Creative BC News

Recap of the Sustainable Production Forum at VIFF 2017

Mar 20, 2020 | News

This year’s Sustainable Production Forum featured an incredible array of industry members from around the globe! Take a look below to get all the greatest highlights from each panel.

Also check out Green Spark Group’s write up on the Sustainable Production Forum.

Summaries of sessions:

Oct 4, 2017
Vancouver International Film Festival
Keynote Address

Lydia Dean Pilcher, CEO/Producer, Cine Mosaic, Inc. & Co-Founder PGA Green

Lydia Dean Pilcher gave an engaging and meaningful keynote address sharing insight on her approach to influencing sustainability in film production. As each production is unique, Pilcher emphasized the need for having a cultural sensitivity to the community you’re working within as well as with your own crew. Listening to the concerns of others is critical to inspiring change. Other drivers of change include leadership, communication, education and accountability. Pilcher stressed the need for working with a green team of influential individuals that can help set achievable goals. Through effective communication and listening, you can find a way for people to meet you in the middle.

Collaboration and Collective Action

Recent advances in sustainable film production have evolved due to collaboration and collective action. Representatives from the leading organizations dedicated to sustainable film production including British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and Creative BC came together at this year’s SPF to discuss the benefits of sharing ideas to develop best practices and gain knowledge and skills in all aspects of film production. The top areas of focus were education, engagement, communication and the sharing of tools and resources such as BAFTA’s carbon literacy training. Financial contribution by key stakeholders is critical to secure commitment. With pressure on the global community to address climate change, leaders of sustainability in film production agree that true change can occur more quickly and effectively through collaboration.

Jeremy Mathieu, Albert International Manager for BAFTA
Lydia Dean Pilcher, CEO/Producer, Cine Mosaic, Inc. & Co-Founder PGA Green.
Julie Bernard, Manager of Production Services, Creative BC

Sandi Richter-Cooper, BC Film Commissioner, CrBC

Policy Advances for Sustainable Production

Panelists from California, New York, Italy, France and the United Kingdom discussed policies and strategies surrounding sustainable production at their various locations. Incentive-based programs such as the NYC Film Green Mark of Distinction and Italy’s T-Green Film have motivated filmmakers to implement sustainable film production and take advantage of the promotional and financial benefits of doing so. There was a general consensus that change should be driven from within the industry and that policy should be based on inspiring decision-makers to want to promote these changes. Advances in sustainability in the film industry were also recognized as a mechanism for supporting concurrent societal goals of addressing climate change and increasing the use of renewable energy. Once again, an emphasis on education, and training using specific tools and resources designed for sustainable production were considered tantamount to influencing attitudes and policy at all levels.

Kenneth Ebie, Executive Director of External Affairs, NYC Office of Media & Entertainment Luca Ferrario, Director, Trentino Film Fund and Commission &  Vice President, Italian Film Commissions
Amy Lemisch, Executive Director, California Film Commission
Sophie Delorme, Vice-Director of Social and Environmental responsibility, Co-Founder of EcoProd
Paul Evans, Co-Founder Green Shoot

David Shepheard, Director, Vancouver Film Commission

Next Generation

A common theme throughout the day was the need for education and training, especially for younger generations of filmmakers. The interest by young people to do things differently was recognized. Topics of increased wellness, change through design thinking and creative storytelling were discussed. A holistic approach toward learning includes a strong understanding of the reasons why we need to care about sustainable film production and applying specialized talents as filmmakers and storytellers to tell this story. Collaboration with and support from universities and film schools to promote these efforts and provide ways to access teaching resources and verify research was also key.

Garvin Eddy, Adjunct Professor, University of British Columbia
Melissa Goodall, Associate Director, Office of Sustainability, Yale University
Jeremy Mathieu, Albert International Manager for BAFTA

Tyler Orton, Reporter at Business in Vancouver

Studio Roundtable

Leaders in sustainability from Warner Brothers Entertainment and 20th Century Fox shared their latest achievements and challenges regarding sustainable film production. Highlights included increased use of LED lighting, reliance on recyclable construction materials, more efficient use of different technologies and more. Consistency of sustainable practices and deeper integration of sustainability in every department of production have been prioritized by both studios. Influencing individual behaviors as well as the availability of alternative fuels were identified areas in need of creative solutions.

Mike Slavich, Director of Sustainability at Warner Bros. Entertainment
Lisa Day, Director, Energy Initiative, 20th Century Fox

Prem Gill, CEO, Creative BC

Power Hour

(Demo by Portable Electric (5k power VoltStack power unit))

This lively discussion tackled the often-challenging issue of energy management in film production. From feature films that require extraordinary amounts of power to smaller independent films and short films, experienced lighting professionals helped to provide a greater understanding of the levels of power needs and the possibility of transitioning to more renewable energy sources. Each panelist emphasized the need for thinking deeply about the challenges to come up with feasible solutions such as the installation of more power drops throughout the City of Vancouver which would allow more productions to tie in to the grid, supporting new technologies such as battery-powered portable power units and more efficient planning for power needs.

Billy Baxter, Chief Lighting Technician
Jeremiah Benskin, Writer and Director
Ian Neville, Sustainability Group | Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability, City of Vancouver
Keith Woods, Rigging Gaffer, Member of IATSE Local 891

Zena Harris, Green Spark Group