British filmmaker, futurist, and media technology author Maxim Jago is working on the first sustainably produced Virtual Reality project, Jolie‘s Garden, which is about an eighteen-year-old girl who has lived her entire life in an artificial underground garden.
„Jolie‘s Garden is a beautiful psychological thriller“, says Writer/Director Jago who adapted the story from a stage play written by his late father, Malcolm Hobbins. „There are two secrets that Jolie must never learn“, says the filmmaker, who has already directed a variety of short films, including the award-winning drama Strong Heart. „The entire garden is artificial: the grass is plastic, the roses velvet, and the waterfall is pieces of glass bonded together. Jolie is blind, but she doesn’t know it. No one has ever told her that people can see. Jolie is happy but she has no idea that she‘s a prisoner.“
One day, a young man stumbles upon the garden. When Jolie‘s father discovers his presence, he has to decide whether to imprison the young man or to kill him. „Every character in the story, except the girl, is at least a little insane“, emphasizes Jago, who actually showed the script to a psychiatrist in New York. „She said every character‘s psychosis was consistent.“
As a one-room film, Jolie‘s Garden will be shot with five characters in a single location. „We don‘t have to move anyone anywhere. The story takes place in real time. There are few costume changes. And no explosions“, says the filmmaker, who will follow best practices during production, which will result in time as well as energy efficiency. Instead of using numerous lights that need to be re-adjusted for each shot, the production will utilize a fixed lighting rig. „The lighting rig is part of the story. And it‘s part of the background of the father who created the garden“, explains Jago. „The environment itself is the sixth character.“
The gigantic garden has seven zones, and each offers a different environment: entwined jungle; underwater seascapes with deep sea fauna; Iceland’s black sand and luminous yellow reeds. Set design and sound design unite to shape the story’s mood and atmosphere. „The sounds of bees and birds come from miniature underground speakers. They don‘t exist but you can hear them.“
Jolie‘s Garden will be shoot in 4K for theatrical release as well as a 360° video for VR headsets. „Now reality itself is our medium. Our relationship as living beings to reality is tenuous. We really don‘t understand the difference between experience, memory, imagination or dream“, stresses Jago, who doesn‘t believe that human consciousness really understands time or space. „Dream is reality for human consciousness, without the physics. You can jump to anywhere you want, you can move forwards or backwards in time and you never notice when you‘re dreaming. I call this The thread of consciousness. My idea is that when you dream, you are led by your curiosity. As filmmakers, we‘re privileged to be able to create audience curiosity. We control what the audience is going to see next“, sums up the director. „And with a virtual reality headset, you‘ll be able to look in any direction.“
In this case, the world is a beautiful green garden. It‘s a perfect illusion but the green production will be real.
“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.