2018 Sustainable Production Forum Session Highlights

The 2018 Sustainable Production Forum at VIFF

featured some of the world leaders and thinkers in sustainable production. We've captured a snapshot of all sessions throughout the forum to share with you!

Sessions below were from October 5th and 6th of the forum.

  • Jacqueline Dupuis, Executive Director of VIFF opened the third annual Sustainable Production Forum at the festival. She graciously welcomed everyone, acknowledging the busy and bustling motion picture industry here in BC, with 452 productions that employ over 60,000 people in the Metro Vancouver area (2017). She underscored the theme of the Forum, “Transforming Culture” and emphasized the role of the motion picture industry in facing the #1 threat to humanity—climate change. Finally, Jacqueline noted the importance of intertwining the social and environmental aspects of sustainability in contributing to a prosperous industry and world.
  • It was an honour to have Cristina Mittermeier as the opening keynote. She engaged the audience by showcasing her many beautiful images taken of people and natural landscapes around the world. Cristina discussed the stories behind the photos and stories that could never be captured by a photograph. She spoke to how pictures demonstrate a richness of life experience, and people dreaming about their future.

    Through her work and examination of her photos, she realized that many Indigenous peoples relate to each other and the environment more deeply than those people focused on a consumer based society. "When people spend time together in these communities", she said, "they measure their self-worth by how much they fit in, not by how much they own."

    Empowered by this environmental and social view, Cristina now uses photography to tell stories about sustainability, what the future of climate change could be, and the concept of “enoughness”—finding your spirituality in nature. She uses the emotional connection of photography and the ability that images have to break down intellectual barriers, to enable discussion on environmental issues to occur.

    Her work focuses particularly on oceans, and she uses photography to creative the narrative that our oceans are treasure, and fish are its gold. Rising ocean temperatures, the warm patch of water called an ocean blob, and over-fishing inspired her to start the non-profit, SeaLegacy. She seeks to connect with people through her photography and advocacy to compel countries to contribute to Sustainable Development Goal 14 and protect at least 10% of their marine environment. She left the audience with a compelling request to live a life of legacy in which each person can say “I am accountable to you and I have done everything I can.”


  • Reel Green from Creative BC

    This session provided an overview of Reel Green activities over the past year, and what’s in store for this coming year.

    Reel Green’s mission is to enable the evolution and implementation of sustainable practices in the motion picture industry to contribute to the betterment of the world.  


    • Prem Gill, Creative BC

    • Julie Bernard, Creative BC


    Prem provided an overview of Creative BC’s Reel Green program and acknowledged the importance of partnership in moving the motion picture industry forward. She emphasized the power that storytelling and social change can have to advance sustainability.

    Julie Bernard provided the audience with a brief overview of the Real Green strategic plan and noted how passion and commitment have increased since its implementation. Prior to launching the new Be Reel Green video, Julie noted that next year’s goal will be to launch and implement a Carbon Calculator for use by local productions.

  • Speaker Panel Sustainable Physical Production

    Film practitioners currently implementing sustainable production practices in BC discussed their approaches and achievements to date.


    • Shannon Bart, NBCUniversal
    • Hans Dayal, Location Manager

    • Clara George, Producer

    • Casey Nelson Zutter, Production Manager

    • Keith Woods, Rigging Gaffer

    • Prem Gill (moderator) - Creative BC

    The session was opened by commentary from each speaker.

    Clara George began the session by noting that sustainability leads to better quality of life, not just by preserving the environment, but also by improving social aspects such as working hours. She noted that the creative industry makes impossible scripts happen, so there’s nothing to prevent them from making sustainability happen.

    Hans Dayal noted that as a location manager he gets immediate feedback from the community about acting responsibly. He stressed that natural resources in BC are its greatest asset and that’s why people film here. It is a privilege to preserve it. He focuses on the impact he can make with his department and on his production. 

    Shannon Bart runs sustainability at NBCUniversal’s major lot and oversees sustainable production programs throughout the organization. She acknowledged that sustainability can mean different things based on geography and that Vancouver seems to be further ahead on these issues comparatively. She noted the importance of finding priority areas for each production to reduce impact, and the importance of then measuring your impact and the changes brought therein.

    Casey Nelson Zutter noted how much the conversation has shifted over the last 20 years, and that more stakeholders are aware of their environmental impact. He noted the importance of the human component—people want to know they are doing good. For instance, crews welcome first-hand accounts of benefits brought by programs such as food donation.

    Keith Woods spoke tactically about his focus on eliminating diesel generators on productions.

    Prem asked, “What sustainable practices are happening?

    Participants noted that BAFTA is using the Albert Carbon Calculator, in the US they are using the Production Environmental Accounting Report (PEAR) tool, which allows carbon calculation. Shannon acknowledged that fuel often represents over 50% of every production’s carbon footprint and that it is mandatory for all NBCUniversal productions to use the PEAR. The conversation shifted to the power of data. She noted that when you can measure something— like carbon—you can manage it. Data allows you to see reductions and inspires people to do more. It helps to highlight strengths, but also showcase where you had some struggles.

    Panelists also discussed how LED lighting has advanced a great deal. For example, NBCUniversal provided productions that wanted to increase LED usage with a bit of extra budget, which enabled those productions to triple LED usage. LED lighting allows for far less power use, though there are still some barriers to adoption: productions fear that they don’t have the autonomy to make the technological or creative choice, and LED light fixtures don’t yet have the power to light a full city block. Exploring alternative solutions when creative decisions are made is a key time within a production’s development to help achieve significant sustainable impact.

    Bringing crew on board

    Clara spoke about how early engagement and discussions can achieve meaningful and lasting change. She met and spoke with her Head of Departments (HoDs) prior to the new season of The Magicians and looked into sustainable practice opportunities. These meetings led to finding additional hydro-power for their facility to eliminate diesel generator use, reducing overall fuel consumption by 20%, and enforcing a no-idling policy. She emphasized the need for leadership and tenacity, and the importance to take the time and plan early. She acknowledged there was a front-end cost of $50,000, but she was able to show the benefits and eventual cost savings to the studio and they supported this investment. Casey echoed the need to set expectations early communicate them to the crew. Early and ongoing meetings are essential, though leadership needs to be willing to listen to departmental concerns: the crew often have good ideas and they are part of the solution.

    Can competition on sustainable practices help?

    Shannon noted that friendly competition can be useful and that more can be done by working together. "It is important to know what other studios are doing, and what resources are available. Studios are now working together to develop an online carbon calculator to create a universal tool and metrics." From a locations perspective, Hans said that he doesn’t think about competition, but rather considers how a production can have the least impact on a location so that everyone will be able to come back to use the location again in the future.

    Tools and Vendors

    Clara noted that tools are key, but that they only work if industry practitioners talk about them, share them, use them, and believe it is possible to effect change. She noted her role in leading a petition which led to rental companies responding to the industry request for more hybrid vehicles. She believes it is the role of filmmakers to demand better technology, and noted the transition they made from film to digital. The collective impact of the voice of 60,000 practitioners in Vancouver can effect change from a technological perspective, but also a social one by demanding better work hours.


    Casey noted the effort needed to show that it is commercially viable to have better hours, better rental vehicles, etc. Focusing on the bottom line is a barrier, but tracking and measuring data can be an antidote to bottom-line thinking. There is starting to be an understanding of the cost savings reaped from upfront investment in sustainable practices. Technological change does not imply going with the best, most expensive technology as a starting point. Local vendors can be very helpful, and in Vancouver, both Keep it Green Recycling and Sustainable Lockup create the infrastructure to support the film industry’s sustainability ambitions. Panelists agreed that sustainability is not possible without local partners and vendors. Getting a list of suppliers willing to go the extra step is an important enabling tool.

    Finally, tips for helping lower budget productions achieve sustainable practices included partnering with willing suppliers and vendors,  accessing and using the Sustainable Lockup, and exploring creative decisions based on budget

    Photo Credit: Gabriele Gaurilcikaite
  • Speaker Panel: Life in the Fast Lane - Commercials and Sustainable Production

    In the fast pace of the advertising world, the question is, “Can sustainable production practices be implemented?”

    We were honoured to have practitioners share their tools and approaches for sustainable production in the world of commercials.

    • Kris Barberg, EcoSet

    • Jo Coombes, AdGreen

    • Andréa Fehsenfeld, Producer

    • Zena Harris, Green Spark Group (moderator)

    The session began by addressing some of the challenges specific to implementing sustainable practices within the world of advertising. Sustainability rarely comes early in the process as the main stakeholders, clients, and ad agencies work together to develop ideas around a product.

    What is the process for landing a commercial production?

    When a commercial is wanted, the idea is then tendered out to several production companies for a creative production bid which must compete on a budget, not sustainable practices. Sustainable practitioners such as AdGreen are brought in only once a production company has been awarded a contract and the budget is locked in. As such, no additional resources are available for sustainable practices, and existing time and resources are already limited and spoken for.

    In terms of gaps and opportunities, commercials are considered the black sheep given their short life-cycle, non-union crew, and limited budget. There needs to be a green directive from the beginning, as everything flows from the production manager. This person has many responsibilities, however, and it is difficult for them to take on sustainability in addition to existing responsibilities. A green mandate is lacking, especially as it pertains to operating on location. The ad community is small, and the crews can cycle through many commercial productions. Once a crew has experience and knowledge of sustainable practices, they can help impart and spread this knowledge on the other productions they work on.

    In response to a question, panelists also acknowledged that municipalities may run out of patience if the industry does not self-correct. Vancouver, for instance, permitted 250 commercial productions over a 3 year period. Cities have green objectives, and engaging film and commercial productions to help them achieve their green objectives can also help stimulate change within the industry.

    Kris from EcoSet has witnessed a shift over the last 10 years in the advertising industry, although the shift has been slower in LA. EcoSet is hired specifically for greening practices on commercial productions in spite of budget challenges. She noted that people are more receptive today, and there is increased participation, though some resistance remains as individuals are reluctant to “add one more thing to consider” as they implement production. There has been significant progress on food donations, and product brands in particular love to hear about donation stories, which creates a positive feedback loop.

    Budget Considerations

    Sustainability within commercial production is possible when it is mandated by the brand in question. If it isn’t paid for by the brand, the ad agency has to fit it in, and often the production company has limited capacity to execute. Panelists worked with the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) and a software company that creates budget sheets to add two line items in the budget: recycling (on location); and responsible disposal (art department). Visibility creates incentive and directive, and breaking out the line item created awareness that was very useful—it created a visual reminder for the conversation.

    Best Practices

    Panelists discussed the need to tie carbon calculation to the budget, as currently there is no means to measure carbon output due to the short production timeline. A tangible number is required to create a benchmark to respond to, and in the absence of carbon tracking, producers don’t know where to reduce. Best practices include organizations such as AdGreen developing and providing a list of vendors and tools so that can productions implement sustainable practices themselves. Clients are generally receptive after they are surprised by the green practices employed on production which shows that more clients and brands would be open to adopting sustainable production practices. Having more clients on board with sustainable production would help promote the inclusion of sustainable practices in budgets.

    More brands are beginning to tie commercials into their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but the marketing process often gets overlooked. However, ads employing celebrity talent are having a trickle-down effect, as celebrities ask more frequently about sustainability. Panelists also acknowledged that promoting sustainable lifestyle choices in advertising content could be more impactful, and this would showcase the power of doing good while trying to sell products.

    Following a question from the crowd, there was a brief discussion about the power of procurement to effect change in the supply chain, and to consider developing a code of conduct for the industry which could be pushed out through organizations such as the UN Global Compact.

    Top recommendations for change

    Top recommendations from panelists included having an easy system for people to tap into, having sustainable practices included in the budget, having conversations early about what can be done, adding sustainability to the planning process, and having a plan for recycling bins and reusable resources.


    Photo Credit: Widnicky Azul

  • The strategy for BC's newly established Industry Stewardship Pilot Project was unveiled.  Industry leaders from both sides of the border discussed the “new normal” in location resource management and sustainability, with a focus on the special collaboration between industry, municipal, and community partners. The recently established Film Focused advisory committee with industry stakeholders and the City of Vancouver was in the spotlight as a partnership model for success.


    • Peter Leitch, MPPIA Chair & NSS/Mammoth Studios President

    • Panel Moderator: Marnie Orr, Creative BC Motion Picture Industry + Community Affairs Manager

    • Wendy Noss, President, MPA-Canada

    • Michael Walbrecht, Vice President, Public Affairs, Warner Bros. Entertainment

    • Andrew Williamson, Producer/Director, Off Island Media

    • Brian Hamilton, President, OmniFilm

    Panelists acknowledged that the biggest change in production in the Vancouver region over the last decade has been the consistent growth in the number and scale of productions. This growth has helped embed expertise and infrastructure here, has created an upward migration in quality and VFX capacity. However, it also puts constraints on crew, studio space, and locations.

    The Vancouver brand strives to demonstrate environmental sustainability and diversity. Brian and Andrew noted that local and Canadian productions are being squeezed out and the film focused brand should include local productions as well. Local efforts such as Crazy 8s provide incredible opportunities for local talent and allows them to grow and feed into the larger production ecosystem. Panelists noted that in a situation of production abundance, there is an opportunity to examine what type of shows and productions the Vancouver region wants to attract. Conversely, stakeholders from Los Angeles are starting to say that Vancouver is too busy and that keeping trained crew on production is difficult.

    Initiatives such as Reel Green help keep the brand front and center. Wendy noted the strength of partnership and the role of Creative BC in terms of advocacy and providing direction in brand development. Michael noted that there may be an opportunity for the region to develop a one-stop shop office for film permitting. He noted that in Los Angeles a unique agency, Film LA, was created to handle film permitting, enabling efficient processing. A GIS-based permitting system processes all municipal fees related to film permits. This centralized process also enabled the creation of a heat map of film locations to understand where potential community conflict may emerge as a result of steady filming activity.

    The panel also acknowledged Vancouver’s real estate pressures—many major studios are also owned by property developers, and the current market conditions may increase pressure to develop properties, thereby pushing studio space further into the suburbs. Scarcity of space is significant, including space used for parking or equipment, but collaboration with industry could offer new solutions. For instance, Warner Bros is working with government agencies to allow the industry to use government-owned space for parking. Michael noted that government agencies don’t often know the value of what they own for other industries, so industry must be proactive in engaging them. Municipalities could provide data on their buildings and other facilities, and develop apps with usage data, which could help the industry make use of the sites.

    There are 5 municipalities in the pilot of the industry stewardship program. Phase 1 involves designing a one-stop shop for permitting to streamline the applications and forms and create a single home for data on community impacts, as this information is currently disaggregated. Panelists discussed how this may increase some costs, but that productions are willing to pay more for permit and location certainty. Additional costs are preferable to uncertainty and delays.

    Other topics addressed included:

    • With respect to smaller productions, many are filming in Prince George, Victoria, and Kelowna. The industry needs to draw more attention when filming outside of the Lower Mainland to showcase the province-wide benefits of supporting the industry.

    • Having diverse cast and crew is very aligned with values at some studios. Talent from various backgrounds exists in BC, and local producers are able to meet demand by creating a visible minority list. As filming continues, it is recommended to increase incentives to attract more Canadian writers and directors working on productions.


    Photo Credit: Widnicky Azul

  • Speaker Panel Industry Stewardship -- We're in This Together

    Seasoned industry and municipal leaders with boots on the ground discussed the gifts and challenges of a thriving, high volume location production landscape.

    Worst case scenarios with positive outcomes were discussed, with best practices transforming crisis management to prevention. The panel introduced forward-looking partnership strategies for the 'new normal' based on engagement, advocacy, and education.


    • Kendrie Upton, Directors Guild of Canada-BC Executive Director & MPPIA Executive (moderator)

    • James Monk, City of Surrey Filming Manager

    • Val Gafka, Township of Langley Sr Manager of Economic Investment & Development

    • Matt Palmer, Location Manager

    • Ann Goobie, Location Manager

    • Sandi Swanigan, former Sr Manager Special Events and Filming, City of Vancouver

    • Summary remarks: Phil Klapwyk, IATSE 891 Business Rep + MPPIA Vice Chair

    The session with municipal representatives and industry location managers explored the three pillars of the Industry Stewardship effort: engagement, advocacy, and education.

    Panelists spoke about the biggest challenge in the industry: how to continue to increase the volume of productions in the region, but shrink the industry’s resource consumption. The stakeholders need to address the growth in production because it is a threat to the business model. Spaces are constrained and you can’t always have materials and crew close to the set. There is increasing fighting for parking, and production schedules always change—this puts pressure on productions and municipalities alike.

    Panelists spoke about the potential for conflict resulting from the strain. Productions are businesses that are necessarily entrepreneurial and adaptable, whereas municipalities are not nimble—they operate within a legal framework and require transparency. Opportunities to work more effectively together include municipalities streamlining the locations permitting process and the amount of paperwork required, and productions engaging at the political level if city policy is creating barriers.

    The power of listening:

    All panelists agreed on the importance of listening to each other, becoming real partners in finding solutions and being a team. Listening also provides opportunities not just for productions, but for municipalities. Panelists noted that municipalities should not be afraid to ask for benefits, or a quid pro quo approach and that productions will often respond well if municipalities ask for favours in return. For instance, a production paid the community centre entrance fee for residents when they were shooting near the facility.

    Listening is also important within the communities in which filming occurs. Panelists acknowledged that even doing a good job has an impact on the community and that residential homes were not built to be film studios. Location managers spoke about their efforts to go door to door to hear about the filming process in the community and establish a relationship with residents. Doing so provides an opportunity for feedback, but also helps filmmakers explain the economic and social benefits of film, and provide the social license to continue operating.

    Sustainability of the industry is based on how well the industry interacts with the community, the municipalities, affected residents, and commercial operations. The location manager sets the tone by communicating to the crew what is expected in the community.

    The City of Surrey is developing an interactive map to show what is/has been filmed in Surrey. Surrey is also communicating how investments from the film industry are being spent on municipal facilities for all residents’ benefit.

    Barriers to overcome:

    When location permits are declined, location managers on the panel encouraged productions whose location permits have been declined to talk to municipalities to find out the reasoning behind the decline. Approaching a declined permit from a place of curiosity often reveals opportunities to overcome the concern or find new solutions. For example, initial constraints around using civic facilities in Langley were overcome using this approach, leading to a growth in film days per year compared to previous years.

    Additionally, municipal staff may be aware of many more locations. They can take pressure off certain locations by building awareness of new filming areas to avoid burnout. To ensure success the key is for both municipalities and location managers do not think only about their specific production, but also the one that follows.


    Photo Credit: Flora Adil

  • We were delighted to have Helle Bank Jorgensen at the forum to share her insights and provide background on the UN Global Compact Network of Canada. She engaged the audience by asking a few people to choose one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that resonated with them. Helle then spoke of the role of SDGs in entertainment and communicated that actors are public role models and can help spread the broader SDG message. She also mentioned the opportunities to share the advertising production standards discussed at the SPF with the greater UN Global Compact Business Network comprised of about 12,000 businesses. She challenged us to think of what other partnerships we could develop in entertainment, which provided the perfect segue into the session that followed.

  • Speaker Panel Sustainable Development Goals and Entertainment

    Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations, and the role of the entertainment industry in helping to achieve them

    The 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer an opportunity to discuss social and environmental aspects of sustainability, and to expand how we think about our ability to transform culture.



    • Helle Bank Jorgensen, United Nations Global Compact Network of Canada

    • Greg Reitman, BlueWater Entertainment, Producer, Director

    • Vanessa Timmer, One Earth (moderator)

    Key highlights:

    This session focused specifically on the powerful role storytelling plays in supporting the implementation and awareness of SDG's in the entertainment/film world, to the point that we are actually seeing a cultural transformation. Reitman talked about the challenging role directors and producers play in translating the message of the SDGs in a visually entertaining way, but emphasizing that when we are successful, we never know how one video can change a person. Some examples of the use of media to promote the UN SDG’s are the Small Smurfs Big Goals video campaign which was used to highlight the International UN Day of Happiness, and “Angry Birds for a Happy Planet” (Finland, March 2016) to address issues related to climate change (Goal #13).

    Reitman noted that the SDG Framework is helpful for filmmakers because it is a tool that can create more tangible ideas to motivate viewers toward action and implementation, which leads to more accountability.

    Partnering with the entertainment industry also highlights Goal #17 - Partnerships. Helle stressed the need to work together to figure out ways how the industry and depict adaptation and implementation of the SDG’s as opportunities for investors. Reitman also commented on current trends in film where we are seeing more ‘issue-oriented’ films, for example, Ghost Fleet by Jon Bowermaster or Chasing Fire, a 2013 film about the increase and intensity of wildfires. We need to ask ourselves how can we be entertaining and results-oriented?

    Photo Credit: Marlon Martinez

  • Speaker Panel The Hollywood Effect

    This session explored storytelling and the ability to influence audiences through the “Hollywood Effect.”

    How can we incorporate care for the planet in both storyline as well as on-screen behaviour? How we can model the change we want to see in the world?


    • Ed Barreveld, Storyline Entertainment Inc., Producer, Dolphin Man screening at VIFF

    • Shannon Kaplun, Vice President of the Board, Women in Film TV

    • Jeremy Mathieu, Sustainability Advisor at BBC and International Manager for the BAFTA Albert Consortium

    • Greg Reitman, BlueWater Entertainment, Producer, Director

    • Zena Harris, Green Spark Group (moderator)

    Key highlights:

    Shannon started off the panel by talking about how film can affect social change. Previously her work as a filmmaker focused on issues such as the normality of sexualized violence in film, and underrepresentation of women in film and TV. Her more recent work has focused on stories of heroes from indigenous populations.

    Ed spoke about documentaries as powerful tools of bringing awareness, they plant a seed to open discussion on the issues. According to Ed, the role of a documentarian is not as an activist, rather as a truthseeker.

    Reitman suggested that content is contagious and can affect viewers emotionally. And Mathieu of BAFTA asked whether media is “a mirror” or a “mover” of society. At BAFTA, they look to connect the audience with a solution, asking how their organization can enable the industry. Their strategy has been through Carbon Literacy education, with a focus on climate change. They have also implemented various tools such as Planet Placement, which looks at how we bring the planet onto the screen in everyday content.

    Content must be created in a way that is humane and digestible, said Reitman. Mathieu further stressed the importance of leadership to invoke change.

    Photo Credit: Marlon Martinez

  • Speaker Panel Systems thinking—what does this mean on the studio lot?

    In this session, we explored the concept of systems thinking and discussed how our facilities and supply chain enables a sustainable production.

    There are many components to making a motion picture: material inputs, storyline, human resources, behaviour, energy, facilities, and the list goes on…


    • Tracy Casavant, National Industrial Symbiosis Program

    • Lisa Day, 20th Century Fox

    • Sukhdeep Gill, Cielo Electric

    • Keith Woods, Rigging Gaffer

    • Nicholas Foster, Trinity Power

    • Murray Ward, Greenlight Canada (moderator)

    Key highlights:

    Tracy opened by explaining the circular economy. "We must look to nature as our model, and consider the entire ecosystem in the way we operate. Under this model, waste is viewed as food and everything is designed for reuse." She stated that perhaps a more accurate description of the circular economy is not a circle but rather a web that supports many circles. There is a particular resilience or strength that comes from the interdependence of these circles.

    Lisa spoke about the Fox studios (Los Angeles & Australia) where they assess their facilities in terms of sustainable systems. Some features of the LA Fox studio lot include:

    • 84-86% waste diversion (it is a priority for the studio to oversee the waste systems for the productions);

    • donations programs;

    • EV lots (there are currently not enough chargers to accommodate the number of EV’s);

    • Use of house power/No generators; capturing stormwater and using the gray water.

    Keith explained how his approach regarding power management is to reduce generators whenever possible by tying in and using renewable power.

    Nick (Trinity Power) followed this sentiment and talked about their work on Mission to Mars (1998) where they reduced generators and ended up saving $600,000. He further described how Trinity Power works with studios to install sustainable infrastructure.

    Sukhdeep (Cielo Electric) talked about the three primary considerations regarding energy systems for any studio space - generation, conservation, and utilization. "When we generate power on-site, for example, through solar, we will naturally be inclined to be more aware of how much we are using. In considering utilization we should look at energy efficiency settings and controls, and innovative ideas. For instance, how we can use the electricity we save to power our electric vehicles."

    Other ideas discussed were increasing the use of LEDs which can save up to 750Kw per fixture. Lisa also stressed the need for comprehensive, transparent carbon emissions reporting. Metrics are critical for financial projections and it is important to universalize measurements for the film industry. Tracy asked how we can measure health and well-being, which are considerations that are becoming more connected to the built environment. Keith also suggested that Scope 3 emissions should also be measured and taken into consideration when designing systems.

    Photo Credit: Gabriele Gaurilcikaite

  • Speaker Panel Disruption Breeds Innovation

    Climate change is the biggest threat of our time. We must disrupt our current way of doing business and create innovative ways to approach our craft.

    Changemakers in the industry discussed how they are disrupting business as usual and explored how our industry will operate in the future.


    • Zach Lipovsky, CEO, ShotLister

    • Mike Slavich, Warner Bros. Entertainment

    • Joe Tankersley, Futurist (moderator)

    • Steven Vitolo, CEO, Scriptation

    • Brittany Whitmore, CEO and Principal Publicist, Exvera Communications Inc.

    Key highlights:

    The session opened with discussing the notion of “radical disruption” that aims to inform, inspire, and empower. Zach described his transition to a paperless process which included opting out of the hard copy and a learning curve of how to exist digitally. Leading by example, he educates crew on his productions on the various apps available and shows them (vs. telling them) what is possible.

    At Warner Brothers, Mike described how they try to enact change/disruption from within the company. He emphasized that innovation cannot be discussed separately from sustainability. Mike described the development of the green building LEED-certified studio space where they had to be creative with the design. Some innovations at Warner Bros. include the use of renewable biodiesels, an increase in LED lighting (approximately 40%), recycled (grey water) mechanical water systems used for cooling, and a reduction of potable water by 37 million gallons per year.

    Steve talked about his app, Scriptation, which analyzes script changes and transfers every note to its corresponding location in the next draft in seconds. This process saves users hours of time collating scripts and transferring notes.

    Brittany suggested that strategies to encourage innovation can include economic incentives, industry challenges, as well as cross-pollination of ideas. Speakers also stressed the need to provide education and training to implement disruptive technologies and processes.

    #PledgePaperless launch

    #pledgepaperless is a global campaign to eliminate unnecessary paper consumption in the film and television industry. By committing to #pledgepaperless, pledge participants agree to receive scripts and production documents digitally. The overall goal is to cultivate an industry-wide culture that is more environmentally conscious and create a standard where paperless is the default option.


    • Clara George, Producer

    • Jade Tailor, Actress, The Magicians

    • Steven Vitolo, CEO, Scriptation

    Key highlights:

    Kicking off the #pledgepaperless campaign, the speakers addressed strategies and practices to change behavior regarding people’s reliance on paper. Clara suggested implementing a print-on-demand policy, emailing or providing accessible digital links for all safety requirements, and thinking about all possible ways to reduce paper for a production. Jade noted that changes needed to be made with a top-down approach. “Shame is huge,” she said. Jade also noted the intense effort required to adjust to a digital process and stressed the importance of educating crew and cast on the possibilities. The session ended with Jade taking a video with the entire SPF audience who pledged to go paperless.

    Photo Credit: Gabriele Gaurilcikaite