Climate change film blows up in Richard Curtis's face
Monday 04 October 2010
When it comes to galvanising support for the fight against climate change, many methods have been tried, from switching out the lights in London skyscrapers to handing out free low-energy bulbs. Until now though, no one had thought of detonating two schoolchildren in front of their blood-smeared classmates.
A short film scripted by leading British comedy screenwriter Richard Curtis on behalf of the 10:10 environmental campaign has achieved the dubious distinction of becoming one of the more short-lived propaganda tools designed to help save humanity after it was withdrawn following complaints about its graphic scenes of exploding climate change refuseniks.
The four-minute video was taken down from the 10:10 website this weekend and plans to distribute it to cinemas were ripped up after members of the public and key backers of the campaign, including the charity ActionAid, said they were "appalled" by its portrayal of zealous greenhouse gas activists using a red button to blow up reluctant supporters, such as the actress Gillian Anderson and former footballer David Ginola.
Organisers of the film, called No Pressure, said Curtis, whose credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral and Blackadder, had tried to harness the blood-stained comedic spirit of Monty Python or South Park to bring the climate change agenda "back into the headlines". The writer himself said he had wanted to create something "unexpected".
The opening scene of the short, directed by a prominent advertising director, shows a teacher canvassing her pupils to take part in the 10:10 campaign, which encourages people to sign up to a 10 per cent reduction in their carbon emissions. When two children decline to show their support for the scheme, the teacher reaches for a red button and blows up the pair, covering their classmates in mock blood and flesh.
The film continues with similar scenarios in which three office workers, Ginola and finally Anderson, who is incredulous that her voice-over for the film is an insufficient contribution, are all rendered into red goo for their eco-recalcitrance.
ActionAid, which oversees 10:10's schools programme, said: "Our job is to encourage proactive decisions at class level to reduce carbon emissions. We think the 10:10 campaign is very important, but the moment this film was seen it was clear it was in appropriate."
Curtis, who has a long record of campaigning on poverty and was a founder of Comic Relief, has recently shown his readiness to branch out into viral marketing for the causes he supports. Earlier this year he teamed up with actor Bill Nighy to make a film promoting the idea of a "Robin Hood tax" on financial trades to raise billions to fund good causes.
The screenwriter admitted his latest foray into film-based activism may have backfired. "When you try to be funny on a serious subject, it's obviously risky. I hope people who don't like the little film will still think about the big issue and try to do something about it."
10:10 said: "With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended."
The organisation has nonetheless decided that it will make no effort "to censor or remove other versions currently in circulation on the internet".
Franny Armstrong, the director of The Age of Stupid film in which a future world looks back on the mistakes that allowed climate change to run rampant, founded 10:10 last year with the aim of getting individuals, businesses and other organisations to sign up to cutting their emissions by 10 per cent by the end of this year.
Humans are a 'plague on Earth': Sir David Attenborough warns that negative effects of population growth will come home to roost
Greenland’s dark snow may start global warming ‘feedback loop’
Cornwall hotter than California? British sea temperatures hit all-time high
Climate change march: Investors pledge to take their money out of firms blamed for climate change
Climate change means rate of growth of trees has gone up by 77%
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...