Al Gore received a tremendous amount to come critical acclaim for the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. Gore, however, was not solely responsible for the creation of the documentary. Lawrence Bender moved away from his typical feature film projects to handle production duties with this documentary. An Inconvenient Truth was a commercial success to be sure. Bender, however, can point to other projects that earned more money. An Inconvenient Truth delivered something money could never buy.
In 2006, the film earned an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. The statue that sits on one of Lawrence Bender’s mantles allows the producer to claim an accolade so many desire but fail to attain. An Inconvenient Truth also spawned somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. Few films — much less documentary features — achieve that level of success.
An Inconvenient Truth raised great awareness about the subject of climate change. Academic circles certainly invested time and resources in discussing the topic, but the reach of academics can be limited. Newspapers may report on the subject to a larger audience, but problems with reach remain. Through creating an informative motion picture, the ability to educate additional segments public about climate change becomes possible.
Not everyone easily seeks out information on scien ce and climate change. Many assume books and magazines covering scientific topics are a bit too dry and boring to invest time in. An interesting movie, however, might be worth checking out. Simply adding a DVD to a Netflix queue or watching the film when it appears on cable doesn’t require much effort. So, audiences give the atypical film a chance. Once drawn into the film, the viewer then experiences an education in a very important subject.
All this only becomes possible when the associated documentary actually entertains. Few would want to sit through a boring and dry lecture. Lawrence Bender clearly understands this as evidenced by the creative approach taken by the film. Lawrence Bender, Al Gore, and director Davis Guggenheim all deserve credit for making the feature enjoyable to watch while consistently keeping the proceedings focused and educational.
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power served as the follow-up film, but the original remains the most powerful and acclaimed.