No matter whether it’s Berlin, Vienna or Hollywood — glamourous film and media events are increasingly adapting sustainable approaches. This is about efficient use of energy, low-emission travel, sustainable procurement, and waste prevention. “Glamourous and sustainable at the same time — that’s not a contradiction”, declares Claudia Loewe, Managing Director of German Film Academy Production, who implements an environmentally-friendly event concept at the Lola Awards.
To reduce carbon emissions, the catering service did not serve meat dishes at the film gala in 2019. The Berlin Cuisine’s vegetarian and vegan menus not only cut carbon emissions by ten tons but these advanced food choices also generated headlines. There is no other issue filmmakers are as passionate about as the kind of food served on set or at a gala.
“The food industry is one of the biggest polluters of the environment, not only because we waste a lot of food but also because the over-production of animal products is a huge problem. It hurts nature enormously and it generates many greenhouse gases”, emphasizes the actress Lea van Acken. “The film industry, as a creative business, can also make an important contribution by minimizing its carbon footprint and by showing society that and how we want to live.”
Carnivores don’t have to pass up snacks at the German Film Awards because the Kreuzberg-based cult snack bar Curry 36 of- fers a vegan currywurst. “We still do too little for sustainability, and that includes me”, says German Film Academy President Ulrich Matthes. “It’s high time to take responsibility. This applies not only to the German Film Academy as an institution but also to each individual: What can I and should I do without in everyday life.”
The sustainability concept at the German Film Awards ranged from electric and hybrid vehicles for shuttle service and energy efficient lighting all the way to reusing decorative construction materials and upcycling the red carpet. The potted plants that were used at the event to green the photo wall were given away to guests. Thanks to these measures, the German Film Awards gala has already notched a great climate-friendly benchmark.
At the Golden Globe Awards in Hollywood, the stars were also served vegan dishes. “It was the first time I’ve ever eaten the food at this ceremony”, confesses Joaquin Phoenix, a confirmed vegan. The Joker star used his award speech to point out the dangerous health consequences of industrial meat production.
“We are coming to a point now where the evidence is irrefutable and undeniable. I think now consuming animal products is no longer just a personal choice. It is having a drastic and vast consequence on the rest of the world and all of us”, he sums up. “Sometimes we have to take that respon- sibility on ourselves and make changes and sacrifices in our own lives and hope that we can do that. We don’t have to take private jets to Palm Springs for the awards.”
“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.