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Documentary with Gennaro premieres

City Councilman James Gennaro (D−Fresh Meadows) joined the likes of Larry David, co−creator of “Seinfeld,” and actress Julia Roberts and appeared in the documentary “Fuel,” which won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and had its city premier last week at the Gerald Lynch Theater in Manhattan.

The film’s director, Josh Tickell, said he asked Gennaro, chairman of the Council Environmental Protection Committee, to appear in the film because of what Tickell called the councilman’s progressive policies that cities across the country should be looking to implement.

“James Gennaro is someone who is green in a place that’s not so easy to be green,” Tickell said before walking across the theater’s green — yes, green — carpet.

Gennaro highlights his bio−heat bill in the movie. The legislation, for which there will be a public hearing at City Hall Feb. 25, would require all heating oil used in the city to buy B20 bio−heat by the year 2013.

B20 bio−heat is a mixture consisting of 80 percent standard heating oil and 20 percent biodiesel, which is made from domestically produced renewable sources like soy or vegetable oil.

“We can create a fuel that burns about 70 percent cleaner than traditional heating oil and has very significant, positive benefits for New York City’s local air quality and for the incidents of asthma in the city,” Gennaro said.

The two−hour documentary details what Louisiana native Tickell calls “America’s addiction to oil” and advocates various ways the country needs to energize itself using alternative means, from vertical farms that occupy skyscrapers in the city to algae facilities that turn wastewater into fuel.

Numerous policy makers, entertainers and academics appear in the film, and besides David and Roberts, Tickell employs U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D−Calif.), actor Woody Harrelson, author Naomi Klein and singers Willie Nelson and Neil Young to push his main message of using alternative energies.

“The film tells a very important story about the things we have to do to move this country to use renewable energy,” Gennaro said. “All of our energy needs are essentially fueled by fossil fuels — oil, natural gas and coal — right now. We can no longer use one source of energy. We will need to use wind, biofuels, solar, a lot of different technologies.”

“Fuel” will open for the general public March 13 at the AMC Loews Village 7 in Manhattan.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e−mail at agustafson@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 174.

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