When Chris Barrett, from Collingswood, N.J., heads to the Sundance Film Festival this week, it’ll be his seventh trip there. One year after his first trip there in 2004, he formed his own production company at the age of 22 with “Napoleon Dynamite” actor Efren Ramirez.


How does a 22-year-old pull off something like that? It all started in high school, where he and a friend launched a campaign to get corporate sponsorship through college, which First USA offered him in return for talking about financial responsibility.


As a result, he was interviewed in the documentary “The Corporation,” which previewed at the 2004 Sundance Festival, where he met lots of young filmmakers and actors. One of those people was Ramirez. The two started fundraising for the new venture, which resulted in “After School,” a documentary about female teacher-and-student sex scandals, due to be released this year. Barrett and Ramirez have also talked to high schools in the Philadelphia area about how to control their own futures and produced an advice book for teens, “Direct Your Own Life.”


Barrett admits he was lucky to feature in a documentary at the 2004 Sundance Festival, but that Sundance offers lots of chances to chat to actors and directors. “The Internet is great for finding people with really interesting jobs that will talk to you, but if you have an idea, produce a Web site, get a business card and start handing them out.”



The U.N. summit on climate change held in Copenhagen in December was pretty disappointing for green investors looking for concrete global targets on reducing carbon emissions. Meanwhile, many would-be investors are waiting to see if the Obama administration’s pledge to cap U.S. carbon emissions actually happens before they invest in green energy or energy-efficiency companies.

But those sitting on the sidelines could be missing a trick. According to a new report from DB Climate Change Advisors, a 6 percent portfolio allocation to clean energy, clean water, agribusiness and energy efficiency companies would have outperformed a benchmark portfolio over the past three to five years and added an extra 0.7 percent in total return.

Whether you’re interested in companies producing fuel from cow manure or plastics from plant stalks, there are plenty of ways for retail investors to invest in innovative green companies through the stock market, exchange-traded funds and mutual funds. Watch this space for some specific paths to green investing; those waiting patiently for the explosive growth of green industries could have been making money already.

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