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Berlinale 2022 - EFM

Industry Report: Green Industry Initiatives and Sustainability

The EFM tackles carbon calculators, green production and training

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BERLINALE 2022: At the festival's online market, several industry events broached the issue of climate change

The EFM tackles carbon calculators, green production and training
The panellists

The necessity for the audiovisual industry to take actions towards reducing its environmental impact is a topic that is becoming more crucial for film professionals as certain film funds are already requiring film productions to disclose their carbon footprint. “Climate change is the most important challenge of our times,” stated Lucia Recalde, Head of Unit at Creative Europe - MEDIA. “And it is very well recognised that film and TV in particular can and should make a significant contribution.” One aim of the European Commission‘s Media and Audiovisual Action Plan is to work towards a climate-neutral audiovisual sector. 

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Following the motto “You are what you measure,” film organisations, broadcasters and film commissions in various countries and regions have developed different carbon calculators for film productions. However, it appears that the carbon footprint of a film production differs depending on the carbon calculator that has been used. A European group of industry experts therefore developed a carbon calculator, called EURECA. But it won’t become a standard solution. “We don't want to substitute what already exists,” Recalde pointed out at the European Film Forum session “Towards a climate-neutral audiovisual sector.” 

The aim is to create a common measurement methodology that can be integrated into existing calculators. The tool has to be easy to use and deliver comparable data on travel, transportation, accommodation, set construction, and catering of a film production. “The most important matter is to raise awareness,” said Tomasz Morawski, producer at Haka Films in Poland. “Measurement can help but the real change begins in our heads. We have to tell the crews that we want to reuse, renovate, and renew materials.”

For the first time, green film production was also a topic at the Annual Members Event of the European Women's Audiovisual Network (EWA). “EWA members, mostly female producers and filmmakers, were eager to know more about sustainability in our industry and how to get assessment in the production so that to create audiovisual works can be more efficient and eco friendly,”  underlined Alexia Muiños Ruiz, Director of Programmes of the EWA Network. “Getting to know Green Film Shooting and other resources to contact experts is really invaluable.” 

Eco managers and green consultants are on the rise all across Europe. Ecoprod and Green Film Shooting hosted the roundtable discussion “All about green training” which gave an insight into different training approaches all across Europe. For more than a decade, the French association Ecoprod has been offering training, tools, and green production guides. “This year, we are launching a new five-day training with the three key topics: the impact of a production, the strategy to reduce its impact, and carbon calculation,” said Alissa Aubenque, Ecoprod‘s Director of Operation. In Italy, the environment has been added into the constitution. “We are very proud of that,” emphasised Nevina Satta, CEO of the Sardegna Film Commission, which provides training for green film productions with a focus on below-the line since 2014. “Now, we are involving the content producers more and pushing them to cooperate with scientists.”

Italian producer Giovanni Pompeli is launching, in collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab, a Green Lab training programme in various European regions. “Changing the habits is the most difficult part,” said the producer. “The most important thing is to have a hands-on approach in how to think about a sustainability plan.” In Poland, production is becoming more sustainable thanks to the Film for Climate group, which developed green guidelines. “We are planning a series of training on green production,” Polish producer Alejandra Leszczyńska pointed out. 

In South Africa, the Greenset project gained momentum when the service company Film Africa adopted sustainability on all its productions in 2019. Founded as a startup, non-profit organisation, now Greenset is a subset of the South African Film Academy. “We focus on job creation and service training in sustainability in the film sector while working with producers to minimise the carbon footprint of productions filming in South Africa,” said Greenset founder Cindy Mkwanazi

Meanwhile, Hungary serves as a big service hub for US studios. “Most of the time, they have us on board in the pre-production phase,” said Julia Tordai, co-founder of Green Eyes Production. “If the big studios are not willing to pay for the green premium, the supply chain won‘t change.” French eco manager Anais Mounereau stressed that it is difficult to structure a global sustainability strategy on set. “At Secoya, we offer productions a software tool that helps to estimate and reduce their carbon footprint.” In the South German city of Freiburg, eco consultant Jakob Reinhart provided a recent  production with electric cargo bikes. The cameraman even used the trailer for a dolly shot. “You need crew members who are willing to try something new,” concluded Reinhart. “They need to have the energy and time to create an innovative solution. It won‘t save the world if we only calculate our footprint. It’s better to invest the time to actually reduce carbon emissions.” 

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