Select Page

An HBO documentary on climate change produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio has sparked interest and conversation since its debut at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Now the film – and the conversation – is coming to Sonoma as Sonoma Ecology Center proudly presents “Ice on Fire” at the Sebastiani Theatre on Aug. 26.

The Monday evening screening will be followed by a panel discussion led by Raymond Baltar, program manager of Sonoma Biochar Initiative, a Sonoma Ecology Center program. Baltar appears in “Ice on Fire” to discuss the benefits of biochar, one of several practical solutions to the climate crisis presented in the film. He was interviewed for the film while working under contract with Redwood Forest Foundation (RFFI) at a biochar project near the town of Percy in Mendocino County. The screening is co-sponsored by RFFI with major contributions from Pacific Biochar, Oregon Biochar Solutions, Agra Marketing and Benziger Family Winery.

Biochar is a form of charcoal that conserves water, sequesters carbon, removes pollutants and amends the soil. Thanks to the film, Baltar said, “Many, many more people will now have at least heard the term, and many more discussions can be had with those willing to try it, to help fund it, or to create legislation to help scale its use.” He added that the documentary “is surely the biggest platform I will ever have since they are releasing the film internationally.”

Experts on climate change and “drawdown” – efforts to remove carbon from Earth’s atmosphere – are beginning to notice biochar’s useful qualities. A recent U.N. IPCC Special Report named production and use of biochar as one of the least expensive and most easily scalable carbon drawdown strategies that can be employed immediately.

“Ice on Fire” was accepted into the Cannes Film Festival in May, and premiered on HBO in June. Its arrival to the Sebastiani Theatre is its first Bay Area screening. This special event on Monday, Aug. 26 begins with wine donated and poured by Benziger Family Winery, plus light refreshments, in the Sebastiani Theatre foyer at 6 p.m. The film starts at 7 p.m., followed by a brief panel discussion moderated by Baltar and featuring “Ice on Fire” director Leila Conners, RFFI Chief Forester and Usal Forest manager Linwood Gill, and others to be announced. Sebastiani Theatre is located on Sonoma Plaza at 476 First Street East, Sonoma.

Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets. All proceeds from the event will help support Sonoma Biochar Initiative and RFFI.