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CANNES 2019 Industry

Cannes’ Sustainability in Action panel makes a pledge for green film production

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- CANNES 2019: At the Sustainability in Action panel, producers and film-fund representatives discussed a range of strategies for making film production greener

Cannes’ Sustainability in Action panel makes a pledge for green film production
Some of the speakers who took part in the Sustainability in Action panel

Hosted by Green Film Shooting and Cine-Regio at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, the Sustainability in Action panel discussion brought together producers, film-fund representatives, environmental consultants and technical experts, who talked about approaches and strategies for making film production greener. As the pan-European association for regional film funds in Europe, Cine-Regio makes close to €200 million available per year to support film. “At this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the regional film funds in our network have provided financial support to 52% of the films in this year’s main competition,” said Charlotte Appelgren, Cine-Regio’s general secretary. “This means that we must also act responsibly for the society we are part of. Our goal is that by the end of this year, 50% of the regional film funds in our association should have a strategy for making film production in their territory greener.”

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“There can be no more discussion about the fact that pre-production, production and post-production must go green,” emphasised Nevina Satta, CEO of the Sardegna Film Commission. “We will force every production company to apply the green protocol, and it is no longer negotiable.” According to Helge Albers, CEO of the Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, the perception of there being a hurdle for productions to be green is the core of the problem. “We are talking about a cultural shift that we have to deal with and facilitate. As with every cultural shift, we are facing some backlash and resistance. We have seen it across several fields in society, with the recycling of plastic bottles, for example. Every time you introduce new ideas, people are afraid that this will cost us jobs, development or growth,” underlined Albers. “I believe in incentivising these shifts, rather than cutting budgets.” 

For Joanna Gallardo, head of Institutional Relations for Film Paris Region at Ecoprod, France, this is the right way to go about persuading the film industry to go green. “In ten years of experience, we realised that if we don't have some institutional support from the film commissions, we won't manage to push the whole sector to go green,” explained Gallardo. Therefore, Film Paris Region provides productions with an eco-bonus of up to €25,000 if the films are produced in an eco-friendly way.

In Trentino, the film commission has developed the T-Green Film Rating System, which features incentives for producers who decide to go green. “Our local agency for environmental protection is in charge of the certification for film productions,” said Luca Ferrario, project manager at the Trentino Film Commission and Fund. “About 50% of the film productions in Trentino are applying for green certification.”

Italian producer Simone Gattoni presented two films in the official programme of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. "Abel Ferrara's film Tommaso [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Abel Ferrara
film profile
]
was shot green. It was a very small project that was filmed in two streets in Rome, with a small crew and without any big trucks. Also, the catering was vegetarian,” reported the producer. In contrast, the Palme d’Or contender The Traitor [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Marco Bellocchio
film profile
]
 by Marco Bellocchio had a big impact on the environment. “The movie was shot for 15 weeks all around the world, so the cast and crew of that movie were taking planes to Germany and Brazil,” Gattoni explained. “I became very aware of how devastating we can be for the environment. I changed how the company would approach productions from now on, even without funding.”

In Paris, consultancy Secoya tries to help clients to shoot green and reduce their carbon footprints. “There are many ways to reduce the costs of going green,” said Charles Gachet-Dieuzeide, founder and CEO of Secoya. “In Paris, you don't pay for parking if you use an electric car, which costs about eight euros for an hour.” In London, Melanie Dicks has been providing consultancy to productions for several years via her company Greenshoot. She also suggested financial incentives for film productions: “Let's have a 2% green tax credit,” she suggested. “You will see every single producer on the Croisette lining up here in an hour if the regional funds decide to do that today.”

A large proportion of the carbon emissions generated by film productions stems from power consumption. In several big cities, there are already stricter regulations that prohibit diesel generators on film sets at certain times in order to prevent noise and emissions. A more sustainable solution is being developed by the EU-funded project Everywh2ere, in which 12 partners from all across Europe are participating. “Our goal is to produce electricity for temporary events such as film sets via hydrogen,” Stefano Barberis, project manager at Everywh2ere, stated. “It is about as dangerous as your traditional car. Of course, there are some safety aspects that have to be considered because hydrogen has to be transported at high pressure.” 

The plan is to produce eight generators rated at 20 kW and 100 kW until summer 2020, and they will be demonstrated at temporary events and locations such as fairs, exhibitions, music festivals, film sets and construction sites. “The idea is to change the paradigm for the daily use of power generation. A fuel cell converts the hydrogen to power,” explained Barberis. “It is easy to use, and it is not rocket science – even though hydrogen technology does actually come from rocket science!”

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