Filmmaker of the Month: Richard Schwartz

sacred duty

Every month, Green Lifestyle Film Festival’s EcoSalon Film Series features a life-changing film. This month’s film, produced by Emmy-Award-winning producer, director, writer, and cinematographer Lionel Friedberg and College of Staten Island professor, Richard Schwartz, is called, “A Sacred Duty.” This documentary shows how religious responses can make a major difference and why a shift toward plant-based diets is an essential part of efforts to reduce global climate change and other environmental threats.

Green Lifestyle Film Festival recently interviewed College of Staten Island professor, Richard Schwartz, who is the President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA). Here is our Q&A session with professor Richard Schwartz:

1. Why did you decide to become involved in this project?

I saw a documentary produced by the Christian Vegetarian Society at a vegetarian conference and decided that Jewish Vegetarians of North America should try to produce a similar movie.

Also, I believe strongly that the world is rapidly approaching climate, food, energy, water, and other catastrophes and that everything possible should be done to try to avert these catastrophes. Producing “A Sacred Duty” is part of that effort.

2. What was one of the biggest challenges in making this film?

Deciding how to reduce the many hours of footage that we had to a one-hour documentary.

3. Who is the target audience for this film?

People who are concerned about the many crises the world faces and people who should be concerned. It is primarily aimed at Jews, but it has a universal message so it is relevant to all people.

4. What would you like for people to take away from this documentary?

The message that the world faces many threats to humanity and all life on the planet and that it is urgent that steps be taken right away to address the threats. Also, an essential part of the response is a major societal shift to plant-based diets.

5. What can we, here at, do to encourage people to become involved in this movement?

• Show our documentary. We are very pleased that you plan to do so.

• Stress how serious climate change and other environmental threats are.

• Suggest that people visit, where I have much material that reinforces the book’s messages.

• Refer conservatives who are skeptics about environmental threats to, the website of Republicans for Environmental Protection.

• Work with other environmental groups to help spread the messages.

To learn more about the film, please visit the following link:


Author: pattybaraibar

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