Eric Flagg and Isaac Brown knew they had something special. It was something so simple. Yet virtually no one had ever thought to do a documentary on it. The two took a common subject and laced it with one part education, one part humor, and one part… fertilizer. Their film is called “Gimme Green,” and it is what they two have to show for their time at the University of Florida's Documentary Institute besides their master's diplomas.
The 27-minute environmentally centered documentary showcases Americans' obsession with lawns. Co-director Isaac Brown said the pair developed a new formula for environmental films. “Foremost we wanted it to be entertaining, but we still wanted to show that it is a serious topic. I hope people don't see it as just some environmental film and skip it.” “Gimme Green” aspires to show the impacts of lawns on the American life and the environment. But it never directly says it. The movie sparks the subject of lawn care by showing many real-life examples of various consumers and professionals with roots in grass.
The short, “green” film takes viewers on a tour across the country, showing all parts of the yard industry. The filmmakers taped people and aspects of the lawn business in about 14 states. The final cut only kept a few, though, most notably an ever-serious ordinance enforcer, a “Lawn of the Month” judge, and a man who polka-dotted the side of his house to draw negative attention away from his artificial turf.
The film examines whether lawns symbolize blades of American pride or wasteful conformity. The directors use the film to present the hidden and overlooked facts on grass. The movie examines the pros and cons of America's most irrigated crop with emphasis on the environmental impact the lawn business has left on our country.
Isaac Brown and Eric Flagg stressed that the film was not driven by a desire for money or exposure. “We made it to get the message out to as many people as possible,” said Brown. “It is a universal story we all can relate to.” The recent grads believe Americans should take the time to notice the impacts they leave on the environment. That's what everything boils down to in their film.
The Jacksonville Film Festival was the 14th festival the film has visited. The two couldn't be happier to have their movie screened in front of crowds so close to their homes in Gainesville. The pair stressed the importance of the area. “We were committed to work here [Florida] and stay local. We wanted to show that it doesn't matter where you live, good stories are everywhere,” said Flagg. A great deal of the film was shot locally in Jacksonville and Gainesville. The other footage drew from the southwest United States.
The directors of “Gimme Green” are currently working on contractual agreements with major film and television companies. The two have high hopes for their movie; they expect a major television deal to come in the near future.