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On the way to the top: Taking stock after 4.5 years of Green Film Making

photo: Summer With Rana by Sanne Vogel By Sustainability Manager Els Rientjes In January 2015 I took over from Strawberry Earth and founded the Green Film Making Foundation. Now, 4.5 years later, I look back on a time of hard work, a lot of pushing and pulling, but also a time of meeting many professionals from the industry who really want to work together towards a different approach. Together we made beautiful films and shows produced in a more sustainable way. In the meantime, ambassadors have emerged in all areas of film making who lead the way in offering their craftsmanship to producers more sustainably. Each year I visited a few departments and made an inventory with them of how things are going; Catering, Art Department, Costumes and Make-up, Light, Location management and Postproduction. With their expertise and help, supplemented by research from other fields such as events and architecture, I came across new methods and materials that are also applicable in our profession of producing sound and image. But the film world is a rigid world, where changes are not so easy to achieve. People are often afraid of being the weakest link in the production chain and no Head of Department wants to cause delays. Or having to say “no”. So we are often on set with too many people and it is difficult to let go of our routines for new, cleaner methods. This will only work if we are convinced that it really works and if we dare to trust each other. It really helps if the producer can say that it is more efficient...

Rethinking waste: Sustainable Set Design

photo: Set of Les Misérables (BBC, 2018) reclaimed by DRESD Whether it’s a police station in 1980, a medieval alleyway or the inside of a space shuttle; a lot of time and material goes into making a fitting decor. Unfortunately, all this beautiful work is usually not very long-lived. Two years ago the conclusion of our workshop “Art Department, Costumes and Make-up” was that there is a great need for a shared set depot and prop house, a revival of the former NOB. Specifically because there is a desire from the industry to reclaim sets and to reuse them instead of throwing them away. And a lot can be gained in the art department in terms of reuse, recycling and upcycling. Here in The Netherlands, Florian Legters of The Uncrowned King is trying to find a suitable location for such an endeavour and Green Film Making has also looked at an option in old silos in Amsterdam. But until now it is wishful thinking with the biggest stumbling block being: space. Because where do you store all those materials, especially when you want to keep complete set pieces for reuse? And we are not even talking about accessibility.. In the UK they are also facing this dilemma. How can you change a used set from waste to raw material? Our British counterpart albert, the sustainability program of BAFTA, organised a special meeting for art directors: Setting the Stage for Sustainability. And so Green Film Making took a train to the heart of London to look for inspiration that can be applied here at home. The BAFTA offices are located...

Sustainable generators: Volta Naos and The Green Generator

Slowly but surely the range of alternatives for the diesel generator is growing. Especially the silence of an electrical unit suits a set on location really well. In addition to the True Hybrid, GreenBattery, Wattsun and Greener, that are already known in our sector, The Green Generator and Volta Naos are being used in the construction and event sectors. With its maximum 10 kVA, the Volta would fit well on a smaller set and the Green Generator provides the necessary certainty and power for a larger production with fewer movements. Green Film Making visited The Green Generator’s home base just outside of Amsterdam. And location manager Ralf Wentink is investigating the possibilities for using the Volta for the production of an English mini-series to be shot on Dutch soil. The Green Generator There are already 89 units of The Green Generator, a hybrid off-grid power solution, available for rent. But only a few are left on site in Zuidoostbeemster. Sales director Johan de Leeuw says that most units are usually rented out, especially at construction sites. Also here they are very popular because of their silence, which is ideal for use in residential neighbourhoods. The unit has also been used for festivals and concerts such as Lowlands, Mysteryland and for a classical concert on the beach. There are two versions for rent, a 30 kVA hybrid with a 45 kVA generator and a 45 kVA hybrid with a 66 kVA generator. Power comes from the battery pack (with a storage of 60kW) combined with solar panels and is, if necessary, re-charged by the built-in generator. Units for sale range...

Wattsun on set of ‘Meisje van Plezier’

The Wattsun, a portable, plug and play power supply, is now for rent through Locatiewerk and Het Licht. Location manager Rob IJpelaar has already tested this battery system shortly on the set of Talpa’s Meisje van Plezier. There was a shoot at Schiphol airport, where the space was limited and a lot of care had to be taken with the surroundings. The little Wattsun worked perfectly for the lighting in the clothes and makeup van. Only the base unit (Dock) was needed, which could last 16 hours without recharging. Perfect for a whole shooting day. With its 1200W, it does not have the capacity to also connect hairdryers and other devices, but the Wattsun is ideal for certain applications. Think for example about a remote fill light on a larger set or battery recharging. A nice addition for the film set to have portable power available at any desired location! Read our more extensive article about the Wattsun here (IN...

Brussels Breakfast meeting: Green in Cinema

Several times a year the Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF) organizes a special ‘Cinema breakfast’, an informal meeting for cinemas, distributors, festivals, cultural centers and other film organizations where new offers and initiatives are presented. The fifth edition was entirely devoted to sustainability and so Green Film Making was invited by our VAF colleague Tim Wagendorp to travel to a chilly Brussels last December 13th. The meeting started early and yet the venue Cinema Nova was packed with a varied group of people from the cultural sector from all over Belgium. Many inspiring examples and initiatives were presented, including the cinema Lewes Depot (UK) founded by Dutchwoman Carmen Slijpen and the eco-strategy of Belgian pop temple Ancienne Belgique. We are pleased to report here on the informative morning with our southern neighbors. After a breakfast served on an edible napkin, VAFs sustainability coordinator Tim opened the meeting by inviting those present to actively think about taking steps within their own organization or company. It would for example be interesting to calculate exactly what the emission of one film screening is. He also said that the very successful recent Flemish production Girl by Lukas Dhont, that won the Camera d’Or in Cannes, was produced sustainably (a report will follow that we will publish here). After Tim, hostess Marie-Eve of Cinema Nova briefly explained their organization. It’s a unique institute in the field of cinema operators. The cinema runs on volunteers and also has side activities such as the distribution of forgotten films, the preservation of archives such as that of a former porn cinema and they also developed an open source...

Bags from film banners at Eye Filmmuseum and Vue; Upcycling at it’s best!

Everyone knows the store at Eye Filmmuseum as the ultimate place for film lovers to shop. But besides that the popular shop, in the top 10 of the world’s best museum shops, has an exclusive collection on offer, shop manager Marjan Vos also innovates with sustainability. She set up a system in which used film banners can be upcycled into unique bags. She developed the bags together with sustainable bag maker Marie-José Hamers, who is now being contacted left and right for new collaborations. Among others cinema company Vue Cinemas joined in. We talked to initiator Marjan, artisan Marie-José and Diederieke van Herwijnen of Vue Cinemas about this wonderful initiative. Marjan, where did you get the idea to do something with the old film banners? Marjan: Reuse is in my blood, I was raised like that. I think it is a shame to throw something away that is still fine and has been only used so briefly. I was at a Patti Smith concert once and there the guitarist shouted: ‘Support your locals!!’. This inspired me to focus on local artisans and not on China. I was just in the process of setting up the shop at Eye Filmmuseum, so the bags were a logical step for me. It went really fast, I was tipped to contact Marie-José when I was looking for good craftspeople around Amsterdam. Her first test model was immediately right. Folded from one piece and voilà, a wonderful shopper! Marie-José: The shopper eventually became a classic and from there on I designed other accessories. I can cut two bags from one banner and from the...