Documentary by Fisher Stevens plugs into life in the fast lane

Rick's Reviews

In the case of the new documentary from directors Fisher Stevens and Malcolm Venville, the name says it all.

The title of his latest work, “And We Go Green” not only fits because it deals with the rise of Formula E electric car racing circuit where that term starts each race. But, it also reflects how the sport is making a positive impact in combating global warming and air pollution.

Stevens knew they had the right name for the documentary as soon as it was suggested.

“It just felt like with the double meaning, it was just the right name,” Stevens says. “We were happy with it because before that, we were just calling it the ‘Formula E’ movie.”

The aptly named “And We Go Green” will be available exclusively on the streaming service Hulu starting June 4. The documentary offers a behind-the-scenes look at the ABB FIA Formula E Championship and how the series has become the world’s fastest growing motorsport since its inception in 2014.

The film was made through Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company and DiCaprio serves as an executive producer. DiCaprio has been a fan of the racing circuit since it started but what also caught his eye was that this is the only motorsport that features electric cars.

The documentary shows the mission of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship is to demonstrate how competition drives technological development and to alter perceptions of electric vehicles. This is done through an international circuit that included stops in 10 major cities during the 2017/18 season.

Getting the footage Stevens needed for the documentary meant using a combination of what he was able to shoot away from the track and the footage that was shot from the cars used for the television broadcast. The biggest negotiations Fisher had to do was to get footage from the perspective of the drivers he wanted to use. Only three drivers are fitted with cameras during each race.

Getting footage of the drivers that Fisher thought would be the most interesting was critical because an important part of making the documentary was making sure it would draw viewers. The decision was made that the best way to get people to listen to a message regarding climate change was to focus on the racers.

Stevens found many of the drivers had strong personalities.

“I originally didn’t know how interesting they would be,” Fisher says. “I knew nothing about racing at all. I had never heard of these guys.

“I really wasn’t interested in making the movie but Leonardo DiCaprio approached me. He said we should try making an environmental sports film.”

“And We Go Green” is the second time Stevens and DiCaprio have worked together. They previously collaborated on the 2016 documentary “Before the Flood.” Fisher had known DiCaprio for decades through the acting world. It was a shared interest in protecting the planet was what brought the pair together for “Before the Flood.”

Stevens found a passion for doing the project after he met the racers and saw the work being done with the electric cars. He ended up making a movie for people like himself who have little knowledge of the sport. And for sports fans, he made the racing parts of the film as exciting as possible.

This has been a busy year for Stevens, 56, who won the Oscar for Best Documentary, Features in 2009 for “The Cove.” Along with working on the documentary, he was one of the producers on the extremely popular “Tiger King” documentary that was broadcast on Netflix. He also continues to act with his most recent on-screen work being the NBC series “The Blacklist.”

As for splitting his time producing, directing and acting, Stevens says “it’s not easy to juggle schedules.

“I am passionate about a lot of things. It’s just a matter of finding time to do it.”

From the name to the final focus on helping with climate control helped Fisher get the approval of the top brass with the racing group. The production has gotten the full support of Formula E Founder and Chairman Alejandro Agag, who also appears in the film.

 Agag says of the documentary’s title that “not only does it signal the start of our races, but it also indicates an urgent need to put the brakes on devastating and irreparable damage already caused by fossil fuels.

“I’m proud to have worked with such great talent and a production team who share the same common values around sustainability and making a positive impact in the fight against climate change.”  

Now, Fisher is waiting to see if “And We Go Green” will get the green flag from viewers who are searching for new entertainment as the stay home during the current crisis.

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