Southie Goes Green

“Green building” is the concept of sustainable and environmentally friendly construction. It’s more expensive and more time consuming to build this way, but lots of politicians, environmentalists and builders are embracing it as the way of the future.

Boston, Massachusetts is a city steeped in history and tradition, and its most iconic neighborhood, South Boston or ‘Southie’ is notoriously insular. The people there tend to like things the way they are - or the way they used to be, because whether or not they approve, South Boston is changing rapidly.

Probably the largest physical symbol of this change is The McCallen Building, the first LEED Gold certified residential building in Boston. The owner, the designers and the project managers set ambitious goals for the construction of The McCallen Building and the process was fraught with successes and setbacks.

Filmmakers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis were on hand to document each step of The McCallen Building’s construction for their new documentary The Greening of Southie. Initially they were going to make this film from the designer/architecht standpoint, but after spending time on the jobsite with the union workers, they realized that these gruff and formely skeptical men were coming around on green building. So, Cheney and Ellis decided to shift the film’s focus and make the construction workers into their stars.

Bob Gottlich, Ironworker

The workers are funny, insightful and accessible - as is the film in general. The Greening of Southie takes viewers through the LEED certification process and reviews each point that the building earned explaining the extra efforts and materials necessary.

The Greening of Southie draws back the veil from green building and shows the audience how - and why its being done.

Curt Elllis & Ian Cheney are currently working on a number of exciting projects, learn more about them and their work at

The film’s official website is

-Dan Bloom