A Necessity, Not a Nicety

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.

Photo: ©FFHSH