Reducing film productions’ environmental impact is key for the future of Europe’s audiovisual sector, say experts
- The “Boosting sustainable film through international collaboration” conference was co-organised by the European Audiovisual Observatory and the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
On 9 June, the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) and the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have hosted a conference entitled “Boosting sustainable film through international collaboration.” The aim of the event was to promote international collaboration and identify the main actions to achieve sustainability in Europe’s audiovisual sector.
After a brief introduction from chair of the BAFTA albert Directorate Tricia Duffy and opening remarks by Amit Thapar (head of Film and High-End TV Policy, DCMS) and Susanne Nikoltchev (EAO’s executive director), the floor was given to Harriet Finney, BFI’s deputy CEO and executive director of Corporate and Industry Affairs. Her contribution focused on two key reports delving into the British screen sector’s approach to sustainability. The first document, “Green Matters,” explains “where we are now,” whilst the second, “Screen New Deal,” tells “where we need to be.” “Green Matters” indicates that the main barriers for change are the perceptions about the additional time and costs involved, a tendency to stick to tried-and-tested production methods, a general lack of awareness and the limited presence of green infrastructure and supply chain options. Among other solutions, the two documents propose to fast-track the carbon footprint across the productions of all sizes, to enhance digital collaboration (for example by using more cloud-based platforms for the crews’ work), to implement an end of life planning “right from the very beginning” and to encourage studios to drive these industry changes. Moreover, BAFTA albert’s director Carys Taylor stressed the organisation’s mission to “enable the industry to actively eliminate carbon emissions” and “empower it to create inspiring content”.
Next, a video presentation by EAO’s head of Department for Legal Information Maja Cappello explained that, unlike other industries, the audiovisual sector’s emissions are on the rise owing to the constant increase in media consumption driven by streaming platforms. In his contribution, EAO’s head of Department for Market Information Gilles Fontaine identified six areas for the implementation of sustainable production policies, namely policy and strategy development (through preparatory research and to be applied at national, international and internal levels); the creation of guidelines and standards to achieve sustainability; the adaptation of public funding schemes (for example, by awarding extra points to “green productions”); the development of practical tools (e.g. carbon calculators, checklists, consulting services); raising awareness through training and initiatives for both industry and the audience; and the development of tools to measure the impact of the implemented solutions.
A speedy conversation among practitioners followed, seeing the participation of Pippa Harris from Neal Street Productions, Sony Entertainment’s head of Sustainability John Rego and VAF’s sustainability manager Tim Wagendorp.
In the next session, focusing on harmonising measurements and certifications, Luz Molina talked through EURECA, a common EU tool aimed at measuring audiovisual productions’ carbon footprint with a strong focus on using quantitative insights to raise awareness and understanding of the environmental impact. The tool is being developed by three partners, namely Promalaga, the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and VAF with databases provided by France’s Workflowers and the Catholic University of Leuven. Right after, Dietlind Rott spoke about Evergreen Prisma, a digital platform that incentivises green education (developed by the Lower Austrian Film Commission) featuring, among other things, checklists and labels for all the set’s departments, a detailed discussion guide, best practices, relevant news items and webinars. Later, Trentino Film Commission’s Luca Ferrario explained the importance of Green Film, a rating and certification system for producers and institutions. In summary, this is how it works: before filming, producers hire a green manager who drafts a sustainability plan, and they choose a verifying body that will audit the project. Then, the auditors will visit the sets and perform checks on their paperwork during post-production. A clean audit will allow producers to obtain the certification.
The conference was rounded off by a policy makers panel on international cooperation, moderated by Film London’s CEO Adrian Wootton. The final discussion saw the presence of Cineregio’s Charlotte Appelgren, Senior EU Policy Officer Erard Gilles, founder of Morena Films Alvaro Longoria, EBU’s Hemini Mehta, EFAD secretary general Julie-Jeanne Régnault and EC’s head of the Unit, Audiovisual Industry and Media Support Programmes Lucia Recalde.
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