When Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH) developed the Green Shooting Card, they were the first to introduce standards for sustainable film and television production in Germany. FFHSH Executive Director Eva Hubert defines her goals.
How did the Green Shooting Card emerge?
In 2011, Hamburg was the European Green Capital and we wanted the film sector to make a contribution. Sustainable film production was a topic that warranted attention. The different approaches taken in Europe gave rise to the idea of initiating a Green Shooting Card. We are currently working on making green standards a reality.
How common is sustainable production in Germany?
There are some very good examples like Der Landarzt, a series produced by Odeon Film with a net-zero carbon footprint or advertising production companies that offer sustainable production on request. We had a prolific exchange of ideas at an expert panel with film and TV producers, line producers and production managers. I am quite optimistic that series such as Großstadtrevier and Rote Rosen can be produced sustainably in the near future. Tamtam Film, a new production company, has shown great enthusiasm in eco-sustainability with their first production. Wilfried Geike, President and Managing Director at Warner, who came to the meeting with comedian Michael Bully Herbig, pointed out that all American studios were already working sustainably. Herbig thinks the Green Shooting Card is a great idea and wants to implement it in his productions.
How can production companies contribute to this?
Most importantly, production companies must identify processes that can be changed. Paying attention to waste separation, conserving energy, and eating seasonal, regional foods are part of this, just as they are in our private lives. Our Film Commission tries to organize support from municipal institutions such as assistance for waste separation or free water tanks. There are many ways to make production more environmentally friendly. We are considering following the example of the film fund in Belgium by demanding that a carbon footprint for a specific production is submitted along with any application for subsidies.
Are film productions in other European countries more environmentally aware?
Yes, they are. In Britain, several productions have been screened by the Greenshoot Agency; the Irish Film Board has issued a guideline; in Belgium there are regular workshops for producers, production managers and line producers. Carbon Clap, a CO2 assessment tool for the film industry, was developed in France. Germany, on the other hand, is lagging behind although the Germans have a reputation of being ecologically aware. We have launched a Green Regio subgroup within Cine Regio, an association of 38 regional film funds from Europe. Helmed by Screen South, we will develop a European carbon emission calculator that can be reliably used in co-productions.
What are your goals?
I would like to convince my colleagues at the other regional film funds and the Federal Film Board that in the future sustainable film production should be considered a necessity and not just a nicety. We will gladly share whatever expertise we have. A first step could be to create an award for productions that put sustainable shooting foremost. Another option would be to make an assessment of the carbon footprint part of the calculations as an incentive for the companies to think about reducing emissions. I don’t believe in strict regulations. Everybody has to do their part for the environment and it is done best when it is done out of conviction.
“The time for half-measures and climate denial is over. Unless we move quickly away from fossil fuels, we’re going to destroy the air we breathe, the water we drink, the health of our children, grandchildren and future generations. If we’re going to avoid the worst of the impacts, then we’ve just got to act boldly. And we must act immediately."
Actor, Director, Producer, Environmentalist
"The media has a powerful role to play in the fight against climate change. Through films, television, and all media outlets, we must continue to deliver the message that solutions are out there and are happening now. We have to make it attractive for people to take action. Movies like Avatar, The Day After Tomorrow, and documentaries like Years of Living Dangerously, which I was proud to be a part of, have been very popular, reaching and inspiring millions of people. And I believe films in particular can really inspire and make people want to take action. It’s great to see some of my film-industry friends working with climate related organizations to push forward those messages."
„It‘s high time to reorganize film production in Germany in a ‚greener‘ and more sustainable way. So far, I am flabbergasted by how much our industry works in environmentally harmful ways.To this very day, it starts with until today one-sided print-outs of scripts, and then it continues with plastic bottles in production offices and lots of plastic waste with every catered meal, and it doesn‘t stop with the limousines that pull up to a red carpet.
For many years, people have sneered at me when I brought my own cup or I declined to eat cheap meat served on paper or plastic plates with plastic knives and forks. It would be great if the Green Shooting Card could change all that.“
Director (Ben X, Time of My Life)
„It’s absolutely great that filmmakers all over the world are trying to clean up their act, and are trying to film as sustainable as we possibly can. Still, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the incredible power of the moving image to also change the hearts and minds of people.
So, apart from trying to be more environmentally aware in our business, I think the big gain lies in how we might make everyone more environmentally aware. Yes, cinema can change the world.
I think filmmakers should start using the powerful weapon in our hands that is the camera.
Let’s not only try to do ‘less bad’. Let’s try to do right, and help drive the change that we all know needs to arrive.“
“We are living in a time in which we can’t afford to behave irresponsibly towards nature. The more important is it that film productions try to work as environmentally friendly as possible. A film team produces every day tons of garbage. I try to avoid using plastic cups on set, I bring my own cup, use ecofriendly cosmetics and avoid needless single rides.”
Photo ® Maddalena Arosio
Darren Aronofsky, Director, Noah / Jury President, 65th Berlin International Film Festival
“When we did Noah we knew we were making a film about the first steward of the earth, so we wanted to be good stewards ourselves. There’s so much waste on film sets. Because of groups like Earth Angel, we were able to change that a little bit.”
"As a TV and film producer I try to incorporate environmental storylines into my projects as much as possible. But it’s just as important, if not more, to ‚go green‘ behind the scenes! Therefore, I help run the Producers Guild of America’s Green Initiative.
We provide resources such as a Best Practices and a Carbon Calculator to help producers green their productions. We also partnered with all the major studios to create www.greenproductionguide.com which is a free green vendor database with over 2,000 vendors offering sustainable production solutions worldwide!"
Producer, Director and Visual Effects Supervisor (2001: A Space Odysee, Blade Runner)
"Trumbull Studios in Massachusetts is dedicated to being green as much as possible, including the use of LED lighting, solar power, and solar laptops. This is not just because our location has limited amperage and no three-phase, we believe we have a responsibility to our community and our planet to be a clean industry.
We are planning for digital photography in 3D 4K at 120 frames per second from remote and inaccessible locations that will not have available power. Solar is the way to go."
Dieter Kosslick, Director Berlin International Film Festival
„The Berlinale is already actively addressing the sustainability subject since years. We appreciate it very much that a growing number of filmmakers, among them this year‘s jury presiden Darren Aranofsky, is following green guidelines on set.“
Director of Photography (A Most Wanted Man)
‘I never have been told precisely what the rules are for shooting a green movie, but we are trying to do it. This is something new for me. Sometimes people overlight scenes at night. I don’t. If I can see with my own eyes, then it is enough for the film. In that sense I am a green DoP.’
Academy Award winner Jeremy Irons who stars in the Berlinale Competition entry The Night Train To Lisbon is a fan of source segregated recycling. „Especially in Germany you have done a lot for that. You are examplary in the matter of waste separation.“
The Hollywood actor travelled around the world to promote the environmntal documentary feature film Trashed by Candida Brady which deals with the global garbage problem: „We buy it, we bury it, we burn it and then we ignore it“, says Brady. „With Jeremy Irons as our guide, we discover what happens to the billion or so tons of waste that goes unaccounted for each year.“
Since the world premiere at the International Cannes Film Festival in 2012 Trashed picked up various nominations and awards at international festivals.