Electric Car Racing Is Featured In Leonardo DiCaprio-Produced Documentary ‘And We Go Green’

Alejandro Agag and Leonardo DiCaprio

Alejandro Agag talks with Leonardo DiCaprio at an ABB FIA Formula E race.

Courtesy: RadicalMedia

Leonardo DiCaprio's well-documented passion for environmental causes was the jumping-off point for And We Go Green, the new documentary about the International Formula E electric car racing circuit that's playing this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“I was at home and my phone rang and Leonardo DiCaprio was like, ‘Come meet me in Brooklyn at this race,” said one of the film's directors, Fisher Stevens, who had previously worked with DiCaprio on the 2016 climate-change documentary Before the Flood. “I didn't know what he was talking about. What race?

“He was at the Formula E race in Red Hook and he wanted me to come check out the cars and the practice. I went down there and he said, ‘We should make a documentary about this.’ 

“I wasn't very interested at first because I don't care about cars or racing. He’s like ‘No, we can make an environmental doc but preach to a different audience because these cars are amazing. These are the future.’”

And We Go Green takes viewers on a white-knuckle journey through the street-racing circuits of a Formula E season in cities around the world. Since the series launched in 2014, it has become the fastest-growing motorsport in the world — and is driving technological innovation in electric cars.

Stevens, who won an Oscar in 2010 as a producer of the documentary The Cove, said the key storytelling element in And We Go Green is the film’s cast of characters — the drivers on the circuit, who grew up dreaming of being top dogs in Formula One.

“If you can get audiences engaged and invested in the characters, then you're going to be able to tell your story and you're going to be able to get messages across,” he said. “For us, the most important element of this film was the drivers — who they are, their backgrounds, their ups, their downs. Why they're so f—-ed up, why they're so brilliant. What makes them champions, what makes them losers.”

Co-director Malcolm Venville brought a passion for racing and a lengthy resume packed with visually spectacular car commercials. He was also on board with the film’s environmental message.

“The writing’s on the wall for gas-powered cars,” Venville said. “No one can afford to build a highly mechanized engine. This is all about software and technology and it's a real celebration of that. If big car companies can’t adapt, they’ll perish.”

As the Formula E circuit has evolved and grown, companies like Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes and Porsche have gotten involved. They’re competing against newcomers like India’s Mahindra and China’s NIO and as a group, they’re driving the innovation — especially in battery technology — which filters down to the commercial electric vehicles that are the future of transportation.

DiCaprio serves as a producer on the film. He also makes a cameo, getting a lesson on Aquafuel from Formula E chairman Alejandro Agag.

“Leo could be the audience and see how these cars are powered,” said Stevens. “It's a good opportunity for Alejandro to explain things because Leo, he always goes to one or two races a year. We thought, ‘Hey man, you're going to a race. It's a good way to put you into the movie.’”

Agag is a fascinating character in his own right — a Spanish businessman and long-time race fan who has seen his investment in Formula E pay big dividends.

“Alejandro is a capitalist,” said Stevens. “He saw an opportunity to make money by doing good.

“I think another secret motive that Malcolm and I had (in making the film) was to make these capitalist people that never ordinarily think about the well-being of the planet and only think about their pocketbooks to actually think — maybe they can have it all, like Alejandro. And do good, socially. And make money at it.”

Between the lightning-fast race action and the space limitations that Stevens and Venville’s film crews had to work around on the Formula E street courses, making And We Go Green presented plenty of technical challenges for the directors.

The unpredictable nature of documentary filmmaking can also produce unexpected surprises — like catching Pope Francis blessing a Formula E car during the series’ inaugural race weekend in Rome.

“The pope would never bless a Formula One car,” chuckled Venville.

And We Go Green will screen again at TIFF on Friday, September 13 at 9:45 a.m.

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Leonardo DiCaprio's well-documented passion for environmental causes was the jumping-off point for And We Go Green, the new documentary about the International Formula E electric car racing circuit that's playing this month at the Toronto International Film Festival.

“I was at home and my phone rang and Leonardo DiCaprio was like, ‘Come meet me in Brooklyn at this race,” said one of the film's directors, Fisher Stevens, who had previously worked with DiCaprio on the 2016 climate-change documentary Before the Flood. “I didn't know what he was talking about. What race?

“He was at the Formula E race in Red Hook and he wanted me to come check out the cars and the practice. I went down there and he said, ‘We should make a documentary about this.’ 

“I wasn't very interested at first because I don't care about cars or racing. He’s like ‘No, we can make an environmental doc but preach to a different audience because these cars are amazing. These are the future.’”

And We Go Green takes viewers on a white-knuckle journey through the street-racing circuits of a Formula E season in cities around the world. Since the series launched in 2014, it has become the fastest-growing motorsport in the world — and is driving technological innovation in electric cars.

Stevens, who won an Oscar in 2010 as a producer of the documentary The Cove, said the key storytelling element in And We Go Green is the film’s cast of characters — the drivers on the circuit, who grew up dreaming of being top dogs in Formula One.

“If you can get audiences engaged and invested in the characters, then you're going to be able to tell your story and you're going to be able to get messages across,” he said. “For us, the most important element of this film was the drivers — who they are, their backgrounds, their ups, their downs. Why they're so f—-ed up, why they're so brilliant. What makes them champions, what makes them losers.”

Co-director Malcolm Venville brought a passion for racing and a lengthy resume packed with visually spectacular car commercials. He was also on board with the film’s environmental message.

“The writing’s on the wall for gas-powered cars,” Venville said. “No one can afford to build a highly mechanized engine. This is all about software and technology and it's a real celebration of that. If big car companies can’t adapt, they’ll perish.”

As the Formula E circuit has evolved and grown, companies like Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes and Porsche have gotten involved. They’re competing against newcomers like India’s Mahindra and China’s NIO and as a group, they’re driving the innovation — especially in battery technology — which filters down to the commercial electric vehicles that are the future of transportation.

DiCaprio serves as a producer on the film. He also makes a cameo, getting a lesson on Aquafuel from Formula E chairman Alejandro Agag.

“Leo could be the audience and see how these cars are powered,” said Stevens. “It's a good opportunity for Alejandro to explain things because Leo, he always goes to one or two races a year. We thought, ‘Hey man, you're going to a race. It's a good way to put you into the movie.’”

Agag is a fascinating character in his own right — a Spanish businessman and long-time race fan who has seen his investment in Formula E pay big dividends.

“Alejandro is a capitalist,” said Stevens. “He saw an opportunity to make money by doing good.

“I think another secret motive that Malcolm and I had (in making the film) was to make these capitalist people that never ordinarily think about the well-being of the planet and only think about their pocketbooks to actually think — maybe they can have it all, like Alejandro. And do good, socially. And make money at it.”

Between the lightning-fast race action and the space limitations that Stevens and Venville’s film crews had to work around on the Formula E street courses, making And We Go Green presented plenty of technical challenges for the directors.

The unpredictable nature of documentary filmmaking can also produce unexpected surprises — like catching Pope Francis blessing a Formula E car during the series’ inaugural race weekend in Rome.

“The pope would never bless a Formula One car,” chuckled Venville.

And We Go Green will screen again at TIFF on Friday, September 13 at 9:45 a.m.

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I'm based in Vancouver and have written about hockey for The Canadian Press, The Hockey News, The New York Times, NHL.com and more. I have been following the business o

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