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“A producer’s biggest fear is having to bear additional costs, but this is often not justified”

Industry Report: Green Industry Initiatives and Sustainability

Luca Ferrario • Director, Trentino Film Commission

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At Tallinn, we met up with the Italian professional to talk through the initial results achieved by Green Film, and how the tool plans to expand its reach and impact

Luca Ferrario • Director, Trentino Film Commission

On 24 November, Industry@Tallinn hosted a one-day event called “Capacity Building Seminar: Sustainability in the Audiovisual Industry”. A strong line-up of European speakers presented the progress they had made and their innovative ideas to facilitate the creation of a greener and more sustainable film and media sector. In Estonia, we caught up with Luca Ferrario, director of the Trentino Film Commission, to discuss the latest developments in Green Film, a tool that encourages producers to reduce their environmental impact by obtaining a certification. In fact, Green Film has already been adopted and supported by a number of European regional and national funds. During his presentation prior to the interview, Ferrario touched upon the recent guidelines for documentary making (published in June in co-operation with Doc/it); the data collection process (mentioned below as the “Research Lab”), the results of which will be published next year and backed by Italy’s Ministry of Culture; and Green Film’s participation in the Green Film Lab, a workshop backed by Creative Europe, and run in co-operation with the TorinoFilmLab and EAVE (with the next one set to take place in Reykjavík from 7-9 December).

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Cineuropa: First of all, how does Green Film work? Who are its end users?
Luca Ferrario: Green Film aims to provide producers with clear instructions on the actions they need to take to change working practices while in production. It’s an inclusive, user-friendly tool that aims to involve as many European producers as possible, making co-productions environmentally sustainable. It’s based on universal sustainability criteria linked to well-defined areas of focus: energy saving, accommodation, transportation, catering, materials, waste disposal and communication. […] It’s also made available to bodies and institutions such as film funds, film commissions, broadcasters and other players who might want to use Green Film as a tool to encourage producers to work in a more sustainable fashion.

Could you tell us about some recent productions that have implemented Green Film? What about the benefits and the results achieved?
Among Italy’s latest releases, Green Film-certified productions are the Manetti BrosDiabolik 2 [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Stefano Cipani’s Gym Class [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
and Cinzia Bomoli’s La California [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
. Meanwhile, Denmark has seen its first Green Film-certified edition of Vild med dans (Dancing with the Stars). The number of producers choosing this tool to reduce their impact is on the rise, and this growth is also driven by the introduction of specific incentives by both national and regional funds. Once they’re in [the system], they don’t really leave it. We’re experiencing a gradual change of mindset, and at the end of our Research Lab, we’ll be able to quantify the benefits, including those related to CO2 emissions.

How are you collaborating with other European projects pursuing similar goals?
A harmonisation of the different European projects is in the works, with Eurimages and Creative Europe managing workgroups for this purpose, and Green Film is taking part in them. The recognition we’ve received from Italian Film Commissions, Cineregio and ISPRA, however, gives us great “solidity”.

What are the major challenges you are facing when it comes to the scheme’s implementation and making the industry more aware?
The main challenge is probably the very limited number of reliable suppliers offering low-impact solutions. A producer’s biggest fear is having to bear additional costs, but this is often not justified. Even though one may need to spend more compared to a traditional production approach, in many other areas, you can save in terms of both environmental impact and budget. We’ve also realised it’s very important to create awareness around the role of the green manager, a sustainability expert who is in charge of defining the production’s sustainability strategies. The sooner they are involved during the development and pre-production phase, the better it is for producers if they want to cut costs and protect the environment.

What about your long-term vision?
Our next steps are to define the guidelines to implement within the animation sector and to present the results of our Research Lab. In future, we’d like to include some guidelines covering the whole production process, from development to distribution, as for the time being, they only focus on reducing the impact of shooting. We’d like to expand Green Film’s impact on other aspects of sustainability – such as economic and social sustainability. We’ve already kicked off an international workgroup, made up of bodies partnering with Green Film, producers and green managers, which is aiming to implement our guidelines on a two-year basis.

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