Carbon-neutral production fights global warming

MEXICO CITY — Lemon Films’ holiday pic “Navidad, S.A.” (X-mas, Inc.) is hoping to be a Mexican blockbuster, but its debut will be a strictly green-carpet affair.

The global warming-themed dark comedy which opened this weekend as a carbon-neutral project. Lemon plans to apply the policy to all future productions, according to co-prexy Fernando Rovzar.

“The Christmas movie we are doing is about global warming melting Santa’s home,” Rovzar says. “We realized while doing the film that we were contributing to this problem with our trucks. … It seemed a contradiction.”

The producer, who also wrote and directed “Navidad, S.A.,” explained how an extra feature on the “Evan Almighty” DVD inspired him to look for ways to go green with film production.

“We didn’t have money to buy people bikes or access to Habitat for Humanity, but we were looking for ways that we could do this with our Mexican budget,” he says. “So, we got together with the biggest environmental organization in Mexico, Pronatura, and brought up these issues.

“They said they would calculate how much CO2 we used in the process of making the film, and with this amount, we could buy carbon credits from them.”

Calculating that they used 184 tons of the gas with “Navidad,” they paid approximately $10,000. The money will go to a remote community in the southern state of Oaxaca to maintain a reforestation program there.

Rovzar says reducing emissions is a high priority, with Lemon trying to help employees become carbon neutral both at home and with transportation to work.

Lemon has become a major force in Mexican production. Horror pic “Km. 31″ was the top domestic grosser last year, and the shingle has managed to produce a string of commercial and critical successes with films like “Matando Cabos” (2004) and “Sultanes del Sur” (2007) — a strong record for the risky Mexican biz.

Rovzar, who runs the shingle with brother Billy, is optimistic about “Navidad.”

Warner Brothers Mexico and Televisa-owned Videocine are distributing the film on 600-700 prints across Mexico.

Rovzar notes that with “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” moving to July, “Navidad” will have WB’s undivided attention in November.

“The Christmas season is a lot more open for us,” Rovzar says. “Our real goal is to beat ‘Padre Amaro’ (Mexico’s all-time top grosser).”

That would help Lemon deck the halls with a different kind of green.

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