About the Film


About the Film

THE Story

How To Power A City is an independent documentary looking at renewable energy projects around the nation, from free-standing mobile solar projects to wind and solar coming onto electric grids. It showcases urban renewable energy and is set in New York City, Atlantic City, other parts of New Jersey, Las Vegas, Detroit, and (pending funding) Honolulu, and Texas. 

How To Power A City looks at how each of these very different cites have or are integrating wind, solar, and other forms of renewable power. How are everyday people taking part in what is being called a "clean energy revolution"? What are their challenges and successes? It showcases the leaders of this important transition: the clean energy pioneers, community leaders, business and home owners, and everyday citizens, each of whom made a choice to switch to clean energy. And, How To Power A City is a "renewable energy 101" story. How can people take part if they do not understand the lingo, the concepts, and the technology of clean energy? 

the issue

When the U.S. withdrew from the Paris Agreement, the controversy was global and emphatic. Almost immediately, hundreds of U.S. mayors vowed to uphold the Paris Agreement in an overwhelming show of support for this highly popular accord about addressing climate change. But — what does that mean? How does this affect each of us individually and what does it have to do with electricity?

Clean energy is here to stay, but few people understand how it affects their daily life nor realize they have a choice in whether their home is powered by wind, solar, natural gas, coal, oil or nuclear. How To Power A City looks at the many ways cities provide power and affect the way power is created, and also looks at the role of individual citizens. How To Power A City is a wide ranging exploration and snapshot of the early stages of the clean energy industry.    

shoots and research

The How To Power A City team is diligently searching for amazing stories and facts to share with you! We would like to thank the people and places who have participated with research help and/or shared their stories, including the Atlantic County Utility Authority, Richard Dovey, Fishermen's Energy, Here Comes Solar, Kohler Distribution, individuals involved in the Solar Sandy mobile solar charging station project, NRG (residential solar), New York City Council Member Costa Constantinedes, New York City Council Member Donovan Richards, Solar One, Solar eSystems, Sunset Park MRF - Sims Municipal Recycling, Sustainable CUNY, Soulardarity, and others who have already shared their stories. 

And if you have an amazing story to share, send it our way!


Click here to see the wonderful team behind this film. 


For more information email  MLR at PowerCityFilm dot com. 


Funding for How To Power A City has been made possible by the Puffin Foundation. It is a fiscally sponsored project of Women Make Movies.


We are actively fundraising! If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation go here and scroll down to How To Power A City. Or, email the director at MLR at PowerCityFilm dot com.


Thank you for your interest in How To Power A City. Please follow the film on Twitter for updates: @mlarosa10000.  







  • Melanie La Rosa, Producer/Director 

How To Power A City is directed and produced by filmmaker Melanie La Rosa. Melanie began filmmaking in the relentlessly DIY San Francisco film world. Her first film, Sir: Just A Normal Guy, about the female-to-male transition of a her friend Jay, screened internationally at dozens of film festivals and events, won awards from the Berkeley Film and Video Festival, Western Psychological Association, and generated important discussion about gender transition at a time when it was rarely portrayed in the media. It is now included in the permanent collections of dozens of prestigious universities. Melanie's second film, The Poetry Deal: a film with Diane di Prima, about the most famous woman writer of the Beat generation, was recognized with support from highly competitive funders including the New York State Council for the Arts, The Puffin Foundation, The Eastman Fund, and the Brooklyn Arts Council. As a producer, she has worked on PBS series and NPR programs, and has worked as an editor and shooter on documentaries that have screened internationally and throughout the United States. She currently teaches media production at Pace University. More about her work here.


  • Benjamin Bode
  • Toni De Aztlan
  • Stephen Koss
  • Senetchut Floyd
  • Kyle I. Kelley
  • Kay Hannahan
  • Kelin Long-Gaye
  • Alex Zielinski


  • Yasmin Mistry 

Production Assistants:

  • Anthony Parker
  • Nicholas Ostrander

Thank You!

  • Michael Allegretti
  • Johanna Campos
  • Sean Collishaw
  • Victoria Estevez
  • Bimol Karmakar
  • Victor Manibo
  • James Siquiera
  • Paul Ziek

Photo credits: