When Baz Luhrmann brought F. Scott Fitzgerald‘s novel The Great Gatsby to the big screen with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role, it looked like the Roaring Twenties were celebrating their come back. But a different kind of zeitgeist prevailed behind the scenes. Warner Bros., as a leader in adopting sustainable production practices, followed its ambitious approach to green the film shoot in Australia.
„Sustainable productions are very important internationally as well as nationally for Warner Bros.“, emphasizes Willi Geike, President & Managing Director Warner Bros. Pictures Germany. „Under the motto ‚Going green‘, Time-Warner has for years been supporting company-wide efforts that include waste reduction and energy-efficiency programs.“ The Hollywood studio developed green production guidelines for more sustainable practices in the production office, on the sound stage, and on location. These include the digital distribution of documents and dailies, LED lighting on set, compost collection, reuse and recycling.
Furthermore, Warner Bros. invests in energy efficient lighting, including the latest LED technology. LED lighting is 85% more energy-efficient than conventional lighting, creates less heat, and thus reduces air conditioning requirements and eliminates the replacement of light bulbs. The company‘s green commitment is reducing the carbon footprint left by feature films productions around the world.
The Great Gatsby was the first major U.S. production to use green guidelines for its shoot in Australia, where locations around Sydney stood in for Long Island, including Gatsby‘s fabulous mansion. Before production started, Warner Bros. Pictures Sustainable Production Manager Jon Romano met in L.A in 2010 with GreenShoot Pacific (GPS), the sustainability consultants who were contracted to manage The Great Gatsby shoot. Besides logistical and strategic support, GreenShoot Pacific focused on education through daily call sheets and worked directly with individual departments whenever possible. The unit, craft services, costume, catering, and extras departments were highly motivated to adopt eco practices such as collecting light bulbs or waste separation.
„It’s a misconception that ‘greening’ always means extra cost“, underlines Jess Conoplia, GreenShoot Pacific’s LA-based Business Development Manager. „True, it takes time to implement changes or to research solutions, however, once embedded into the system, these ‘time costs’ can be cost-neutral or positive.“
German Writer/Director/Producer Michael Bully Herbig also experienced awareness of sustainability. He used green production practices on his feature film Buddy, which made him a green pioneer in Germany. His effort paid off: Warner Bros.’ German Film Production Division was awarded a Green Shooting Card by the Film Förderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH). „Warner Bros. will continue to support German producers and enable them to shoot sustainably and cost-consciously“, sums up Geike.