"Family Weekend," a comedy about a family so dysfunctional that the teen daughter resorts to taking her parents hostage to get them to listen, "prided itself on trying to reduce its carbon footprint, as this is a mandate for our company," says star and producer Adam Saunders, whose company is aptly named Footprint Features. "To start off, there were no disposable water bottles on the set. All disposable water bottles were banned. Each crewmember was given his/her own canteen and we had large water dispensers everywhere. Secondly, we limited the number of rental cars — we had cast members sharing cars — and did not leave generators running throughout the night. Finally, because we hired most of our crew locally, we kept down the number of plane trips which were required to make the movie," says Saunders, who labels himself "an avid green guy. I regularly donate to environmental causes, bring my own bags to grocery stores, drive a hybrid, etc. It is hugely important to me."

"Family Weekend," which also stars Kristin Chenoweth, Matthew Modine, and Shirley Jones, is "about the importance of family, the importance of parents showing up for their kids, being a part of their children's lives," Saunders sums up. "I was very fortunate to have that growing up and it shaped me in a profound way. It made me confident, believe in myself, gave me the best chance to succeed. All kids should have that chance. This movie is a fun, entertaining, incredibly well-acted film about an issue that is important. And families all across the country who have seen it have absolutely loved it. It's great for teens, their parents, and everyone in the family because it's something all of us can relate to." It opens in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas and New York on March 29 for a weeklong run.


Tune in: Premiering March 31 on Nat Geo Wild, "A Wild Dog's Tale" follows Solo, a female African dog that has befriended hyenas and jackals and helped raise their young.

On PBS, "Nature: What Plants Talk About" analyzes plant behavior and makes a case that they're not as passive as we think. "They're actively engaging in the environment in which they live," says experimental plant ecologist and professor JC Cahill of the University of Alberta, one of several scientists whose work is showcased in the program, which debuts April 3. "They actively communicate. They actively respond to the nutrients, and the predators, and the herbivores that are around them. It's a really dynamic system."

Jeremy Wade goes in search of fearsome water creatures in the return of "River Monsters," April 7 on Animal Planet.

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Indie movie 'Family Weekend' makes big eco-strides
Green 'Family Weekend'; nature TV premieres.