Environmental issues in film production

"If we decide to produce films in a sustainable way, our industry could go green within two years", said German writer/ director Lars Jessen at the panel discussion Environmental Issues in European Film Production with Pietari Kääpä, Professor, University of Warwick,  and Birgit Heidsiek, Publisher of Green Film Shooting. The event was part of the Lübeck Film Studies Colloquium which took place during the Nordic Film Days.


The German filmmaker is implementing green production practices whenever he is shooting a movie. Many measures such as car sharing, waste management or the use of energy efficient LED lights are even cost-efficient while a diesel generator is cheaper than installing a grid at a certain location. "It is a question of money", says Jessen who often has to deal with tight production budgets. In Germany, the TV station don’t demand any green actions yet and don’t give out any incentive for sustainable productions either.


If it comes to film funds, the situation is even more difficult. Due to the federal structure in Germany, the regional film funds are trying to attract productions in order to generate economics effects in their region. For every funding amount productions receive, they need to spend 150 percent. "This system is not sustainable at all",  Birgit Heidsiek pointed out. It leads to the result that producers are often traveling with their crew from one part of the country to the other because they need to spend the money in the region where they received some film support. The productions are forced to a funding tourism which requires a lot of time, energy and additional costs which could be avoided. Furthermore, it is not very environmental-friendly because most of the carbon emissions in film production are generated by transport and energy.

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