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updated: 11/11/2011 5:54 AM

2 Lombard residents fund, produce electric car documentary

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  • Lombard resident Stefano Durdic got the idea for the documentary "Revenge of the Electric Car," which opens Friday in Chicago, by teaching suburbanites about the workings of his electric Tesla Roadster.

      Lombard resident Stefano Durdic got the idea for the documentary "Revenge of the Electric Car," which opens Friday in Chicago, by teaching suburbanites about the workings of his electric Tesla Roadster.
    Courtesy of Stefano Durdic

  • Video: 'Revenge of the Electric Car' trailer

 
 

It began as what Lombard resident Stefano Durdic calls a parking lot tour.

Small groups of people who gathered everywhere he parked his electric Tesla Roadster listened intently to his explanation of how the car runs without gas.

"I got to thinking 'more people need to know about this,'" Durdic said.

The thought led the 44-year-old retired trader and entrepreneur to fund production of "Revenge of the Electric Car," a documentary being shown nationwide that opens Friday at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago.

"It's neat to see national and international attention to something that originated as an idea in Lombard," he said.

The film's Lombard connection doesn't end with Durdic. Former Lombard Trustee Dana Moreau, who led the village board's environmental concerns committee, also was a producer.

Moreau worked to build partnerships and sponsorships for the film and coordinated teams working on public relations and social media.

While she and Durdic remained in Lombard throughout three years working on the film, crews shot in faraway locations such as Japan, Iceland, Norway, Israel and Los Angeles.

"The biggest challenge was the time zones and trying to get those correct," Moreau said.

Working in the film industry after several years in international banking wasn't too steep of a challenge for Moreau. She has a bachelor's degree in radio, TV and film from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and said it takes the same project management and cooperation to succeed in film as in any industry.

Directed by Chris Paine, who also directed a 2006 film called "Who Killed the Electric Car?", the 90-minute documentary focuses more on the people working to bring electric cars to the mainstream market than on the technology that allows them to run.

"It's not a science class; it's a movie," Durdic said.

Four electric carmakers are profiled: Bob Lutz, a General Motors executive; Carlos Ghosn, CEO and president of Nissan; Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors; and Greg "Gadget" Abbott, a do-it-yourself electric carmaker representing an underground movement of mechanics who convert gas cars to run electric.

Durdic said the men make entertaining characters because they're passionate about their approaches to advancing electric vehicle technology.

While the Chicago area isn't yet a hub for electric vehicles, Tesla soon will be opening a dealership in Oak Brook.

Durdic said he sees the dealership as a sign electric vehicles are becoming more well-known in the suburbs, maybe in small part because of his parking lot tour in Lombard and surrounding towns.

"Revenge of the Electric Car" is showing in Chicago through Thursday, Nov. 17.

"If it does well at Gene Siskel (Film Center), there's a probability it could be shown in the suburbs as well," Moreau said.

And maybe some day, Durdic, Moreau and others can team up to make another film -- one for which Durdic already owns the perfect domain name: whokilledthegascar.com.

"We've got some time before that movie gets made," Durdic said.

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