An Inconvenient Truth

Documentary short list: A look at the films vying for a nom in Oscar's docu feature category

Country: United States

Director: Davis Guggenheim

Topic: A bigscreen adaptation of former Vice President Al Gore’s PowerPoint slide show on global warming.

Financing: Jeff Skoll of Participant Prods. saw Gore’s slide show and said, “Let’s make a movie out of this.”

Budget: Around $1 million.

Shooting format: A potpourri of 16 mm, 8mm, 35mm, hi-def video and graphics built on a laptop.

Why it stands out: What seems like impossibly dry subject matter, Gore’s presentation on the science of climate change turns out to be a terrifying, galvanizing call to action — and funny and entertaining to boot.

Memorable scene: Gore, in the skeleton of his family’s barn, recounts how his family grew tobacco until his sister died of lung cancer. “This is not a man telling the world it has a problem and he doesn’t,” Guggenheim says. “This is a man who knows what it is to put off an inconvenient truth until the truth becomes more than inconvenient — which is why the drive to tell that truth burns so strong in him.”

Distribution status: The film was distributed by Paramount Vantage theatrically, where it has taken in $38.1 million to date worldwide. It was just released on DVD.

On the making of the film: “We made it in six months,” Guggenheim says. “All of us just said whatever it takes — none of us took a salary. We said we have to make this movie and we have to make it quickly, because time is of the essence. The story that hasn’t been reported was how much work it was, because the show was on his computer, but a lot of the slides are things he made on his computer. We put a 90-foot-wide screen behind him so all those graphics had to be hi-definition, really beautiful, hundreds and hundreds of them, each coming from a different source, each having to be cleared.”