TALK SHOW WITH HARPER SIMON | EPISODE 21

Energy Activist Nora Maccoby on How Politics & CIA Upbringing Sparked an Interest in Filmmaking

Nora Maccoby talks about growing up in the world of the CIA, the Washington corruption that keeps America addicted to oil and the wars that provide it, and her own strange history of international intrigue. From a vision for society that is "the opposite of ISIS," to sticking up for George W.


Guest Bio

Nora Maccoby was born in Mexico City, raised in Washington DC, and began making short films when she was in her early teens, interning with Charles Guggenheim, the documentary maker.

During the 1990s, she lived in LA, began researching physics, ancient history and religion, played in numerous bands, and created the art collective IDT (Interdimensional Travel). She also co-wrote “Bongwater”, (starring Jack Black, Luke Wilson, Andy Dick, Brittany Murphy) and “Buffalo Soldiers”, (Joaquin Phoenix, Ed Harris, Anna Paquin), which was nominated for 6 Independent Spirit Awards and won the Evening Standard Award for Best Screenplay in 2003.

In 2002, while researching a film on the 1983 US invasion of Grenada, West Indies, she began working with the Grenadian government to develop clean energy solutions. Realizing that this was a global issue, and that the environmental stakes were too high to dismiss, she returned to her hometown of Washington DC.

In the spring of 2004, Nora began working with leaders inside the Beltway to create a bipartisan energy literacy initiative (Nature’s Partners) and create common ground for a national energy conversation.

In November 2005, Nora led the first US-China clean energy sit down with a US delegation trip to China via the International Fund for China’s Environment (IFCE), meeting with Chinese mayors, business leaders, provincial government leaders, and NGO and Chinese Government Planning and Reform Commission members to discuss the 1 Trillion dollar investment of the 11th and 12th 5 Year plans on clean energy projects, diplomacy and way ahead strategies to develop international clean energy partnerships and alliances. With a US-China cooperation strategy in place, Nora was able, in December 2005, to interface directly with then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. In late January, Nora received credit for President Bush’s State of the Union line when he declared, “America has a problem. We are addicted to oil.”

Her book, The Energy Conversation, published by Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) details the first 4 years of the clean energy movement within Washington DC.

She is a member of The Energy Consensus, President of Potomac Sustainable Communities Initiative LLC, and serves on the board of the IFCE.

Nora returned to focus on motion pictures in 2011. Her recent work includes, The Faithful (Ismael Ferroukhi directing), Lady Digby (Martha Fiennes directing), and Island of Happiness (Chuck Russell directing). She has several other projects in development, including a novel trilogy – The Ether Field Chronicles.


Nora Maccoby talks about growing up in the world of the CIA, the Washington corruption that keeps America addicted to oil and the wars that provide it, and her own strange history of international intrigue. From a vision for society that is “the opposite of ISIS,” to sticking up for George W. Bush and republicans, and the renewing properties of surviving Dengue fever, Maccoby never fails to surprise in an uncensored conversation on Harper Simon’s Talk Show.