as it is across the world.

Lessons from the U.K.

15 09 2009


“This research shows that consumer values do not change, even in a middle of a recession. They want companies to act and cut their carbon footprints, and provide transparent and accessible evidence of action.  We believe companies that take real action will seize the dual benefits of immediate cost savings and a stronger reputation, which is good for business.”

– Harry Morrison, Carbon Trust Standard

New research from the Carbon Trust Standard in the United Kingdom shows that consumers still want to buy green despite the current economic climate, with 62% of consumers saying environmental concerns influence their purchasing decisions—‘the same as a year ago’ and just over a quarter saying they influence them ‘even more’ than in 2008.

Other fun factoids from the research that marketers should be aware of:

  • 66% of U.K. consumers say it’s important to buy from environmentally responsible companies.
  • 14%  said they have voted with their feet by deciding not to buy from a company based on their environmental reputation
  • 25% decided not to buy from a company based on a company’s ethical reputation.
  • 70% of consumers do not feel confident that they can clearly identify which companies are environmentally responsible.
  • 59% are skeptical about the environmental claims companies make.
  • 44% of consumers would like more information on what companies are actually doing to be environmentally responsible.

So sustainable branding requires new forms of communications and embracing transparency and honesty in all facets of a brand presentation.  The research further demonstrated this quest for information that engaged consumers are using to understand whether or not a company is environmentally responsible.  The research indicated the most important criteria they rely on are what they read in the media (38%) and third party endorsement or accreditation (34%).

The least popular factor consumers use to judge whether a company is behaving in an environmentally responsible manner is what advertising tells them (6%).

Ana’s Playground Update: World Premiere at Calgary Film Festival.

14 09 2009


World Premiere of Ana’s Playground at Calgary International Film Festival

The short film about children in armed conflict will begin showing at film festivals and screenings  

 Ana’s Playground, a short film about children living in armed conflict will make its world debut at the Calgary International Film Festival at the Globe Theatre on Friday, September 25, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.  The film will screen as part of the festival’s ‘Anything but Ordinary’ collection of internationally produced short films.  Attending the screening will be writer-director Eric Howell, producers Jillian Nodland, Marsha Trainer, Mary Jo Howell, executive producers Jean and Bruce Johnson and music composer Michael Wandmacher.

Set in a non-specific, war-torn country, Ana’s Playground is an examination of children living and dying in a world of armed combat.  Told through the eyes of 11 year-old Ana, the story opens on a group of children playing soccer surrounded by the signs of conflict.  When their soccer ball is kicked into a sniper zone, Ana is sent in to retrieve it.  Once inside, a dangerous game of cat and mouse ensues, as Ana becomes the sniper’s target.  Connected through the power of sport, the characters all listen to the same professional soccer game which plays in the background.  Viewers will be kept guessing as to how the story will reach its ultimate conclusion — will their games end up in harmony or tragedy?

Ana’s Playground is an allegory about the moment a child is forced to choose between humanity and ideology,” said filmmaker Eric Howell.  “The film is not a political statement about a particular war or conflict, instead it directly examines the delicate nature of a child’s humanity and how the world at large is connected to and responsible for preserving it.”

 The objective of Ana’s Playground is to raise awareness about war-affected children by communicating with the largest audience possible about these kids’ lives – also providing information about organizations that are working to make the lives of war-affected children better.

Raven Bellefleur, an eleven year-old actress plays Ana, leading an all-Minnesotan cast, and producers Marsha Trainer and Jillian Nodland worked hard to pull together and organize resources to shoot the film one cold November week in the Twin Cities. The filmmakers are interested in partnering with corporations, foundations and individuals who can sponsor Ana’s Playground at film festivals and screening events to help audiences learn more about war-affected children and organizations helping them.  George Lucas’s Skywalker Sound provided all sound engineering post-production; and the Coen brothers’ latest production A Serious Man donated much of the physical set support and a long list of other industry insiders also show up in the film’s credits.  

For details on the film Ana’s Playground or more information about war-affected children, child soldiers and the organizations that support them, visit:

Congrats WestPac New Zealand: Branding Beyond The Numbers

2 09 2009

We’re interested to follow the development of a new sustainable branding campaign by one of the leading banks in New Zealand – WestPac.  Rather than try to differentiate by low interest rates and car loan messaging in their brand communication, WestPac has launched a multi-media marketing effort that showcases their commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.  

The brand communication plan supports messaging around the 10 goals WestPac has established for sustainability through 2012 and customers can track the bank’s progress on their website.  In addition to tangible sustainability goals such as carbon footprint reduction, the measurement includes community outreach programs such as the volunteer programs to clean up New Zealand’s beaches.


We further applaude the smart nature of the communication by portraying one of the bank’s employees as having to learn the new behaviors that add up to sustainability with the line “being sustainable can be tough. we know.”  It’s a great example of a company taking a thought leadership position on sustainability, helping educate their customers on what they can do in their own everyday life, and becoming a catalyst for community action.  Congrats to WestPac for thinking beyond the numbers.

Learn more about WestPac’s sustainability efforts

your pal…global warming.

27 08 2009

A fun user generated video contestant for the MTV Europe Play to Stop competition.


The Scopes Monkey Trial of the 21st Century?

27 08 2009

A report in The Los Angeles Times highlights how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants to put the science of global warming on trial.  


The Chamber is pushing Environmental Protection Agency officials to hold a rare public hearing on the scientific evidence of climate change with the goal of fending off potential emissions regulations.

The article cites EPA officials as calling such a hearing “a waste of time”.  A leading climate scientist said the proposal “brings to mind for me the Salem witch trials”.

At a time when the vast majority of business leaders in the United States recognize the serious impact of climate change and are exploring and implementing innovative new sustainability practices into all facets of their operations, we cannot fathom how the U.S. Chamber can be in denial and rationalize wasting the time and money of its members by pursuing such draconian tactics.  This after the heads of the top science agencies in leading countries have recently written to world leaders that  “the need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable.”

Read the Los Angeles Times article.