Biodiesel film wins Sundance award

By Kris Bevill | January 17, 2008
Web exclusive posted Jan. 28, 2008, at 4:26 p.m. CST

Biodiesel expert and environmentalist Josh Tickell's documentary about biodiesel and America's need for fuel independence received one of the Sundance Film Festival's top honors at the festival's awards ceremony in Park City, Utah, on Jan. 26.

"Fields of Fuel" was chosen for the Audience Award for Best Documentary Film and was presented to Tickell by host William H. Macy. The film's producer and other crew members accompanied Tickell onstage to accept the award. In his acceptance speech, Tickell said, "May we work together to create a green and sustainable future."

Tickell has been working on the film for the past 10 years. After being accepted for Sundance, Tickell was invited to Sundance founder Robert Redford's private resort for a screening of the film the night before the kickoff of the festival.

The movie premiered to festivalgoers Jan. 21 after technical problems with the original version caused the need for a crew member to make an emergency flight from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City and drive a backup copy of the film to Park City. The documentary received a standing ovation from the audience after its first showing. Every screening was sold out with lines of movie goers trying to get last-minute tickets.

A few eco-friendly celebrities who were featured in the film attended the festival, including actor Woody Harrelson and singer/songwriter Neil Young. Biodiesel company Solazyme founders Harrison Dillon and Jonathan Wolfson also attended the festival and took the opportunity to promote their car, which runs on algae-based biodiesel and is featured in the film. "[Tickell] is a very good communicator with a good message in a lot of respects, and it was exciting to be a part of the film," Wolfson said. "I think it's a great film. Obviously, I liked the algae parts the best."

According to Tickell, he plans to take his documentary to 50 cities this spring as part of his "Community Action" campaign and has been invited to present the film at both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.
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