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New Horizons 2021

Industry Report: Green Film Shooting

New Horizons Studio+ investigates ‘How to Green a Film Industry’

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A specialised open hybrid lecture was held by Fabian Lindner, green consultant for several broadcasters and film funds

New Horizons Studio+ investigates ‘How to Green a Film Industry’
Fabian Lindner during the online talk

On the final day of New Horizons Studio+, an open hybrid lecture was organised by the New Horizons Association in partnership with Creative Europe Desk Poland, on the topic “How to Green a Film Industry.” The head of industry Weronika Czołnowska introduced the speaker Fabian Lindner, green consultant for several broadcasters and film funds in terms of sustainability, as well as producer and co-head of Achtung Panda!

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Lindner offered a hands-on guide on how to approach green production and sustainability. He underlined that everything starts from writing the script, as it is easier to adapt and make changes before production. A green consultant will focus on the “Hot Spots” of a film (where the biggest CO2 emissions happen), with cars and traveling usually turning out to be the biggest. Some helpful tools are the calculators, such as the European Environmental Calculator (EURECA) which will be launched in December, or ALBERT which analyses all the productions done annually and calculates their CO2 impact. Some of the measures already taken to become sustainable are traveling by train rather than plane, hybrid cars, local location scouting, and focusing on regional distances.

Green consultants are calculating and estimating the carbon footprint of the production in its early stages. Most of those numbers are fictional but useful to take measures ahead of time. The CO2 calculation is a very basic one where you enter an amount of resource, the calculator multiplies it with the CO2 equivalent, and you get the estimated emissions. Once productions start, the available data are collected, for example the energy consumption on location, to try and verify the implementation of the measures. Finally, the consultant compares the first estimation with the actual calculation to evaluate whether the goals have been reached or if further steps are needed for the next production. In Germany, CO2 calculation is required for film funding, as well as a written report and evaluation of the measures after wrapping the shoot. The calculations now also expand beyond production, as Netflix has released their emissions data for their streaming services, so according to Lindner, this will also be something to take into account in the future for distribution, VOD, and cinemas.

In 2019 in Germany, public and private broadcasters, big production companies and the association of technological providers of the audiovisual industry created a research group to bring more talk about sustainability into the industry through cooperation and by releasing their own self-commitments. The first result is 100 Green Productions, which are trying to work as sustainably as possible based on a number of criteria to fulfil and evaluate after production, to see if the goal was reached. Among them are productions such as Babylon Berlin or smaller YouTube and Instagram series.

This year, a new federal film funding law has passed, adding two sections related to sustainability. Since January, each production must provide a CO2 calculation, and all productions need to take obligatory actions in order to reduce their carbon footprint. The exact criteria for the second part are not set and this will come to action by mid-2022. These are the results we got from the first self-commitments and the research group three years ago.

Regarding the European approach to sustainable production, Lindner mentioned that for his co-productions, they have already calculated and submitted their CO2 emission estimations and from the German side, this might not offer extra points to applications, but it actually becomes obligatory so the approach is different.

Marzena Cieślik, officer and programme manager of the MEDIA sub-programme at Creative Europe Desk Poland, explained the extra points for applications in terms of the Creative Europe programme. She emphasised the importance of sustainability as one of the priorities of the new edition of the programme, therefore this topic is not only relevant today, but will become even more so in the coming years.

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