Q: Sara Coppola: Paige, you’re embarking on a new important and insightful project: the “Wine & Climate Change” Documentary; a project that stems from your great interest and involvement in environmental causes and your previous research on issues concerning global agricultural security.
When did you first start to get involved with environmental projects and how?
A: Paige Donner: My enthusiasm for protecting the environment stems from having grown up on a Pacific Island and in California, alternatively. My brother and I would spend part of the year with my father in California where we would camp, hike, go on vineyard treks in Napa and Santa Barbara where my grandmother lived…and then with my mother in Guam and Hawai’i where we were raised like earth-bound dolphins – when we weren’t SCUBA diving we were surfing or swimming or water-skiing.
Also, I was homeschooled from grades 6-9 so I was able to pursue tailored coursework about the environment and natural landscapes that might not have been available to kids learning from regular school curriculum at that time in the mid-70s.
Then, early on in my career as a journalist, I worked with a morning news producer at KTVU-Oakland. She allowed me to develop and pitch a series of 2-minute segments that we called “Earth News.” It never really got off the ground, but it was good training. That was the early 90s. It wasn’t until the digital revolution that I was free to report on environmental issues as I wished. So in the 2000s I began writing a column called Greening Hollywood, which married my years spent as an entertainment reporter with my passion for environmental issues.
Q: Sara Coppola: How was the idea of this project born?
A: Paige Donner : I feel I am most naturally expressive as a filmmaker. Since journalism is my professional background and the career I have pursued for 20 years now, a documentary about this compelling subject matter makes perfect sense.
This project in particular is based on the article assignment I did for the International Herald Tribune (the global edition of the N.Y. Times) which published in November 2011. I pitched an article about this subject to my assigning editor at IHT and he helped me to refine the angle and the approach. This documentary builds upon that one-page article and allows greater in-depth analyses and examination of Wine And Climate Change as well as allowing for the incorporation of up-to-date and newly released climate science reports.