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Industry Report: Green Film Shooting

Green Film Shooting: Sustainability Reloaded


Sustainable production can be cost-efficient, as filmmakers and producers pointed out at Green Film Shooting's third Green Production Panel at the Berlinale

Green Film Shooting: Sustainability Reloaded

(l-r) German filmmaker Carl Fechner, British filmmaker/futurist Maxim Jago, New York-based producer Lydia Dean Pilcher, Green Film Shooting publisher Birgit Heidsiek, Ecoprod consultant Joanna Gallardo, Trentino Fim Commission Manager Luca Ferrario, Bavaria Film CTO Thorsten Hoppe, Hamburg Film Commissioner Christiane Dopp, MFG member Robert Lanig (© Bildschön)

Green production isn’t necessarily more expensive but can even save money, as various producers and filmmakers pointed at the third Green Production Panel "Sustainability Reloaded", which Green Film Shooting hosted in partnership with Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein and the MFG Baden-Württemberg at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.

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"When we shot Queen of Katwe in Uganda and Johannesburg, we saved 37,000 water bottles, which translated into $17,000 in savings," said Lydia Dean Pilcher, PGA Greenmember and producer of the Disney feature Queen of Katwe by Mira Nair. "One of the things we producers in the US always get hit with is that it costs too much money to go green because it requires us to pay for disposable items and to hire an eco supervisor." But according to the cost-benefit analysis ( by New York-based eco supervisor Emillie O'Brien, going green can actually be a cost benefit. "If anybody thinks it is not the right thing to do, it is at least profitable to do," emphasised Pilcher.

Italian writer-director Renzo Carbonera shot his first feature film, Resina, in an environmentally friendly way in Trentino in the summer of 2016. The filmmaker decided to go green even before the Trentino Film Commission launched the T-Green Film Rating system that provides financial support for sustainable film productions. "In our case, it was an economic advantage as well as a way to create a connection with the local people from the small village. They were all happy to work with us and to follow our green protocol," said Carbonera.

For award-winning German director-producer Carl A Fechner (Power to Change), who has been producing all of his films in a sustainable way for the last two decades, it is more a question of conviction than one of money. "It is not necessary for a film fund to provide productions with any kind of incentive to go green, because we don’t need any additional money for a green production," underlined Fechner. "You have to decide if you want to go green or if you don’t want to. It is as simple as that."

"During each second, at every moment, we have the possibility to make a decision. Where we used plastic bottles in the past, now we can use cups that are made of bamboo or some other kind of material," said British filmmaker Maxim Jago (Theft Unexpected), who is preparing the first sustainably produced VR film. "At every moment, we are free to decide that we are not going to destroy the environment. By having a relationship with the environment, we become aware. And through awareness, we change!"

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