An important incentive

Producers who want to shoot their films sustainably are often confronted with lots of practical problems and they are concerned about the added expenses of time and money. In Belgium, the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF) is listening to these concerns and is coming up with practical solutions.

„We are trying to find solutions for all the problems that producers actually have in shooting films in a more sustainable way“, says Siebe Dumon, Head of Training and Research at the Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds in Brussels. „Naturally, it is more expensive to rent hybrid cars but we found a partner in Toyota: they charge the same price as they do for non-hybrid cars. We search for sustainable solutions in order to offer our producers cost-effective and carbon-effective options.“

The seeds for this green initiative were sown in Spring 2013. VAF teamed up with eco consultants Zero Emission Solutions (ZES) to develop a carbon calculator and work out a methodology to produce more sustainably. “We need an effective program to collect data because that gives us an insight into the most polluting aspects of production”, emphasizes Dumon. „In the long run, it also demonstrates the results of our efforts to produce films in more sustainable way.“

The freeware Excel application contains various categories of information: transport, production, electricity and heating use, waste, catering, hotels, and miscellaneous. Another tool allows crew members to check the CO2 emissions for a car ride by filling in the data for the type of automobile being used, the number of kilometers to be traveled, gas consumption, and use of a hybrid versus a non-hybrid car. „This tool shows at what point it becomes more cost-effective to rent a hybrid versus a non-hybrid car and find out what CO2 savings are“, explains the VAF representative. „The calculation is made according to economic criteria and displays the relative prices and carbon emissions.“

The e-Mission Project’s second task is convincing producers to use these tools. A month after VAF greenlighted production support for six narrative features films, Dumon invited the producers to a workshop to discuss practical measures and problems that come with sustainable production „I was afraid of a negative reception but it turned out that the atmosphere was supportive“, states Dumon. „I think it has to do with the global attention green production has received. But lot of ecologic choices are also interesting from an economic point of view.“

Besides raising awareness of green production, VAF is asking the producers to deliver a carbon footprint of their productions in order to receive the final instalment for production funding that amounts from € 47.500 to € 65.000.„This is a very important incentive”, Dumon assures us.

Meanwhile, six films have been analyzed by the e-Mission Project, among themThe Broken Circle Breakdown, which won numerous awards: the Lux prize; five European Film Award nominations; the Panorama Audience Award; and it is nominated for the Foreign Language Oscar. „The Broken Circle Breakdown is also the film with the lowest carbon emissions“, noted Dumon. „So far, our e-Mission Project is a success story.“