Rawman & Green-Girl to the rescue

Ron Gilmore’s ‘green toon’ heroes eat up the Green Lifestyle Film Fest

By Justin Chapman, Pasadena Weekly, 4/8/2010

Sounding much like his eco-superheroes Rawman and Green-Girl, artist and independent filmmaker Ron Gilmore of South Pasadena recently accepted the Green Apple Award for Outstanding Contribution to a Sustainable Lifestyle with the aplomb of a satisfied parent.
“If I can educate some people and get kids to eat their veggies, then I guess I’ve done my job,” said the 46-year-old Gilmore after accepting his prize during the awards portion of the fourth annual Green Lifestyle Film Festival at UCLA in late March.
Gilmore’s characters, whose true identities are Gilbert Moore and Lotus Lee, are based on himself and his girlfriend. The pair made its second appearance at the film festival, a three-day event dedicated to creating “change for the greater good,” as its promoters say, and featuring productions focusing on topics ranging from proper diet and alternative energy to overpopulation and the effects of air pollution.
Opening night ceremonies at the James Bridges Theater on March 20 included appearances by Australian model and actress Joanne Rose, preteen hip-hop artist Li’l Maxso and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, among others.
The Green Lifestyles event marked the second formal appearance of the dynamic green duo. Drawn and animated in much the same 1960s style as Stephen Colbert’s “Tek Jansen Adventures” and “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” characters of “SNL” fame, Rawman and Green-Girl actually debuted in 2008, when the event was called the Raw Lifestyle Film Festival. That first episode, “Beware the Beekeeper,” can be viewed on Gilmore’s Web site, gilmomedia.com.
This second episode, which took the computer graphics artist about a year to write and animate, is titled “Rawman and Green-Girl Meet Frankenfood” and features the intrepid couple doing battle against a company called Big Pharma Seed, whose CEO becomes a monster after eating tomatoes grown from genetically engineered seeds.
The film is only about eight minutes long, but Gilmore, who was the only artist from the Los Angeles area participating in the festival, said a longer version is in the works and will be appearing early May at greenlifestylefilmfestival.com along with other films that premiered at the festival. He’ll then post it at gilmomedia.com. To receive updates about Rawman and Green-Girl, join their fan page on Facebook.
“I have been interested in living a healthier lifestyle since I was in my 20s and that slowly evolved into the realization that we need to live in a clean and green environment to be truly healthy,” Gilmore said about the inspiration for his characters. “When I became a raw-vegan, I felt like a superhero because I had never felt so vibrant and alive.”
Once he finishes adding two scenes to the new episode, which he had to leave out due to time constraints, Gilmore, who works for a customs broker and international freight forwarding company near LAX, plans to approach Erewhon Natural Foods Market and Whole Foods Market about showing “Frankenfood” in some of their stores.
“I think it fits perfectly with their mission statements,” he said, since his cartoon is about vegan superheroes who fight against man-made environmental dangers and the contamination of the food supply from such harmful elements as pesticides, genetic modification and artificial ingredients.
For the third episode, Gilmore, who grew up in Redding and took an art correspondence course and an art class at Chouinard Art Institute but says he is mostly self-taught, is thinking of covering the cartoon characters’ origins, with a plot line loosely based on “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.” He plans to work on that installment after finishing his current project, “Dynamite Brothers,” which he will pitch to television networks as a Saturday morning cartoon.
The adventures of Rawman and Green-Girl weren’t the only items on the agenda at the March 20 film festival in Westwood. 
Opening ceremony keynote speaker Bill Ryerson, president of the Washington-based Population Institute and the Population Media Center in Vermont, did not have happy news to report on the future of resources due to overpopulation. The two organizations he works for spread the benefits of family planning in developing countries by means of education and community outreach.
“When people are told that contraception gives them AIDS and that family planning is a trick, overpopulation is very difficult to solve,” said Ryerson. “The negative effects of overpopulation are inevitable at this point. Infinite growth is not sustainable in a finite universe.”
Film festival founder Dorit stressed that the event’s focus was aimed at redefining green as sustainable through film. Dorit said she created the festival in an effort to make green more mainstream and because there is too much infighting among members of the green movement.
“This festival, which belongs to all of us, was created to counter messages of fear and violence in the media by presenting quality, low-budget films that challenge us and inspire us to live lives of inspiration and to become the magnificent beings that lie within each of us,” she said.
The films, Dorit said, “set new and higher standards for a more evocative and representative media. It is through art like this that we break the bondage of lethargy, ignorance and self-defeating and destructive behavior patterns.”