Sustainability and cinema in Venice

A series of sustainability events took place at the 76th edition of the Venice International Film Festival.  The independent festival sidebar Venice Days presented the world premiere of the documentary The Great Green Wall which follows activists that are planting 8,000 kilometers  of trees and vegetation across the Sahel. A part of the ambitious Great Green Wall is growing right now in Africa to tackle climate change. Executive produced by Fernando Meirelles, the Oscar-nominated director of City of God and The Constant Gardener, the film will be shown at the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York on September 23.


Sustainability in Action was the subject of a think tank that the Sardegna Film Commission hosted in collaboration with Connect for Climate, Green Cross Italy, Green Film Shooting, Italian Film Commissions and ANICA. “For many years we have been engaging in a serious transformation policy”, says Nevina Satta, CEO, Sardegna Film Commission. “The regional film funds can really impact the improvement and the new conditions for the audiovisual industry to improve the quality of our communities lives. As a public institution, we have a mission. We believe, that each institution, production company, each individual and active citizen is part of this mosaic that is – as Greta Thunberg put it – on fire. “


The Green Drop Award that is given out every year for the environmental strategy of films at the Venice Film Festival. This year, the green trophy was fiven to the Venice Competition film J’accuse by Roman Polanski. Because the director could not come to Venice, the award was handed over to Terry Gilliam. The Green Drop Award is the Italian subsidiary of the Global Green Awards, which were established in 1996 by President Gorbachev to reconnect humanity to the environment and to celebrate sustainable leadership.


Meanwhile the Film4Climate initiative is works on projects to reduce the environmental impact of film production and is raising awareness about climate change through cinema. “Messages woven into engrossing stories on the big screen have the power to change minds and hearts”, says Giulia Camilla Braga, Program Manager – Connect4Climate. Their activities include the Uniting4Climate global VR pitch competition. The virtual reality experience winner X-Ray Fashion was presented at the Venice VR event in 2018. X-Ray Fashion explores the darker side of the industry in an immersive, multisensory installation uncovering the environmental threats caused by the garment production process.


The impact of film production on the environment was explained by Birgit Heidsiek, Founder of Green Film Shooting, who pointed out which actions productions can take in order to run a production more sustainable. While a film production starts with a script and have to plan carefully over a course of a few months the management of the shooting days until production wraps, cinemas are more sustainable because all investments that are made in the building have a permanent impact.


Sustainable Screens was the subjects of a conference at the Italian Pavilion in the Hotel Excelsior . Hosted by the Sardegna Film Commission hosted in collaboration with Green Cross Italy and Green Film Shooting, the event brought together representatives from energy agencies such as the Gestore Servzi, Ordinedegli Ingegneri di Cagliari with the Associazione Nazionale Esercenti Multiplex. The various actions that can be taken to operate cinemas more environmental-friendly were pointed out by Birgit Heidsiek, Author of The Green Cinema Handbook, which is published by the Federal Film Fund (FFA) in Germany. The Green Cinema Handbook provides an overview of practical solutions to meet existing requirements. One purpose of The Green Cinema handbook is to encourage exhibitors to exchange their experiences in actions they have taken in the fields of energy efficiency, renewables, concession and waste manage-ment. Successful solutions and tried-and-true approaches for a more sustainable operation of cinemas are presented in over fifty best practice examples.


In wide sections of the population is already a growing awareness that it is urgent to act against climate change. At the end of the Venice Film Festival, hundreds of climate activists entered the red carpet in front of the Palazzo del Cinema Venice Film Festival and rolled out their banners. Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland who star in the closing night film The Burnt Orange Heresy were supporting the activists. "I’m glad they are doing that. Because they are the ones that are going to inherit the planet," Jagger was quoted. The organization The Venice Climate Camp had a clear message: “The earth is burning. The time has come to mobilize, to take serious measures, to ensure social and climate justice."




Photos: © GFS/ La Biennale di Venezia; Video: Global News

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