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Germany’s leading broadcasters, film producers and streaming companies unveiled a new environmental initiative Friday, agreeing to take a more sustainable approach to the production of films and TV series.
The so-called Green Shooting initiative will see producers and commissioners commit to certain minimum ecological standards, such as using LED spotlights on set, switching to vegetarian food in canteens and avoiding short-haul flights, or switching to train journeys for the crew, to reduce their environmental impact.
A broad group of film and TV production companies, including giants Constantin Film, Bavaria Film, Studio Hamburg and UFA, have signed on to the initiative, as well as leading commercial networks RTL, ProSiebenSat.1, and Sky and public broadcasters ZDF, WDR, BR, NDR, SWR, RBB, as well as publicly controlled commercial production group Degeto. Netflix has committed to the Green Shooting initiative for all its German commissions.
Germany’s state funding bodies in the states of Hessen, Baden-Württemberg, and Hamburg/Schleswig-Holstein will make the new environmental standards a requirement for most production funding under their schemes. Regional funding bodies MDM and NordMedia have also committed to the initiative, subject to the approval of their respective supervisory bodies.
The Green Shooting scheme is voluntary but signatories will be bound to comply with certain minimum ecological standards, starting in 2022.
The main industry association for German actors, the Bundesverband Schauspiel, film editors, Bundesverband Filmschnitt Editor, and technical support staff, the Verband Technischer Betriebe für Film & Fernsehen, all support the initiative. The German Film Academy as well as producers association Allianz Deutscher Produzenten are recommending that their members comply with the new ecological standards. They however are calling on commissioners and state funding bodies to increase support to cover the additional costs of productions going green.
To qualify under the Green Shooting initiative, a film or TV series must meet at least 18 of 21 “must-have specifications.” Before beginning a shoot, producers must submit a sustainability report to be checked by the commissioning broadcaster or streamer, or the film-funding body backing the production. Alternatively, this check can be delegated to an external entity set up by the Green Shooting initiative at auditing company PwC. All approved final reports will be stored at the audit entity for statistical purposes. Qualifying productions will be awarded a “green motion” label.
The minimum ecological standards were drawn up by a working group that looked at 100 German film and TV productions that voluntarily converted to a more ecologically sustainable production method in 2020 and 2021.
Carl Bergengruen, MFG managing director and head of the Green Shooting working group said the initiative was “a first, important step” toward creating a common ecological standard in Germany for all film, TV and streaming productions.
The move toward a more sustainable entertainment industry comes as Germany’s Green party is in negotiations with the left-of-center Social Democrats and business-friendly Free Democrats to form the country’s next government to replace the center-right coalition led by Angela Merkel that has ruled Germany for the past 16 years. Environmental issues and the goal of making Germany a CO2-neutral country are key planks in the Green’s party platform.
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