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Local film to air Friday at Holmes

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On Friday at 7 p.m., the Historic Holmes Theatre Ballroom will host the first public showing of a locally filmed, short documentary, "New Energy."

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According to Erika Johnson, one of the documentary's principal creators, "New Energy" takes a fresh look at how the Midwest is creating a "green energy economy."

This special screening of "New Energy" is being sponsored by Natural Innovations, a Detroit Lakes-based, community-driven organization committed to assisting individuals and organizations in developing a better understanding of how the health of the economy and the environment are interrelated.

Johnson, who is the executive director of Natural Innovations, emphasized that while the local environmental organization is sponsoring Friday's screening, "New Energy" was a personal project.

"I really have a passion for what's going on with global warming, but I wanted to do something (about it) that was solution-based," she said in a telephone interview. "I was involved with CERTs (Clean Energy Resource Teams), and they paid me to do a very small program just on what people were doing the immediate area around Minnesota."

That project was the impetus behind the larger-scale, half-hour documentary that eventually became known as "New Energy." Parts of the documentary were filmed in Minnesota and North Dakota, as well as South Dakota and Iowa, and the finished work will eventually be shown locally on Prairie Public Television (no date for the broadcast has been set). "New Energy" is expected to make its debut on Twin Cities public television Jan. 7, Johnson added.

"New Energy," according to a press release, tells the story of how "renewable energy is playing a substantial role in energy security, economic sustainability, and integrity of our natural resources in the Midwest. It focuses on energy efficiency and renewable energy; primarily wind power, ethanol and hydrogen."

"It highlights technology and programs that people are doing now and what is at our fingertips currently to make positive changes for our communities," Johnson added. "We feature a broad range of diverse people and companies leading the field."

Those "diverse people" include "everyone from heads of environmental organizations to CEOS and politicians and people really respected in the renewable energy field," Johnson said.

A short list of those people and programs appearing in the documentary will include Shane Goettle, Commissioner for the North Dakota Department of Commerce; Winona LaDuke, founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project; DMI Industries in West Fargo; and Capture the Wind program with Moorhead Public Service.

This program will be airing on public television stations in Minnesota, the Dakotas and Iowa, but there will also be an opportunity to purchase a copy of the DVD at only the reproduction costs -- for use by educators, businesses or individuals wanting to share the message and implement similar changes in their community -- at the premiere showing on Friday.

"I've been getting a lot of good feedback (on the documentary)," Johnson said. "My goal was to have people feel empowered to make changes no matter how big or small."

"If people can see that this technology for hydrogen fuel cells or ethanol is here, and it just takes consumer pull to want it and demand it, maybe we'll see more of it and help create our energy independence and security," Johnson said.

Questions concerning the documentary and Natural Innovations may be directed to Erika Johnson, executive director, at 218-847-0025, or by e-mail to ni@lakesnet.net. Those interested in learning more should also check out the official Natural Innovations Web site at www.naturalinnovations.org.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers and editor of MN Boomers magazine for the past 13 years. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 847-3151
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