While Adrian Grenier was starring in Entourage, he told a Washington audience last night, he made valiant efforts to “green” the HBO show’s set. “It lasted about a week,” Grenier said. “Don’t ever try and mess with the crew’s doughnuts.”
SHFT (pronounced “shift”), which actor and filmmaker Grenier founded with producer Peter Glatzer in 2009, is another attempt to promote environmental awareness and sustainable ways of living without “the doom and gloom,” as Grenier puts it. The website combines a number of different platforms—filmmaking, art, shopping, news—and gives the pair a home for their various advocacy efforts, which include Mobile Kitchen Classroom, a nonprofit that engages New York City high school students with preparing and cooking healthy, sustainable meals.
Grenier and Glatzer joined Motion Picture Association of America chairman Chris Dodd at an event hosted with Impact Arts + Film Fund at the MPAA last night to screen five short films the pair have made, and to talk about SHFT’s continuing progress. The timing of the event, given the disastrous impact of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, seemed auspicious. “Certainly, anyone who’s a denier of climate change has to change their tune at this point,” says Glatzer. “A lot of the issues with the planet are impossible to ignore, and we’re hopeful that this is going to be a wake-up call.”
One of SHFT’s short films features hip-hop superstar Pharrell Williams discussing his involvement with Bionic Yarn, a company that makes clothes from recycled plastic bottles. “I didn’t want to dedicate my life to wearing Birkenstocks,” says Williams in the film. “We want to give sustainability another face.”
For SHFT, that face includes persuading artists to offer their take, including a video with alt-country singer Brandi Carlile in which she discusses efforts to reduce her carbon footprint on tour, from using nondisposable water bottles to organizing carpools to bring people to her shows. SHFT has also collaborated with the W Hotel in Los Angeles to create a line of environmentally conscious wallpaper. The company’s efforts are diverse and hard to categorize, but at the end of the day, Grenier says, it comes down to offering people small changes in their lives and stimulating them to think about living sustainably. “We want to really give people viable options, because there are solutions out there,” he says. “It’s not enough to just say, ‘This is a problem.’”
Dodd, formerly a senator for Connecticut and a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 2006, thinks the pair’s efforts are laudable. “At the end of the day, these are two very successful people in the entertainment field who are utilizing their own talent and celebrity to make a difference,” he says. “They could easily just sit back on their laurels and be celebrated in their own right, but they’re going a step further to educate people, motivate people, and stimulate people. They have an appropriate level of humility, but let me thank them for it.”
To find out more about SHFT, visit the organization’s website.