– The effort, also promoted by Netflix, aims to sensitise the industry to produce films and series in a more ecologically sustainable manner
MFG’s managing director and the head of the Green Film Shooting workgroup, Carl Bergengruen (© MFG Filmförderung)
This week, several German film and TV production outfits, along with streaming giant Netflix and a clutch of broadcasters, announced the launch of the Green Production Initiative. The voluntary effort will officially start in 2022 and aims to sensitise the industry to produce films and series in a more ecologically sustainable manner.
In detail, the Green Production Initiative will require producers and commissioners to commit to certain minimum ecological standards, such as using LED spotlights on set, switching to vegetarian food in canteens and avoiding short-haul flights, or switching to train journeys for the crew, in order to reduce their environmental impact.
Among the signatories of the initiative are German firms such as Constantin Film, Bavaria, UFA and Studio Hamburg, as well as commercial broadcasters RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 and Sky, pubcasters ZDF, WDR, BR, NDR, SWR and RBB, and publicly controlled commercial production group Degeto. Netflix has also confirmed its commitment to the initiative for all of its German commissions.
In addition, the local public funding bodies based in Hessen, Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein will make the new standards a requirement for applicants for most of the production support provided by their schemes. Regional funding agencies MDM and NordMedia have also committed to the initiative, subject to the approval of their respective supervisory bodies. It has also received praise from the local actors’ association, Bundesverband Schauspiel, the local editors’ association, Bundesverband Filmschnitt Editor, the German Film Academy, the Allianz Deutscher Produzenten producers’ alliance and the technical support staff association, the Verband Technischer Betriebe für Film & Fernsehen. Despite their support, these organisations have invited bodies and commissioners to cover the additional costs that the new eco-friendly guidelines will entail.
Eligible productions must meet at least 18 of 21 “must-have specifications”. Before entering production, producers must submit a sustainability report to be checked by their respective backers or to an external body set up by the Green Shooting Initiative at auditing company PwC. All approved final reports will be stored at PwC for statistical purposes, and qualifying productions will be awarded a dedicated “green motion” label. These requirements were drafted thanks to a working group that examined 100 German audiovisual productions that had attempted to implement eco-friendly filming practices.
Finally, MFG’s managing director and the head of the Green Film Shooting workgroup, Carl Bergengruen, defined the initiative as “a first, important step” towards creating a common ecological standard in Germany for all audiovisual productions. “The ecological minimum standards and the ‘green motion’ label are a strong, voluntary commitment […]. Our specifications are ambitious but, at the same time, realistic,” he added.