Sustainability, green film shoots and how to promote Europe-wide ecologically- sound policies were among the topics chewed over by industry experts during this year’s Les Arcs Film Festival that took place this month from December 10 - 17.
Held in and around the French ski resort of Les Arcs, the festival’s industry programme hosted a trio of round table discussions under the banner ‘Co-production and Sustainability’, overseen by Les Arcs Film Festival head of industry Jérémy Zelnik.
Organised in partnership with European Audiovisual Entrepreneurs (EAVE), the training, project development and networking organisation– mixed experts (producers with specific knowledge regarding sustainable shootings, eco-managers and film funds) and producers attending Les Arcs.
The workshop kicked off with a presentation by Joost De Vries, head of Apostlab in The Netherlands, about how virtual production can lower the carbon footprint of productions.
Participants then exchanged information on how productions can be financially incentivised to adopt sustainable practices when shooting in particular European locations.
Alexander Dumreicher-Ivanceanu, producer and managing director of Austria and Luxembourg-based sales outfit Amour Rou, detailed how Austria’s pioneering new 35% production incentive is sustainably focused. Due to go live on January 1, 2023, the incentive includes a 5% provision carved out as an eco-friendly bonus. It is based on the implementation of sustainability criteria – the first of its kind in Europe.
Italy’s Trentino Film Fund and Commission also offers its Green Film rating and certification for sustainable film productions.
Green Film is currently the only system offering environmental certification of international co-productions, as the auditing of the projects can take place in every European country, using the same tools and procedure.
Following the presentations, the group split into three round tables.
Joining Dumreicher-Ivanceanu to talk about financing and mounting more sustainable co-productions was Jacopo Chessa (from the Veneto Film Commission), Ronny Fritsche (Sweden’s Zentropa), Sara Pennacchi (Italy’s Tico Film Company), Angelika Schouler (Paris-based Glaam Media Invest) and Zelnik, in his capacity as a producer at the outfits Dibona Films and Temps Noir.
Two key findings were the need for a European-wide harmonisation of the labelling and certifying green productions and a call for clarity across territories on what a ‘green shoot’ actually means.
“We would love the funds to speak to each other and help us understand what we need to do to be green,” Schouler said.
They also discussed a desire for tax incentives or bonuses for green productions, to be created for all productions, no matter which countries are coproducing, to ensure equality.
And international productions from outside Europe – especially big productions - should benefit from local tax credits in different European countries only if they have green shooting elements or have a green certification.
The panel also backed the call for European co-productions to focus more on regional co-productions to help drive down crew and talent travel.
A second panel was comprised of Apostlab’s De Vries, Ludovica Chiarini (EcoMuvi, Italy), Julie Billy (France’s June Films), Kristoffer Rus (Paprika Studios, Poland), and Antoine Simkine (president of ACE Producers and a producer at Les Films d’Antoine, France) who discussed the impact of green shoots and sustainable post-production for co-productions.
The panellists voiced the need to establish a common definition and methodology for green shoots across locations despite “significant differences” from one country to another.
“We don’t necessarily need to have one tool for all because that would never be able to address the differences between all the European operators. But we should all agree on how all the labels work and integrate with each other,” said Chiarini.
A third roundtable explored the vital role good communication plays in going green.
Mathieu Delahousse (Secoya, France), Alberto Battocchi (Trentino Film Fund and Commission, Italy), Sarah Chazelle (Jour2Fête and Party Film Sales, France) and André Logie (Panache Productions, Belgium) discussed strategy and the key moments during the production process – from financing, production, post-production, marketing and promotion – and why external and internal communication is important.
“The main risk of bad communication is greenwashing and one of the risks of good communication is financial, because it means rising costs,” Delahousse noted.
This year’s industry programme also included the launch of a workshop held in a hut in the mountains entitled “the 2030s Hut”. The event brought together 12 people including environmental activists, foresight specialists, journalists and film industry professionals to come up with actionable ideas to create more environmentally -friendly cinema
In the wake of the Mountain Hut 2030, participants decided to launch the ‘Collective 5%’ of audio-visual companies to reduce carbon emissions and footprints, initially among French companies before rolling out across Europe.
This article originally appeared on KFTVs sister site, Screendaily.