Biggest – and greenest – movie premiere launched online


18 Mar 2009

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More than 16,000 people in 60 cinemas simultaneously attended the premiere of new environmental movie, The Age of Stupid, aided and abetted by internet technology created by a Belfast internet-streaming firm.

The film, which premiered on Sunday, also had a global audience of up to 100,000 people, who logged on to view the broadcast at www.ageofstupid.net

The online premiere was enabled by Switch New Media, a Belfast technology firm.

The film launch is being cited as the greenest-ever movie premiere as Age of Stupidgenerated just 1pc of the total average CO2 emitted by similar-sized Hollywood extravaganzas.

Profits from the ticket sales will also go to the Not Stupid climate campaign, which is an initiative by environmental groups to recruit new activists to make their views felt at the UN Climate Summit in December 2009 this year.

The premiere also saw scenes of controversy when Oscar-winning actor Pete Postlethwaite challenged Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband and threatened to hand back his OBE if the UK Government gave the go-ahead for a coal-fired power station in Kingsnorth, Kent.

Following the premiere, operations director at Switch Media Richard Jolly said: “It’s a really great feeling to have been part of a truly global event and to help set not one but two world records. Live streaming this event online has been one of our biggest successes to date, and it’s a great showcase for what we can do.”

Northern Ireland Science Park director of Corporate Real Estate and Facilities, Mervyn Watley, congratulated Switch New Media: “At a time when the First and Deputy First Ministers are in the US talking about the local talent, Switch New Media offer another example of how our tech talent and world-class infrastructure can deliver on the international stage.

“It says much about the quality of Northern Ireland’s up-and-coming digital sector that Switch New Media was seen as the best possible partner by filmmakers for such a big event.”

Switch New Media director Diarmaid Lynch said: “A major reason why we were asked to come in as a partner was due to the high-speed connection facilities here at the Science Park. We streamed this event to a truly international audience from the Maldives to New York City … and we even had a few viewers tuning in from Limerick, Dublin, Enniskillen, and Newry!”

The Age of Stupid is a new four-year epic from McLibel director Franny Armstrong. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking ‘Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?’

Film director Franny Armstrong had stated that no one should fly to this event, as it’s an environmentally friendly film. So celebrities pulled up to the ‘green carpet’ in solar and electrically powered cars, and the event itself took place in a solar-powered cinema tent in the middle of Leicester Square – complete with pedal-powered popcorn-making machines.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: director at Switch Media, Richard Jolly busy at work at The Age of Stupid event