Green Corner: Famed director blends amusement with awareness for documentary

Did you ever watch The Nutty Professor and have the urge to change the world? Neither did Tom Shadyac, famed Hollywood director of the film and other comedies such as Ace Ventura and Patch Adams. It wasn’t until he experienced a potentially life-changing accident that he decided life was too short to not take action and therefore created the inspiring documentary, I Am.
After his recovery, Shadyac was inspired to pursue a higher purpose far from his former materialistic, greedy lifestyle. He took to the streets to find answers to two provocative questions: what’s wrong with our world and what can we do to make it better? His journey took him across the globe and he encountered significant figures in various walks of life from religion, philosophy, science and more. Shadyac challenges prehistoric thought processes by asking stimulating questions and provides comedic relief to soften the blow of the world’s problems. He refers to known controversies such as “war, hunger, poverty [and] the environmental crisis” as “symptoms of a larger endemic problem” on his search for the roots of these problems. In the end, Shadyac discovers that there is an innate amount of positivity in the world despite the identified issues. I Am provides the encouraging and optimistic platform needed for others to find inspiration and therefore enact change.
Currently, Shadyac teaches as a visiting professor at the University of Memphis where he hopes to share his life-changing discoveries and inspiration with others, particularly of the younger generations. He believes that it is our youth who need to hear his and others’ stories to understand the challenges our world faces and begin to develop solutions.
As we begin a new school year, make it a point to develop a positive habit such as turning off the lights when you leave the room or recycling more. Find inspiration in Shadyac’s tale that it only takes a single, motivated person to identify and enforce the change needed to build a better world.
I Am is the first of seven films to be featured as a part of the Office of Sustainability’s 8th Annual Green Film Series throughout the 2015-2016 school year. It will be shown on Tuesday, September 15 and Wednesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. in Sweigart room 115.  Other films in the series include foodie-documentary, Just Eat It, critically acclaimed film, Merchants of Doubt and eye-opening doc, Trashed, among others. The full list of films can be found on the Rider Sustainability webpage, www.rider.edu/broncsgogreen. For more information on I Am, visit www.iamthedoc.com.

–Stephanie Eppolito
Graduate Assistant for Sustainability

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