Behind the Scenes: Christopher Beaver


We're always excited to meet filmmakers that are new to the Festival this year and to get a glimpse behind the scenes filming with our directors.

In the second of this series, we caught up with local filmmaker Christopher Beaver (pictured by Lloyd Carter), whose engaging film Racing to Zero: In Pursuit of Zero Waste will have its San Francisco Premiere at the 5th SF Green Film Festival, May 28 - June 3. Take a look at the trailer >>

We started by asking Christopher for his favorite camera or film equipment. Here he tells us more about that and his passion for environmental filmmaking.

"Well, you lit the fire under me. So at the risk of sounding pretentious but hopefully also in good fun, here you go with my late afternoon thoughts on a gray day.

The most important piece of film equipment is of course the mind. Then would come the camera because without the camera, there is no film. As Lillian Gish once said, the camera is only a machine but it’s a special machine because it can capture the human heart. So then third for me would be the apparatus holding the camera in the attached still, a Steadicam JR. 

I believe in a moving, mobile camera. I like to avoid talking heads and B-roll. I like to get close in and move with the people I’m filming, with the landscape, with machines and animals, and with water.

The Steadicam enables me to smooth out my handheld shots just like the big movies. I’m always on the Steadicam. For the record, almost all of Racing to Zero was shot handheld. In the still, as so often, I’m the entire film crew.


I’m inspired to make green films if that’s what you want to call them because I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and am still shocked that the entire world is not filled with forests and clean running streams, because I’m fascinated by how things work and I mean people and human societies with all their politics and intrigues although I also mean machines, and because I’m fascinated by what i would call the human experience of the world around us, my terminology to describe my work with environmental or green films.

By 2020 I want to know that zero waste has become an official policy of the United States as expressed in a State of the Union address by our President, as expressed globally by Google and by
Facebook, and made the theme for a week of interviews by Terry Gross. She might start with Bette Midler who has a passionate hatred of plastic bags." 

The full festival program will be announced April 28. Get your tickets for Racing to Zero: In Pursuit of Zero Waste then.