The Greening of Southie [Giveaway]

Macallen Building Condominiums Exterior

We have four DVDs of this movie to randomly giveaway to commenters below, so if you'd like to win one, make sure to say something before midnight on Friday, January 16, 2009.*

Finally!  A full-length feature for all us green building junkies!  The Greening of Southie is an award-winning film that documents the journey of a green condo building from the idea of a legacy Boston developer all the way to the jungles of Bolivia, from the steel mills of New England to LEED Gold certification.  The Macallen Building Condominiums, a sexy piece of contemporary architecture on the border of Boston and South Boston, was completed in 2007 by a committed team of builders.  They submitted their process to scrutiny via the cameras of budding filmmakers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis of Wicked Delicate Films. 

The film captures the birth of the Macallen Building as elegantly as anyone can with footage diverse enough to include dirt-caked construction workers and LEED documentation binders.  It’s actually a really beautiful film, with tons of time-lapse shots set against the Boston skyline and close-ups of the materials.

Macallen Building Condominiums

The filmmakers really focused on the stories of the people who made the building possible, interviewing a lot of different participants.  Particularly, they followed a couple characters throughout: the developer, a construction worker, a project manager, and a future owner.  You may enjoy some of the initial reactions of the union guys on the ground: "A green building is one in which everything in it is recycled" … "Dual flush? Yeah, I flush twice all the time!" … "At first I thought that meant that we were painting it green."

Their changing attitudes toward the project, increased understanding of what green means, and eventual collective pride in working on a green building becomes a metaphor for the shift taking place in the entire construction industry.  But the best part of the film was watching the pieces of the puzzle come together.  The audience gets to see a Bolivian sitting on a tree stump, explaining that all the trees around that one will be left alone – and a steel mill owner, who explains that an ’88 Saab has a good chance of getting into the beams that will hold up the Macallen – and the toilet installer, who describes the dual-flush concept. Also appreciated is the filmmaker’s honesty.

Towards the end, the builders run into problems with the expanding wheatboard cabinets and the no-VOC adhesive that doesn’t adhere (whoops…).  Shots of torn up bamboo flooring and statements on the amount of fossil fuel that goes into shipping materials remind us of the challenges and trade-offs that builders in the field grapple with.  All in all, really well done, and very entertaining for those of us glued to the green building scene.  Check out more on The Greening of Southie here.

If you're interested in winning a DVD, drop a comment by midnight MST on Friday, January 16, 2009.  Say where you're from if you don't know what to say.  By leaving a comment, you agree to the terms and conditions relating to giveaways on Jetson Green.  Shipping only within U.S.

Article tags:
  • darin dougherty

    i haven’t seen this movie, but i have seen King Corn, produced and directed by the same duo (ian chaney and curt ellis). they actually released the movie here in portland, but unfortunately, i was unable to attend the viewing. if it’s as good as Kind Corn, i can’t wait to see it.


  • Prashanth

    Boston seems to be a very happening town in Greening projects along with Chicago. I watched the ‘Inconvenient Truth’ to understand why the planet is in peril with our current living practices. I would love to watch this movie to better understand the processes involved in green building. Also looking at the fallacy of some of the green products sounds interesting.
    I am doing my thesis research in Sustainable practices in Building Construction in Clemson University, Clemson,SC.

    Prashanth P

  • Rick

    Looks like an interesting film. I am glad to see that more of these projects are getting national attention and hopefully this type of building process will continue to spread. I would love to see more of these projects going up here in Utah.

  • Betsy

    This is so awesome. There have been only a small handful of green builds/rebuilds here in Salt Lake; we definitely need more. I definitely need to see this film.

  • Geoff

    Love it. I’m a native Bostonian but I’ve been living in Austin, TX for the last 10 years. Sorely miss the city. I had a chance to get up to the Greenbuild Conference in Boston a couple months ago (I’m a LEED AP with a materials and service procurement company) and really enjoyed the experience. Got a chance to see that beautiful Macallen building. As a native Bostonian, it makes me proud to hear about the transformation of ‘regular guys’ on a construction team. Those regular people are the guts of the country and they’re going to grease the skids and take both the green building revolution and all other clean tech to the next level in the public consciousness. There are so many ways to contribute out there. Appreciate the foresight, the effort and the money put toward this project. Best of luck moving forward. Can’t wait to see it!

  • Aimee Davenport

    I can’t wait to see this film and see what worked and didn’t for them. I wish I had a chance to see or tour this building at GreenBuild, but hopefully I’ll get to make another trip soon. Thanks for the tip on King Corn, Darin. I’ll definitely have to check that out as well. I’ve been talking about our dependence on corn for years, so maybe after my boyfriend sees that he won’t think I’m so crazy.

  • Terry

    Great project for the builders and the film makers! The GREEN movement is all about getting information into the hands of the public at large. I would love to see the same type film done on smaller projects such as homes and small businesses and really bring it down to “street level”.
    As marketing director for an architecture firm with a LEED Gold certified building under our belt, I have been considering commissioning a video “walk-through” of our project to post on our website. This post has inspired me to get busy and take that idea to the next level.

  • Michelle DePass

    I haven’t seen the film yet, but it has gotten very good press in the NW. I work as a green building specialist in Portland, Oregon, and would love to have a copy of the DVD to show to green building program participants.


  • Daniel McDonald

    Sounds like a great film – I work as an architect, and I can imagine that an honest record like this – the education involved, the pitfalls, what was easy – would be useful in convincing clients, contractors (and bosses…) that a LEED building is a doable thing…

    Daniel in Cleveland.

  • Ben Ellis

    Nicely done Curt and Ian! And thank you Preston for posting this must see film!

  • Bettie Simpson-Weeks

    I am originally from ‘Southie’ and now working at a University in Texas where we are working to incorporate Green (Leeds) into our renovation projects. Would love to have a copy of this DVD to use as a training tool for our architects and engineers!

  • Ronnie Citron-Fink

    I would love to see this movie. Both my kids live in Southie and it’s inspiring to see all the green building projects happening in Boston. Thanks for getting the word out about this film.

  • Rebecca

    It sounds like the filmmakers addresses the possibilities of “greenwashing.” This is a hard topic that needs to be confronted if we REALLY want to make a difference. I hope to see the film.

  • Liza Neil

    Wow! Great to see what you are all up to over there on the other side of the Pacific! And I am making a blatant plug for the video and will happily pay for the shipping!
    I too am an Architect and work on many sustainable community projects. I would pass this on to the Australian Institute of Architects so they can review and publicise it. Thankyou for all the great info, photos and articles that make staring at a screen worthwhile!

  • Heidi Farber

    This is a great movie,showing both the successes and challenges of LEED and educating the building community about green buildings. I would love a copy of this DVD to share with my Board and members

  • DF

    Please enter my name in the contest to win a DVD of the MacAllen Building documentary.

  • David Roberts

    Great stuff. We have a few things like this going on up in Seattle, despite the disappointing recent decision about the viaduct tunnel.

    • Brian Krueger

      I’m a city planner from Bozeman, Montana. We are starting to see LEED projects here in the state of MT. I’m very interested in gathering resources for citizens and professionals in our community to increase their awareness of LEED projects and what is happening in other communites nationwide. I would add the film to our small library of informational materials in our dept. library as well as scheudle a showing of the film with other planners in our city and county. Thanks for the opportunity.

      • Janis Boatright

        We are a builder of LEED certified modular homes and specialize in urban infill. Let me know if you would like more info.
        Janis Boatright
        StalwartBuilt Homes

  • Ali

    I like that “The Greening of Southie” gets at the human side of green building, showing viewers that it’s a learning process.

    It’s great that you’re using online networking to get the word out. How else can more people get access to the film?

    • Preston

      Good question Ali, make sure to check out the Greening of Southie website for ideas on having a viewer party, etc.

      Cara Mae wrote a review of the movie above, and after reviewing it for publication, I decided to buy a copy of the movie to watch myself. Then I saw the five pack, so I went ahead and bought that — so here we are giving away the other four.

      So, I guess, if you don’t win a copy of the DVD, you could buy a five pack and give four away to friends?

  • katie dykema

    I would love to win a copy of the movie. I am just starting my masters education in architecture and am focusing on sustainability.

  • Kyle

    Looks like a great flick, I’d love to get a copy, let’s see if my luck is as good as last time.

  • Alexis

    I am an urban planner working for the government of a small urban area, so this film sounds fascinating to me. My department has been studying green building technology for some time now, and this is a film we’d love to have in our library.

  • Anonymous

    It seems that a film like this can only help us all to see how human we are!
    It shows that what we are told or read to how we perceive this information is not necessarily the same thing!
    But open talks, or a fun open minded film such as this, can help to change our misunderstanding from heresay & myth to sense & reality. It helps us all move forward. Well done all.

  • Anonymous

    I’m originally from Boston but have been in California for 35 years where “Green” is really big. Our daughter went to Boston College and our son is a Management Consultant in green building with a large commercial construction company. So our ties to the town of Boston and to the green building industry are strong. We learned a lot from the movie and also loved the Boston people, accents and sites. We are recommending it to others!

  • kim v

    Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Janis Boatright

    This is great! Hat’s off to the team behind the video and the Macallen building.
    As the Director of Sales and Marketing for the builder who built the first LEED Platinum home in the state of Florida, I can certainly understand what they went though. The ongoing daily challenges that we face in attempting to bring “green” to mainstream America is a daunting process. I will gladly send this video to everyone I can, should I win the grand prize!!

  • Dennis

    Came across this movie while researching possible presentation topics for a newly developed sustaibility group in a California city. Being from Massachusetts, I would love to check the film out!!

  • Mike Sturdivant

    Looks like a very interesting and worthwhile film. I would love to watch it and share it with the PCBC Staff.


    Mike Sturdivant

  • Paul Smith

    I saw this at the 2008 Wild and Scenic film festival, was by far my favorite. Really moving, real portrait of the sometimes not so smooth road to going greener. I would love to win this! Thanks.

  • Wendy Wallach

    I am from New York and this sounds like an intersting movie.

    madamerkf at aol dot com

  • Vanessa Smith

    Last year, my husband Paul Smith of attended the Wild & Scenic film festival where this movie was shown. He was so moved by it, how it showed folks who normally wouldn’t consider green or sustainable methods, personally or professionally, using them and being forever changed as a result. I can’t wait to see this movie.

  • Dan Bailey-Yavonditte

    I’d love to see the rest of the video! The music was great. Sometimes you get these style documentaries and the info is great but it’s displayed poorly. This one looks like a keeper.

  • Vivian Deliz

    I like to see how this building was “green”ed as we are looking into doing the same thing with some buildings downtonw.

Popular Topics on Jetson Green