At the Marché du Film, panellists discuss the Green Charter and their work on making film festivals more sustainable
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How can festivals go green? This was the main question tackled by the participants in one of the panels organised by this year’s Marché du Film (17-25 May). The talk, moderated by Cineuropa’s own Vassilis Economou, saw the participation of Guillaume Calop (general manager at Les Arcs), Charles Gachet-Dieuzeide (co-founder and general director of Secoya), Maria Silvia Gatta (policy officer at Creative Europe – MEDIA, attending remotely) and Rosie Wong (director of Industry Relations at Sundance).
Calop explained how, in 2019, the team at Les Arcs started thinking through the environmental impact of their event and how it was important not just to focus on polluting less, but also on raising people’s awareness. The first two Green Charter workshops were thus held at Les Arcs and, one month later, at Rotterdam. Two main challenges emerged: how to make it “universal”, and how to finance it.
The first aspect to consider was the differences among the countries – for example, promoting the use of bikes to travel between festival venues is feasible in most countries, but cannot be encouraged at Les Arcs, which takes place in a cold, mountainous location every December. Thus it became indispensable to work together on comparing action plans, the progress being made and best practices. The whole approach, he added, was not based on being judgemental, but rather on building awareness as well as a constructive, respectful dialogue.
The commitment required participants to record their consumption of food, waste, energy and transportation (in line with the Green Charter for Film Festival’s calculator), and to share the resulting figures publicly. Calop finally showed the web-based calculator, still in development, and how the different tabs should be filled in (for example, general information, food, energy, transportation and so on) by festival reps.
Gachet-Diezeuide touched upon the partnership sealed with the Green Charter campaigners and explained how his commitment was born of the difficulty of being eco-friendly while working as a location manager. Secoya was set up four years ago with the goal of helping audiovisual productions to reduce their carbon impact. He explained that their tool is based on the formulas provided by France’s national energy agency. The link with festivals and their willingness to go green came quite naturally.
“I feel that, in a way, we’re heading in the same direction, and this is very comforting. Why? When we started the new Creative Europe programme, we had a new commission, and one of the actions we put forward was [to work on] the Green Deal,” added Gatta. She agreed with the non-judgemental approach pursued by the Green Charter’s group: “We don’t want to be normative; we want to offer incentives. We should find ways where everybody steps in and everybody is aware of the green dimension of our activities. It’s a societal duty that the entire EC has taken on board.” Speaking about the different calculators available, she said that some are very effective in certain countries, and less so in others. The objective is not to add another calculator, but to release one that serves as a “common ground” among the ones already made available.
Later, Wong spoke about Sundance’s commitment to reducing energy consumption, conserving natural resources and cutting waste. The first goal is also being pursued through the purchase of new electric buses (some of which run on biodiesel) and the creation of walking trails from venue to venue. The second commitment can be achieved with free water bottles, hydration stations, digital catalogues and invitations along with a mobile fest app. Recycling stations are also proving successful: in 2020 alone, the team estimated that they recycled 70,000 pounds of material. The third objective can be accomplished with the use of recycled materials to make bags and other items, employing digital signage and choosing locally produced merchandise, among other solutions.
A Q&A session rounded off the event.
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