After our first profile in 2013 on French partner in green production Ecoprod, we are catching up with them at the beginning of the year to see what they have on the agenda. Green Film Making spoke with Joanna Gallardo, the new director of the Ile De France Film commission as well as the international delegate for Ecoprod. Already 8 years in existence, the consortium is comprised of several stakeholders who all contribute to the Ecoprod initiative equally through sharing tasks as well as financially. They are an impressive list of high profile organizations: France Télévisions (the leading French public broadcasting group), the number 1 commercial channel TF1, CNC (National Centre for Cinema and the Moving Image), ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management agency), Audiens (social protection group for the cultural sector), Île de France Film Commission, and Le Pôle Media Grand Paris (hub for the audiovisual and film industry in the Paris region). Like Thekla Reuten in The Netherlands, Ecoprod has just attracted famous actress Audrey Dana to be the ambassador of green filmmaking for France.
At the Ile de France Film Commission headquarters, which doubles as the Ecoprod HQ, around the corner from the Paris Opera, Joanna explains that the complete team consists of 10 people who are all dedicating part of their time whilst employed by one of the consortium members. All members are engaged to attract new partners to Ecoprod through their respective vast networks. Prospective partners are asked to sign the Ecoprod charter and thus commit to the sustainable goals set within it. Becoming a member means getting access to the different trainings and tools Ecoprod offers.
Trainings for this year focus on waste and post-production. In January Ecoprod went straight into business with a round table on sustainable post-production at the Paris Images Digital Summit. Several innovative applications were presented to show that there is definitely steps to be made in this stage of a production. The one that speaks most to the imagination is a system developed by start-up Stimergy. Through the heat generated by computing clusters used for VFX rendering, Christophe Perron, CEO and Founder of Stimergy, is heating a public swimming pool in Paris.
“We are liquid-cooling our servers thanks to an electrically non-conductive liquid. All the heat emitted by the computers is captured by this liquid“, explains Perron. Thanks to heat exchangers, Stimergy can transfer the caloric energy captured by the non-conductive liquid to heat a swimming pool or a residential building. “If a Chinese or American company were using our Butte-aux-Cailles swimming pool cluster over the course of a year, we would save 500T of carbon emissions“, says Perron. Since the servers are placed remotely from the studio the possibilities for locations to heat are vast.
Just last week, 22nd of February, a workshop on waste was held for charter members. Ecoprod believes strongly in the circulair economy concept. Joanna explains: “We are trying to make clear that when you throw waste away it doesn’t just disappear. It’s still around. We consider the waste from the audiovisual industry a potential recourse for other organizations. So we gather everything that is left after a shoot and try to find stakeholders that can benefit. Like for example a theater company that can use materials to make sets. The idea is to implement local systems and connections to allow the re-use of waste.” The workshop was also open to everyone outside of the AV industry who could be involved, with the support of the greater Paris region. The plan is through a series of similar meetings that come September, concrete solutions will have been found and results can be presented as a new strategy.
Technical staff and schools
Things are definitely moving and shaking on the green front, but things were not always that easy. For 3 years they tried to convince producers and it was not efficient. This is why the charter was developed to involve producers in the larger strategy and provide them with trainings and meetings. But focus has also shifted to engaging technical staff and suppliers first, for example through their syndicates. Technicians and suppliers are now supported to go green and be able to keep the same price, through funding available to them through CNC. These funds can be used for example to make green materials, renewing heating systems, postproduction facilities, camera equipment, lighting. Ecoprod are also offering trainings in a wide range of technical schools and film schools. So the focus is also very much on the coming generations.
And here is the cherry on the eclair: one of the biggest innovations in France to be introduced this spring is the Eco-bonus of the Île de France Film Fund. If you can show to the IDF Film Fund in your funding report that you have made significant steps to green your production as well as used the Carbon Clap calculator, you will get an additional 25.000 euro, if the report is approved. Now that’s an incentive!
Ecoprod is also very established internationally and has just gotten green light for a European partnership led by Film London: Green Screen Initiative. Green Screen is a European Union (Interreg Europe) funded partnership project working across eight EU regions to improve policies and achieve measurable success in reducing the carbon footprint of European film and TV industries. Five of the world’s top 10 markets for producing films are UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy. Green Screen aims to align the practices of these successful industries, standardize environmental practices and improve regional policies so that sustainable measures for producing films, TV and audiovisual content can be adopted across Europe. Through Green Screen, participating regions will improve policies to motivate and equip the current and future workforce to adopt sustainable practices and thus reduce CO2 emissions. The project runs from 2017 to 2021 and partners include: Film London (UK), Bucharest Ilfov Regional Development Agency (Romania), Flanders Audiovisual Fund (Belgium), Ecoprod (France), Municipality of Ystad (Sweden), Municipal Company of Initiatives of Malaga S.A. – Promlaga (Spain), Rzeszow Regional Development Agency (Poland), Regional Development Agency Senec – Pezinok (Slovakia) and Greenshoot (UK).
“Oupha, talking to you is reminding me of everything there still is to do!” concludes Joanna with a big smile. So we leave Ecoprod to do their job, ever active and inspired as they are. Are you inspired too? Check in the Green Network section to look up more information on other international initiatives!