Portola Valley native Chris Paine returns as director of second film on the electric car


Portola Valley native Chris Paine, director of "Who Killed the Electric Car," a harsh documentary analysis of the automotive industry's connection to fossil fuels, is back with a follow-up: "Revenge of the Electric Car," which opens Friday (Nov. 4) at the Aquarius theater at 430 Emerson St. in Palo Alto.

There are other local angles: the film features Tesla, Palo Alto-based manufacturer of all-electric cars with a showroom in Menlo Park, and Elon Musk, a Tesla co-founder, and Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard, who lives in Woodside.

The Menlo Park showroom makes an appearance in the film in several behind-closed-doors scenes, Paine said.

Paine will be at the Aquarius theater on Saturday (Nov. 5) for the 5:15 and 7:30 p.m. shows, according to an online schedule.

Paine, who has lived in Los Angeles for 20 years, is the son of environmental activists Ward Paine, co-founder of the Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Mary Pearson Paine, co-founder of the science education advocacy group Environmental Volunteers, which has offices in Palo Alto and San Jose.

Along with Tesla, the film looks at the people associated with the Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and the subculture of converting fossil fueled vehicles to electric power.

Chris Paine said in an email that his schools as a kid were Selby Lane School in Atherton, Trinity Parish School (now Philips Brooks School) in Menlo Park, and Menlo School in Atherton, where he graduated in 1979.

"I grew up on the Peninsula and loved it," he said. He delivered newspapers in Atherton and Redwood City and made Super8 films with his friend Roger Gilbertson, who worked on both documentaries and co-founded Mondo-tronics, a robotics parts supplier in Cupertino that became The Robot Store, which was acquired, and that provided nickel titanium wire for a NASA expedition to Mars.

After college at Colgate and the New York University film school, Paine studied documentary filmmaking in a summer program at Stanford University and interned at HP and Pixar Animation Studios.

"Documentaries last in theaters about 10 seconds" without studios to support and promote them, Paine noted in his email."Local support and word of mouth is everything to make these films work."

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Like this comment
Posted by Ken Curtis
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:08 am

There are lots of other options to make Documentaries viable. While the theatres are old news. Sites like and are two of the greatest documentary site online for film makers. And they have millions of viewers of these films. it is a resource all film makers should explore, world will be better place with these films and it needs to be seen by as many people as possible.

Like this comment
Posted by Revenge?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:02 am

Who killed the electric car? Too expensive to build and sell.

The "Revenge" of the electric car? You mean, the one being built by our tax dollars in Finland? The Chevy Volt that is not selling at all? The Prius which is 30% more than a non-electric option..with a $4,000 battery change every few years?

Apparently the only revenge is by those who take our money and give it to failing business models.

Like this comment
Posted by Loperbole
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 9, 2011 at 8:49 am

"with a $4,000 battery change every few years"

Despite other drawbacks of owning a Prius, this is not one of them.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2011 at 6:29 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Scooters and golf carts.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm

The main problem with electric cars is their risk of spontaneous combustion even when parked--this will a huge liability issue.

It is now occurring with the Chevy Volt batteries in alarming numbers.

Say you park an electric car in an underground car park under an office building--the car has self combustion at high temperature and ignites gasoline vehicles which in turn burn down the office building.

The Tesla or other electric car manufacturer will be liable
-- when lives are lost in such fires that will be a Hindenburg phenomenon --a bankrupt Tesla and severe restrictions upon the use of Teslas and all electric cars

The market for them will evaporate overnight

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