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The film industry is a climate killer : Where do you go to the Green Film?

What do the red carpet of the Berlinale, Nora Fingscheidt's Oscar candidate “Systemsprenger” and the last Richy-Müllert “Tatort” have in common? They were produced in a resource-saving manner. The Berlinale carpet this year consisted of marine litter and discarded fishing nets.

"Systemsprenger" was awarded the Green Rotation Pass, a certificate issued by the Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein Film Funding. The SWR produced the crime scene "Guardian of the Threshold" with a sustainability officer, according to the voluntary rules of "Green Shooting".

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Fly less, take more trains, more LED lights, electric and CNG natural gas vehicles - and just no plastic dishes on the catering bus: filmmakers have not only wanted to reduce their ecological footprint since Fridays for Future.

The industry-financed film funding agency (FFA) has published a “Green Cinema Guide” to encourage film theaters to save energy.

The Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg provides lists of sustainable service providers through its Film Commission. Funding agencies offer workshops, additional costs due to sustainability can be estimated. In Baden-Württemberg a manual for producers is in progress. A few examples among many.

Waste reduction, lighting and organic cosmetics

"Green consultants" can hardly save themselves from assignments these days. They recommend producers to use CO2 calculators, coach teams in matters of waste reduction, lighting and organic cosmetics, and give tips on the main polluters, travel and energy. One of these coaches is the environmental consultant Philip Gassmann.

He thinks it's wrong that the climate debate is primarily about renunciation. "It's not about bans, but about a boost in creativity, about new high-tech that enables more efficient work". Which doesn't even have to be more expensive overall. Illuminating a set with LED balloons saves time and money.

Gassmann travels a lot. He praises the private broadcaster Sky, which is the only TV broadcaster that obliges its contract producers to shoot in an environmentally friendly manner. If you don't stick to it, you risk the last installment. The SWR has also been asking for environmental compatibility for a long time in tenders.

"With some" crime scenes ", the CO2 emissions could be reduced by up to 50 percent," says Gassmann.

ZDF, Pro 7 and WDR are on the way, guidelines are being formulated. Constantin is particularly committed among the cinema producers, "Green production has become part of their DNA," says the environmental consultant. Bavaria is climate neutral, the studio premises in Geiselgasteig draws its energy from hydropower, solar systems and natural gas. The rest is compensated by supporting a geothermal project in Indonesia.

All of that sounds great at first. Because anyone who makes films, be it cinema dramas or cooking shows, is an environmental offender, quite inevitable. According to a British study, one hour of TV programming generates 13.5 tons of CO2. In a feature film, the CO2 total is between a hundred and a thousand tons, in a US blockbuster a few thousand tons can easily be added.

And because the world of media always has to do with image, green production is now very much in vogue - even if the steel, aluminum or mineral oil industries cause significantly higher greenhouse gas emissions.

Soft goals are formulated

Unfortunately, there is far more talk than done. The industry's CO2 emissions are still rising, that's "the bitter news," says Gassmann - not to mention the viewers' energy consumption. The Green Rotary Pass has existed since 2012, this year it went to Fatih Akin's “The Golden Glove” and was awarded for the 157th time at the end of September, to “The Rosenheim Cops”. Makes an average of 20 TV and cinema productions per year. With around 250 films a year and over 700,000 minutes of commissioned broadcasting, that's a joke.

Can additional costs for sustainable turning be claimed? Sounds good too, but it is well known that funding amounts are approved as a whole. Everyone takes the train up to 400 kilometers? Are there such short-flight routes at all?

According to Ben von Dobenck, production manager and managing director of the Berlin production company, Accomplizen Film (“Toni Erdmann”), it quickly becomes difficult when 200 to 300 people are involved in a production.

“They all have to pull together. If the acting agent insists on the contractual clause that the actor is allowed to travel to the set by plane, that increases the carbon footprint significantly. ”At least the accomplices Film provides the producers with 1st class rail cards during a shoot to make rail travel more attractive close.

The FFA's sustainability officer speaks of small states

It is like the grand coalition's climate package: soft targets, voluntary commitments and the will to pay indulgences as compensation are formulated. Why is film politics not applying more pressure?

"Film is the interplay of many trades, so it is not easy to 'green' everything," says the Hamburg state funder Christiane Dopp, who initiated the Green Rotary Pass. Even if the sensitivity for the topic has grown.

The film journalist Birgit Heidsiek also remembers that the producers had other concerns a few years ago. But she too can sing a song about greenwashing.

Heidsiek runs the Internet platform “Green Film Shooting” and publishes the magazine of the same name. She is the FFA's sustainability officer and is on the road all over Europe when it comes to “Green Film”. She speaks of small states. If we worked together more nationally and internationally, we would be much further along. "Instead of working out European solutions, the best practice principles are being reformulated in each region and their own CO2 calculators are being developed."

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