– The talk mainly focused on two successful sustainability projects: Austria’s Evergreen Prisma and Italy’s Green Film
l-r: Nina Hauser and Dietlind Centa Rott during the discussion (© Thessaloniki Film Festival)
On 16 June, Day 2 of the inaugural edition of the Evia Film Project (a brand-new, environmentally orientated initiative organised by the Thessaloniki International Film Festival), the coastal town of Limni hosted an open discussion titled “Don’t Be Afraid of the Green Deal: Simple Tips & Smart Actions.”
The first part of the talk, moderated by Ieva Ūbele, creative producer and head of Industry Programme at IDFF Beldocs, saw the participation of three film-body reps – namely, Alberto Battocchi (film commissioner at the Trentino Film Commission), Nina Hauser (green commissioner and green film consultant working for the Austrian Film Institute and the Eurimages Study Group on Green Filming) and Dietlind Centa Rott (CEO, film commissioner and green film consultant for Austria’s LAFC Evergreen Prisma).
First, Ūbele urged the industry not to fear the changes and requirements brought in by green film, and touched upon some theoretical and legislative foundations, including the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the European Green Deal, which aims to make the EU climate-neutral by 2050. She also suggested that the industry should take a gradual approach to implementing green practices, as an attempt to go 100% green on the first go is usually unsuccessful and will end up being disheartening.
The floor was then given to Hauser and Centa Rott, who spoke about Evergreen Prisma as a “central competence and innovation hub for green filming”, based on knowledge transfer, incentives and synergies. They also provided some interesting figures about the actual impact of the global film industry, stating that 2% of carbon emissions are caused by the sector, but this figure may rise to 4% if we include the content commissioned by the streaming platforms. Some of the most critical aspects, unsurprisingly, are transportation, accommodation and supplying power on set. A concrete opportunity to reduce emissions, they argue, is based on gaining the right “know-how, first and foremost”, as well as “building cross-disciplinary awareness”.
Later, they touched upon numerous actions and initiatives supported by their respective bodies, such as a push for “the harmonisation of tools”, the creation of “green incentive models” throughout Europe, backed by film funds, broadcasters and other institutions, and the use of a dedicated “Eco-label 76”, which has been awarded to Austrian film productions since 2017 to acknowledge their efforts in implementing climate-friendly measures and reducing waste.
Next, Battocchi began his contribution by stating, “Living in a region where natural resources are a key asset, adopting and encouraging environmentally sustainable working practices becomes crucial.” He spoke about Green Film, a rating system launched as a pilot project in 2017 and developed with APPA (the local environmental protection agency) to encourage producers shooting in Trentino-Alto Adige to work in a more sustainable fashion. Since its inception, about 50% of the producers applying for funds have also requested to use Green Film, on a voluntary basis. In 2019, the system was revised with the purpose of making it exportable and usable in other territories. In detail, the tool aims “to involve the largest number of producers possible” and represents “a simple, reliable way for institutions to encourage them to take a first step, which will eventually lead to a shift in their mindset”.
The rating system is based on energy saving, transport and accommodation, catering, material selection, waste management and communication. The checklist includes some mandatory prerequisites and others that can be chosen by the producers themselves, according to their feasibility. The certificate is awarded to productions that score at least 20 points out of 50.
The process requires the producer to involve a green film manager, who will be in charge of a sustainability plan. The producer will then apply for the certificate and choose a verifying body that will audit the film. The verifying body (either a private auditing company, such as Bureau Veritas, DNV or Rina, or a public body) visits the set and carries out the relevant checks on the documents provided. Once the audit has been finalised, the certificate is issued. The project’s current partners include Wallimage, the Emilia-Romagna Film Commission, Zefyr Media and the Green Film Network. The tool is being used nationwide as of 2021. Finally, he spoke about the fund’s new Ministry of Culture-backed project, Green Film Research Lab (aiming to collect data on green film-certified projects in Italy and abroad, so as to assess their environmental impact in more depth), and Green Film Doc, a documentary-specific version of the tool launched at Bologna’s Biografilm on 15 June.
The second part of the talk saw producers Titus Kreyenberg and Myriam Sassine sharing their experience in implementing green working practices on their productions.