Turning the Industry GREEN: Can an old dog learn new tricks?

August 12, 2014

Sustainability panel discussion at the Edinburgh International Film FestivalAt the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2014, a panel chaired by Harry Giles, the Environmental Officer for Edinburgh Festivals, discussed action on sustainability and scope for influencing a change in the sector. Also on the panel were Allison Gardener, Head of Cinemas at Glasgow Film Theatre and Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director, Tiernan Kelly, Director of Film City Glasgow, and Clare Kerr, Freelance Producer and Line Producer. The discussion covered sustainability challenges in production and venue management through sharing experiences, how to encourage buy-in to sustainable practices and some additional benefits of adopting these changes.

Leading on sustainability at the Glasgow Film Theatre, Allison Gardner said she started with simple initiatives such as recycling, putting ‘hippos’ in toilet cisterns to reduce their water consumption and installing low energy lighting while also putting in place procedures to support local businesses as suppliers to the cinema. Meanwhile Film City had incentivised its tenants by setting out an alternative between engaging in basic sustainability practices such as recycling and paying a climate change levy on energy bills. Impressively, the savings made from recycling rather than sending waste to landfill and by making their venue more energy efficient have been reinvested into their community by match funding a youth film education programme.

Clare Kerr highlighted that filming on location compounded by the short timescales available for clear up does make it challenging to find sustainable ways of recycling art department materials and coping with the waste produced by the production. Clare has initially focused on working to change crew understanding and behaviour with regard to sustainability, and addressing waste generated from plastic water bottles. She noted that a common barrier to engagement was that there tended to be a misperception of energy saving initiatives as a measure solely to reduce production costs, rather than supporting a move towards sustainable responsibility.

The panel and audience agreed that it was currently a challenge to support sustainable practices in film and television production without having existing services in place to facilitate ‘pop up’ production. It was also noted that a key sustainability issue for film festivals was the need for air travel both to attend international festivals for programming and for bringing talent to the festival itself. The discussion did however end on a positive note, acknowledging that through discussion, sharing of information about resources and like minded individuals leading change, that there would continue to be progress in embedding sustainable practices in the sector.EIFF logo2





E-Guide supports eco-friendly filming practice

July 21, 2014

It is worth taking a look at an E-Guide for sustainability in film and television production  recently published by The Knowledge, which includes interviews with sustainable practitioners from the industry, as well as tips on how to make your production more sustainable. Insight from Lynn McFarlane, Director of set recycling company Dresd , Marc Todd of hazardous waste disposable company Hazgreen and Jim Mann of specialist lighting company Lightwell, illustrate green solutions to on-set challenges.

From a wider industry perspective, Greenshoot’s Melanie Dicks outlines current steps to embed sustainability and deliver against the ‘three pillars’ – people, planet and profits, and highlights the need for sustained improvement across the sector. The guide also features in an interview with Aaron Mathews from BAFTA, who considers lessons from recent successes including Springwatch and From There to Here, both productions of course using the Albert carbon calculator and among the first to be awarded the Albert+ accreditation. Matthews does however caution that there is still plenty of work to do, which lays down a challenge for the industry.

The Knowledge E-Guide coverThe guide also looks at what is happening from an international perspective to see what lessons can be learnt, not least from Emellie O’Brien, eco manager on The Amazing Spider-Man 2  lauded as one of Hollywood’s greenest film.  O’Brien produced a useful  cost benefit analysis  for US productions to illustrate the savings that can be made though adopting a sustainable approach.  It also signifies the engagement of the Hollywood studios with sustainability, with the  Producers Guild Green Initiative acting as a green film-making hub for US productions and providing sustainability tools that have been used on films including The Hobbit, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Social Network.


Cine-Regio releases ground-breaking sustainability report “Sustainability in Vision”

June 26, 2014

The “Sustainability in Vision” report launched at Cannes 2014, was commissioned by Green-Regio, Cine-Regio’s green production sub-group.  It explores green production practice across the European Regions, and signals that the European regional film and audio visual industry has recognised the need to engage responsibility with the impact of production on the environment. Coupled with increasing interest from actors and production talent in sustainability, it indicates that the industry is rapidly moving towards a more sustainable way of working.

Initiated by Jo Nolan, Managing Director of Screen South and Chair of Green-Regio, the report is authored by Melanie Dicks from UK consultancy Greenshoot in partnership with a group of leading European Regional Film Funders. It presents eight case studies from across the European Regions including Ffilm Cymru Wales in partnership with Rainy Days’ film “Another Me” and the PACA region’s partnership work on the TV series “Miniscule”, and has been delivered in partnership with eight leading European Film Funders. The case studies examine a variety of aspects of green production including; feature films, television series, studio facilities, training programmes and regional initiatives which embed the green agenda across production practice.

“Sustainability in Vision” highlights that it is crucial to benchmark carbon outputs, to keep it simple as the best way to achieve impact, and to engage and educate the next generation. It notes that the contributing Regional Film Agencies agree on the need to take a unified approach that should be producer led, and that there is a common need in seeking effective delivery on the ground which could leverage significant change if strategic and practical support elements are in place.

Across Europe it is becoming necessary to show responsibility for compliance and to support and prepare producers for future liabilities both in terms of carbon foot print and environReport launch in Cannesmental risk and production impacts on waste and environmental risk. The “Sustainability in Vision” report takes a significant joined up first step in that direction.

For further information and to download a full copy of report please visit the Screen South website.


(opposite) Launch of report at Cannes  left to right:  Birgit Heidsiek, Christiane Scholz, Mikael Svensson, Noël Magis, Melanie Dicks, Charlotte Appelgren, and Jo Nolan

Photographer Simon Saunders


Green Film Making at Cannes 2014

May 29, 2014

Chai Locher and Wiendelt Hooijer, Project Leaders for the Green Film Making Project led a presentation, Q&A session and discussion at the Dutch Pavilion in Cannes on 18 and 19 May. As you will see, Melanie Dicks from Greenshoot joined the debate and commented “It was wonderful to be part of the Green Film Making Project and workshop in Cannes – support for international greener film practices is growing”.

Useful tools highlighted included an online production management app dramatify which provides logistic support for production teams and claims to “save time, effort and a whole lot of trees” by centralising production  information and eliminating the need to print for example scripts and call sheets, and a recently launched app by post production company Filmmore, which enables more efficient management of rushes (Dalies) thereby streamlining  workflow and saving time, energy and budget in the process.

Meanwhile Green Film Making managed to hitch a ride with Sylvester Stallone at a press launch for  ‘Expendables 3’ by ensuring that one of their ‘I am a green film maker’  stickers appeared on a large army tank being driven through the streets of Cannes to promote the film. 

You can check out the footage featuring both Stallone and the sticker here:

For further information about the Green Film Making project please see


Getting greener with RE:FIT

May 7, 2014

The Greater London Authority is hosting an event with RE:FIT on 15 May,  for building based organisations in the cultural and heritage sectors seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and operating costs.

Keynote speaker Alex Beard, CEO of the Royal Opera House, spearheaded the environmental sustainability programme at Tate Modern, embedding sustainability across all aspects of the operation, saving over 2,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, enough to fill the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern 15 times; and reducing costs by £350,000.

The event will also share information about the Mayor of London’s award-winning RE:FIT programme and how it is supporting London’s public sector to improve energy performance of their buildings, reduce energy bills and carbon foot prints.

PrintVenue: The London Living Room in City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA

When: Thursday 15 May, 10 30 – 12.30 (registration starts at 10am)

For futher information contact





A recent study estimated that screen production (film and TV) in London alone produces 125,000 tonnes of CO2 each year.


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