The Berlin International Film Festival not only promotes ecological and sustainable goals through programmes and panels but also optimizes its own carbon footprint. Festival director Dieter Kosslick on organic food, travelling by train, and increasing awareness.
What is the impact of ecological and sustainability measures on the Berlinale’s carbon footprint?
We abolished press boxes and the waste of paper associated with them several years ago. Print publications were reduced in number, size, and circulation or they were replaced with digital formats. In 2011, the energy provider ENTEGA, which generates electricity with a net-zero carbon footprint without resorting to nuclear power, became a co-partner of the Berlinale. Internally, we have introduced EMAS (Eco Management and Audit Scheme) to make our operation more sustainable.
What kind of actions have been taken at the festival?
We use sustainable merchandising articles and the buffets at our receptions are almost completely meat free. We make sure that the ingredients are fair trade, organic, and locally sourced. Our water supplier Viva Con Agua donates a minimum of 60 % of its proceeds to drinking water projects by the Welthungerhilfe. Our principal partner BMW uses fuel-efficient vehicles with hybrid technology and the limousine service drivers receive training in environmentally sound driving techniques. We also try to motivate the festival visitors from outside Berlin to act ecologically. They can calculate the carbon footprint of their voyage and offset the CO2 balance via certificates. Deutsche Bahn offers a Berlinale return ticket for 99.- Euros. Thanks to these efforts, we have already reduced our CO2 emissions.
Does the digitization of the cinemas have an ecologically positive effect?
Yes, in terms of ecology the digitization of movie theaters is an advantage. There are not only huge savings in film stock and production but also in the costs for the reproduction of traditional prints. Thanks to digitization, films can be distributed globally very fast and with significantly lower CO2 emissions. You have to take into account, however, that using large amounts of digital storage space also causes a corresponding degree of energy consumption.
The Culinary Cinema programme combines ecology and sustainability with pleasure and good food. Is the stereotype of the muesli-munching greenie a thing of the past?
Yes, it is. This questionable stereotype is indeed a thing of the past and has in turn been replaced by another stereotype: that of reducing the muesli eating greenie to a stereotype. There is a growing awareness of sustainable food throughout our society. Consumers are increasingly critical – a consequence of the numerous scandals in the food industry. We try to support the trend towards more awareness with the films in Culinary Cinema.
Do German film producers need lessons in sustainability as well?
Sustainability has been a subject at the Berlinale for quite a while. During the 2012 Co-Production Market, there was a theme talk entitled Green Productions about ecology in the film industry and in 2012 there was a Talent Campus panel on Greening the Film Industry with filmmakers discussing how they can combine the economical and the ecological sides of a film production. There is also a growing awareness in the film industry that parallels the development of awareness in society as a whole.
Should the film subsidy systems be modified towards more sustainability?
Yes, absolutely. Whoever uses public funding should also take on public responsibilities. Into the guidelines now! Hardly anything ever happens voluntarily.