Ecology stars in Toronto's Green-Screen

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TORONTO -- Toronto's film production industry on Tuesday unveiled plans to go green, a move that will include everything from serving food in biodegradable containers to transporting stars in hybrid cars.

The voluntary Green-Screen initiative -- spearheaded by studio operators, unions and guilds -- aims at identifying ways to reduce waste and energy use for all productions shooting in Toronto.

Candida Paltiel, director of the Planet in Focus International Environmental Film & Video Festival, said the industry alliance didn't want to single out offenders, just reduce everyone's carbon footprint.

"The longer a production goes on, the more energy it uses, the more people are transported, and the more food is eaten or thrown out," she explained.

Melissa Morgan, a member of the environmental committee at IATSE 873, said that the current Toronto shoot for "The Incredible Hulk," produced by Gale Anne Hurd, has been especially eco-conscious.

Morgan said that "Hulk" production crews are electronically communicating information where possible, printing paper double-sided, renting hybrid cars and using a pine wood in place of rainforest woods when building sets.

In addition, the main "Hulk" shoot at Toronto Film Studios has an intensive recycling program.

Ken Ferguson, president of Toronto Film Studios, said, "Hulk's" eco-awareness has taken some adapting but has been welcomed. We've seen so much waste over the years. So to see the film industry coming to us asking for changes is really a pleasant surprise."

Paltiel said that Canada will undertake a study similar to a recent UCLA report on the polluting effects of the California film industry to establish a baseline from which local producers can make improvements.

"All of these initiatives make a difference if we embrace them collectively," she said.
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