Imagine the Sustainable Production Possibilities!

By Zena Harris  – President of Green Spark Group, curator of the VIFF 2016 Sustainable Production Forum

The motion picture industry is inherently creative. We take ideas and concepts, and build sets and digital landscapes to bring these ideas to the screen.  We make costumes that transform humans into space creatures and anything one can imagine.  I venture to say that we can create anything, including a sustainable production.

Consider this: what if we took a fraction of the creative energy that we use in the writing, building and designing process and apply it to the production process and sustainability?  What if we embed sustainability strategies into the production process in a way that does not disrupt the creative process but seamlessly integrates? 

In the sustainable production creative stream, every department plays a role.  For example, the art department may image material type, use and reuse in an innovative way to minimize waste as the concept is created; the construction crew may build the sets made of reclaimed and innovative materials and design for deconstruction and reuse; the locations crew may revolutionize how waste, recyclables and compost are handled on set; and transportation may utilize car-sharing software to revolution fleet use and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Can this be done? Yes! There are fabulous examples from around the world to show the integration of sustainable production practices. 

From an organizational perspective, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has a program called Albert, a consortium of 13 of the UK’s largest production companies and broadcasters all working to integrate sustainable production practices and raise the profile of sustainability in the industry, and there are other great organizations such as the PGA Green in the United States, Strawberry Earth in the Netherlands and Reel Green in British Columbia.

Then there are practitioners that go onto shows and coordinate sustainable production efforts with all departments, for example, Earth Angel in New York City, EcoSet in Los Angeles and Green Spark Group in British Columbia. 

Sustainable production practices can be integrated and enhance the production process.  We can imagine it and we can do it. 

This year the Vancouver International Film Festival is hosting a Sustainable Production Forum on October 7, 2016. The event will bring the motion picture industry together to learn about what it takes to makes a production sustainable and advance the dial on this important initiative industry-wide. 

We have an amazing line-up of speakers for the day including Mayor Gregor Robertson, The X-Files director Chris Carter, sustainability executives from major studios in Los Angeles, BAFTA, Creative BC, the World Bank’s Connect4Climate, sustainability practitioners in New York (Earth Angel) and BC (Keep it Green Recycling and Green Spark Group), the Vancouver Economic Commission and the green economy. Wow! 

We will also be honouring Chris Carter with the VIFF Industry Builder Award for his leadership in sustainable production at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon. Find tickets here.

And, we’ll be offering a training session to help those who work on-set to implement recycling systems, understand the supply chain and how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  To wrap up, we’ll have a wonderful green carpet reception hosted by Creative BC.

It will be a great day and we hope you’ll join us! 

A compilation piece highlighting the international breadth of sustainable production and featuring footage from Canada, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States to spread awareness in the motion picture industry.

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