EFM tackles carbon calculators, green production and training

– BERLINALE 2022: On the festival’s online marketplace, several industry events tackled the issue of climate change

The panelists

The need for the audiovisual industry to act to reduce its environmental impact is a subject that is becoming increasingly crucial for film professionals since some film funds are already asking film productions to disclose their carbon footprint. “Climate change is the most important challenge of our time,” said Lucie Recalde, head of unit at Creative Europe – MEDIA. “And it is very well recognized that film and television in particular can and should make a significant contribution.” One of the objectives of the European Commission’s media and audiovisual action plan is to work towards a climate-neutral audiovisual sector.

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Following the motto “You are what you measure”, film organizations, broadcasters and film commissions in various countries and regions have developed different carbon calculators for film productions. However, it appears that the carbon footprint of a film production differs according to the carbon calculator that has been used. A European group of industry experts has therefore developed a carbon calculator, called EURECA. But this will not become a standard solution. “We don’t want to replace what already exists”, stressed Recalde during the session of the European Film Forum “Towards a climate-neutral audiovisual sector”.

The aim is to create a common measurement methodology that can be integrated into existing calculators. The tool should be easy to use and provide comparable data on travel, transportation, accommodation, set construction and catering for a film production. “The most important thing is to raise awareness,” said Tomasz Morawski, producer at Haka Films in Poland. “Measurement can help, but real change starts in our heads. We have to tell the crews that we want to reuse, renovate and renew the materials.

For the first time, green film production was also a topic at the annual member event of the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA). “EWA members, mostly female producers and filmmakers, were eager to learn more about sustainability in our industry and how to get rating in production so that the creation of audiovisual works can be more efficient and environmentally friendly,” stressed Alexia Muinos Ruiz, Director of Programs of the EWA Network. “Getting to know about Green Film Shooting and other resources for contacting experts is truly invaluable.”

Eco-managers and green consultants are multiplying throughout Europe. Ecoprod and Green Film Shooting moderated the round table “All about green training” which gave an overview of the different training approaches across Europe. For more than a decade, the French association Ecoprod has been offering training, tools and guides for green production. “This year, we are launching a new five-day training with the three key themes: the impact of a production, the strategy to reduce its impact and the carbon calculation”, declared Alissa Aubenque, operating director of Ecoprod. In Italy, the environment has been enshrined in the constitution. “We are very proud of it,” said Nevina SattaCEO of the Sardegna Film Commission, which since 2014 trains green film productions with a focus on under-the-line. “Now we are involving content producers more and pushing them to cooperate with scientists.”

Italian producer John Pompeli launches, in collaboration with the TorinoFilmLab, a Green Lab training program in different European regions. “Changing habits is the hardest part,” the producer said. “The most important thing is to have a practical approach on how to think about a sustainability plan.” In Poland, production is becoming more sustainable thanks to the Film for Climate group, which has developed green guidelines. “We are planning a series of trainings on green production”, Polish producer Alejandra Leszczynska underline.

In South Africa, the Greenset project gained momentum when service company Film Africa adopted sustainability for all of its productions in 2019. Founded as a non-profit startup, Greenset is now a subset of the South African Film Academy. “We are focused on creating jobs and training in sustainability services in the film sector while working with producers to minimize the carbon footprint of productions shot in South Africa,” said the founder of Greenset . Cindy Mkwanazi.

Meanwhile, Hungary serves as a major service center for American studios. “Most of the time they have us on board in the pre-production phase,” said Julia Tordai, co-founder of Green Eyes Production. “If major studios aren’t willing to pay for the green premium, the supply chain won’t change.” French eco-responsible Anais Mounereau pointed out that it is difficult to structure an overall strategy for sustainable development on the plateau. “At Secoya, we offer productions a software tool that allows them to estimate and reduce their carbon footprint.” In the city of Freiburg in southern Germany, eco-advisor Jacob Reinhart provided recent production with electric cargo bikes. The cameraman even used the trailer for a tracking shot. “You need crew members who are willing to try something new,” Reinhart concluded. “They need to have the energy and the time to create an innovative solution. It won’t save the world if we only calculate our footprint. It pays to invest time to actually reduce carbon emissions.

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