Sustainable Filmmaking

The human impact on climate and environment is immense. As the world population grows demand increases for fresh water and fertilisers, tropical rainforests are felled at an exponential rate, seas are overfished and natural resources and raw materials are consumed. Terms like particulate matter, carbon dioxide, greenhouse gases and material scarcity are now part of the everyday currency in the media. All around us, the effects of climate change are becoming more apparent.

Filmmakers and producers can do a lot to help improve the climate and environment. From experience we know that a film or series generally produces about 73 tons of CO2. This figure tells us little in itself, but a film produces ten times more over two months than the ordinary Flemish family in a year. These emissions originate from material consumption (29%), transport of cast and crew (23%), post- production (19%), equipment transport (16%), accommodation (5%), catering (3%), production and consumption of electricity (3%) and heating (2%).

The audiovisual sector's environment responsibility exists on three levels: as an employer, as a message carrier and as a producer.

As an employer you provide an office for the workforce, make arrangements about commuting to work, sort waste, lay on power and heating: these are all areas in which the principles of sustainability can be brought to bear.

Your basic choices make a difference too. The audiovisual sector can lead the way when it comes to raising environmental issues as a matter for discussion.

As a producer, finally, you have a major impact during the pre-production, production and post-production phases of your project, and you can contribute effectively by making conscious and sustainable choices. While these choices are positive for the environment, they can also work in favour of the production budget. It's a matter of good planning and common sense.

In 2013 Flanders became a pioneer in the area of sustainable filmmaking, thanks in part to the efforts of the VAF. The Screen Flanders economic fund joined the movement and now issues the ‘Duurzaam Filmen’ brochure (currently only available in Dutch) for its support projects. This brochure offers a raft of specific tips, and, if needs be, you can always call on the expertise of the VAF sustainability coordinator. For more information on sustainable filming visit the VAF website (www.vaf.be / duurzaam filmen).

While green production is not yet obligatory, Screen Flanders aims to raise awareness in this field.