Sony Pictures is celebrating a decade of environmental innovation at its Screen Gems film label. This commitment began in 2006 when the label built a semi-permanent set superstructure on Stage 23 of the Sony Pictures Studio Lot. This structure was used on seven feature films, and eliminated the need to build a new frame for each feature’s set. As a result, each production used fewer materials and spent less on set building costs. Screen Gems continues to pioneer new ways to film more sustainably and with less impact on the environment.
During the filming of the hit film Think Like a Man, Screen Gems became the first production to use only LED and energy efficient light-bulbs on set. While shooting About Last Night, Screen Gems continued its focus on reducing the energy consumption of its productions by not using set generators. Thanks to the use of LED lighting and the Sony F65 digital motion picture camera, which captures high quality picture in low light, the production was able to use the existing power grid in place of set generators. As Screen Gems enters its second decade of eco-friendly moviemaking, it continues to drive innovations that both lower environment impact and contribute to the cost efficiency of production budgets.
As part of its ongoing effort to empower its employees to be sustainable both at work and at home, Sony Pictures recently installed 60 220V electric vehicle charging stations around its Culver City lot and offices, the largest installation project of any workplace in Southern California. This benefit complements the financial incentives the studio has offered since 2008 to employees who choose to purchase a qualifying hybrid, plug-in hybrid electric or electric vehicle.
Sony Pictures’ Columbia and Screen Gems film labels require each of their features to complete a legacy project, typically planting one tree for every day of shooting. For example, Columbia’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was filmed on location in East River Park in New York City. The studio helped restore benches and plant trees that had been devastated by Superstorm Sandy and also donated an additional 50 trees to East River Park after the film wrapped.
According to the sustainability report of Eco-Supervisor Emellie O’Brien, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 saved 5% of its total waste hauling expenses, or $4,732 through its recycling and composting efforts. Additionally, 49.7 tons worth of construction and set decoration materials were sold to other shows or donated to non-profits at wrap. With one ton dumpsters costing an average of $950 each, that’s a whopping savings of $47,215.
Further Sony Pictures productions that were produced in a sustainable way include David Koepp’s action thriller Premium Rush with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as bicycle messenger in New York City. The executive producer was Mari Jo Winkler, one of the pioneers of the green production movement with her sustainability efforts on films such as Away We Go by Sam Mendes.
Sony Pictures Entertainment Studio Lot is certified under ISO-14000, which is the environmental management standard defined by the International Organization for Standardization. The ISO 14000 help organizations (a) minimize how their operations (processes, etc.) negatively affect the environment; (b) comply with applicable laws, regulations, and other environmentally oriented requirements, and (c) have system for continuous improvement. Sony Pictures Entertainment is expanding the Environmental Management System to global corporate facilities and regional offices with four certified sites worldwide. The scope will cover all activities associated with SPE’s operations, facility structure, property, products, and their potential impact on the environment.
“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.