Stay grounded

In 2019, the signposts for film and TV production in Germany are all pointing to green. The efforts made by Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein (FFHSH), which began in 2012 with the creation of the Green Shooting Card as the first eco label for green film production in Europe, are coming to fruition. Meanwhile, not only film funds but also some broadcasters are planning green strategies. At WDR, a working group from the Broadcast Development Committee is analyzing the way work is being done as well as production processes in order to enhance eco-friendly aspects, such as the reduction of carbon emissions, environmen- tal protection, and energy-saving measures. After producing its first sustainable series and shows, Sky, as a production partner of the successful Babylon Berlin series, persuaded the other partners to go green in Season 3.


“Green production keeps gradually gaining ground”, says Christiane Dopp, who initiated the eco label at the Hamburg Film Commission in 2012. “We’re working with other institutions on a Green Shooting Card so that it can be awarded throughout Germany in the future.” Among the approximately 140 productions bearing a green label is the Berlinale competition film Systemsprenger by Nora Fingscheidt, for which Kineo Filmproduktion and Weydemann Bros. followed best practices. “On a low-budget picture, it’s also possible to save resources and work cost-effectively”, says the producer Jonas Weydemann.


Another Golden Bear contender from Hamburg is Fatih Akin’s horror movie, The Golden Glove. During the shoot, half of the crew biked to the set. For the production design, set designer Tamo Kunz used only second-hand furniture that was either sold or stored in the company’s own prop department after the production wrapped.


Sustainable production design was also integral to Tamtam Film’s Tagundnachtgleiche, which was shot in Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, and Hamburg. By creating four sets at one location, Production Designer Christian Strang followed a green approach: locally-sourced lumber, screws instead of nails, avoidance of environment hazardous paints and varnishes, recycling materials after wrapping production as well as making short transportation hauls. This feature film was the debut effort of Director Lena Knauss, an alumna of the Hamburg Media School (HMS). “It’s paying off because we’ve been intro- ducing film students to sustainable production ever since 2013”, says Dopp. “Meanwhile,this educational model has been adapted by other European countries.”


In order to produce films more sustainably, the technical infrastructure has to include
environmentally-friendly equipment, which in turn must be driven by demand. Film funds and broadcasters can set the course for green initiatives with incentives, restrictions, and awards. Apart from the director and producer, it’s crucial for any production to have the actors support green shooting efforts. The Hamburg-based Director Lars Jessen, who is always straight-forward in implementing green measures, wants to bring talent agencies on board, too.


“It’s my goal to convince actors, especially stars, to join us in this effort”, Jessen says. “A great model is the Swedish initiative called ‘Flygskam’. Swedish celebrities are now avoiding taking planes because they pollute the environment”. This new Swedish word means “shame of flying”, and it was chosen as word of the year in 2018.


Photos: © Tamtam/Eva Katharina Bühler, Bombero/Warner/ Boris Laewen

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