While the 79th Venice Film Festival recommended the visitors to drink tap water in order to cut plastic waste, the protagonists on the screen of Paolo Virzì’s new film Drought didn’t have a choice. Starring Silvio Orlando, Valerio Mastandrea and Monica Bellucci, the film with tells of a Rome in the grip of a long drought that ends up upsetting its rules and habits.
This apocalyptic scenario describes ironically how the social conflicts are exploding when there is no water in the city of Rome for many years. “This is where we heading, this is what we are doing”, Paolo Virzì pointed out in regards to climate change and social predicaments of the last few years. In regards to the water shortages in Italy this summer, the film came at the right time. His dark dystopia Drought, which was presented out of competition at the 79th Venice Film Festival, received the Green Drop Award in Venice.
But the film industry is also taking some actions behind the camera to fight climate change. “Sustainable Screens 2022 Environmental Observatory on Cinema” was a topic the Venice Production Bridge, hosted by Green Cross in collaboration with ENEA, ANEC and Sardinia Film Commission Foundation. In Italy it was the Sardinia Film Commission which introduced sustainability to the film industry in Italy. Meanwhile various other regions followed such as the Trentino Film Commission with the Green Film checklist, and the Turino Film Commission. In Venice it was discussed how the different approaches can be implemented in a common system.
Furthermore, the increasing energy bills are a challenge for the film industry. In the movie theaters in Italy, most of the energy consumption is caused by heat, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Simone Gialdini, President of the Italian Cinema Association ANEC reported that the exhibitors received 100 million euro support from a state aid program.
Sustainable management of energy is one task that the Sardinia Film Commission is teaching film teams when they are shooting on the island. At the 79th Venice Film Festival, the Sardinia Film Commission celebrated its 10th anniversary with various filmmakers. The producer Massimo Casula who founded the production company Zena Film in Cagliari adapted the green protocol for all his feature films, shorts and stop motion films.
The feature film Bentu by Italian filmmaker Salvatore Mereu was presented in the independent program Giornate degli Autori in Venice. The drama is set at an old farm, where the wind and weather are dictating the rhythm. The DOP Francesco Piras shot the film on the ARRI Alexa and didn’t even use any lights for the interior scenes so that no generator was needed on set.
Set in Sardinia in the 19th century is the story of Il Muto di Gallura by Matteo Fresi, which is based on a true event. A deaf-mute desperado falls in love with a daughter of a shepherd, which caused bloody conflicts and seventy dead people. The historical film was mainly shot in Sardinia.
“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.