A prize for sustainable film production

For the first time, the international Eisvogel – Prize for Sustainable Production prize was given out at the Federal Ministry for the Environment in Berlin, Germany. Worth of 20,000 euro, eco-friendly produced film and TV productions, series, as well as student films from all across the world participated in the competition. The Eisvogel prize was awarded to the German green consultant Roman Russo who advised the team members of the Unafilm production Tatort Dortmund – Gier und Angst in any department of the production to save energy and resources.


Further films that have been chosen by the preselection committee included documentary Les Incorrectes about the first female international top athlethes for which the interviews were done remotely with local teams on site so that no flights had to be taken. The carbon footprint was reduced from twelve to 2.8 tons carbon emissions. Because no flights were taken, the production also saved 15,000 euros. For the production of the docu series SaFahri – Eine Reise zu den Elementen which was filmed at 28 shooting days at 33 locations, there were hardly no lights used.


Another Eisvogel candidate was the literacy film adaptation Die stillen Trabanten.
Produced by Sommerhaus Filmproduktion the team found eco-friendly solutions for set design. For the TV film Die Luft, die wir atmen the cistern of a local farmer as well as silicic acid was used to produce snowflakes. For the French production Tempête set designers used a mobile solution for cleaning tools that operates in a one-hundred percent closed circuit. It works without consuming water or discharging effluents contaminated by micropollutants. Furthermore, the film student Fabian Gataavizadeh qualified for the Eisvogel nomination with his film Alles Perfekt as well as Alina Podschun for Metanoia.


The production of Tatort Dortmund – Gier und Angst took several eco-friendly measures. Due to the energy-saving camera and light concept there was no need to use a diesel generator. While the TV crime series was shot with Sony’s FX6 that allows to comfortably shoot in very low light environments, the night shots were lit up with ARRI’s innovative LED lighting system Orbiter which can easily be converted from a softlight to spotlight. Instead of renting diesel trucks for the transportation of the equipment, the production used a 7.2-ton truck with a CNG-powered engine (Compressed Natural Gas) so that the heavy equipment could be transported almost emission-free.


“We also had a solution to avoid any food waste on set”, says Roman Russo. “Every team member received a lunch box and could take the left-over in the evening.” When principal photography began every cast and crew member received a water bottle and a lunch box as a welcome gift. Due to the various measures the production saved about 50 tons of carbon emissions.


The Eisvogel – Prize for Sustainable Production competition was launched by the Federal Ministry for the Environment in Germany and the Heinz Sielmann Stiftung in cooperation with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media and the Producer’s Alliance. “Sustainable media production is an important topic since several years”, says Steffi Lemke, Federal Ministry for the Environment. “The film industry can reduce its carbon footprint by using innovative and resource-saving production measures by about forty percent.”


Among the production companies which submitted their films to the Eisvogel competition were also some student films. For the next Eisvogel competition there will be a green newcomer award. The event will take place during the 2023 International Berlin Film Festival. The call for submissions will be launched in the fall 2022.


Photos: © GFS, Roman Russo

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