In Italy, the home of slow food, a growing number of producers is realizing the benefits of green film production. Seeding sustainability has just gotten a boost from a deal that the Italian Film Commissions Association sealed with the energy provider Edison in fall 2015. The Sardinia, Torino-Piemonte, and Trentino regions are “beta testing” Edison’s Green Movie Protocol for an entire year by matching its application to local needs.
“We’re choosing production companies that intend to go green, and we’re going to train them locally”, says Nevina Satta, CEO of the Sardegna Film Commission and Vice President of Italian Film Commissions. Developed in partnership with Edison’s Gianluca Della Campa, the initiative provides training for the crew and it ensures that the first steps of the production are well planned. The Office of Film Commissions monitors green actions throughout the production.
The Sardegna Film Commission has already got green experience under its belt thanks to its Heroes 2020 Project, which supports films that treat sustainability issues and that follow green production guidelines. This fund backed thirteen web series pilots as well as more than twenty short films. “The start-up companies are turning into green production specialists”, emphasizes Nevina Satta, who has locked incentives for TV and Film Green shootings in Sardinia. “Our local heroes are trendsetters. Now, even the festival organizers want Green labels for their events.”
Meanwhile, Trentino is going to offer financial bonuses to producers who go green. “We’re working on incentives”, reports Luca Ferrario from Trentino Film Commission and we’re developing tools, such as lists of green hotels and restaurants, that will help producers work more sustainably.” In Trentino, the Tourism Agency certifies restaurants and hotels with eco-labels provided that they serve locally produced bio-products and use non-toxic materials.
The first movie to be produced sustainably in Trentino is Resina, by writer / director Renzo Carbonera, who received script support from Trentino Film Commission. This is a story about a young musician who assumes the responsibility of conducting a male choir that’s on the verge of extinction.
Some green guidelines are also being implemented in Torino-Piemonte. When Ivano De Matteo was shooting his feature film La vita possibile in fall 2015, the local energy company IREN provided the production with grids in order to avoid the use of generators. “IREN is really cooperative”, emphasizes Enrico De Lotto, who is in charge of production at the Film Commission Torino Piemonte. Eighty-five percent of the company’s total electricity consumption comes from eco-friendly sources. “We’re trying to improve our green performance at headquarters, which also serves as HQ for film productions.”
In addition, Torino Piemonte developed a protocol in partnership with the Municipality of Torino to establish a green network that unifies private and public institutions in the city. “Torino is a great test, one that all European Film Commissions must take: coordinating the issues of traffic; transportation, including bicycle and car sharing; existing buildings, as well as facilitating energy transmission to small spaces”, remarks Nevina Satta.
Sustainable behavior creates the best possible relationship with local communities because it results in their own land being respected, which, in turn, creates the best possible conditions for shooting a film, since we’ve already enlisted their support“, concludes the Sardegna Film Commission’s CEO. „A green protocol is also an excellent opportunity to find new investors, to become competitive with a marketing tool that has not yet been exploited to its full potential.”
“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.