How EVERGREEN PRISMA makes the interfaces of knowledge, practice and exchange visible, accessible and usable for filmmakers in real terms.
Tools, Transfer, Spotlight – With the EVERGREEN PRISMA, the LOWER AUSTRIAN FILM COMMISSION (LAFC) was able to create a unique and comprehensive green filming service throughout Europe. As a film commissioner, what motivated you to address the issue of sustainable filmmaking?
I came across the topic right at the beginning of my work setting up the LAFC in 2012. Against the backdrop of alarming climate and environmental facts and the accompanying urgency to take effective measures to reduce CO2, the step to realise a practice-oriented green filming service for my own industry was a necessity for me.
The interfaces of knowledge, practice and exchange should be made visible, accessible and, above all, usable in real terms for filmmakers. Hence the start of targeted outreach work in 2018 through the Green Guide, events and lectures.
The province of Lower Austria made this possible. At the beginning of 2020, we then launched the Green Filming Service EVERGREEN PRISMA. This consists of the innovative, digital knowledge platform, our professional mediation programme, and includes important tools for practice and targeted networking. In this way, we facilitate the acquisition of skills for the practical implementation of sustainably oriented film productions in a particularly effective way. The transnational and transgenerational orientation of our service is deliberately included.
Because green filming needs forward-looking work, practical approaches, the involvement of partners and service sectors. It is about working together, not about competing business models. For this, cooperation and synergies that complement each other in a meaningful way, of course also beyond national or resort borders, play a very central role.
The Evergreen Prisma with its colourful spectrum should stimulate, enable, promote and strengthen the (self-)effectiveness of filmmakers for a climate-neutral film industry – and that is what it is now doing quite vital, vibrant and energetic.
Education for the future – The LAFC’s green education programme includes subject-specific webinars for individual departments, such as Green Storytelling or Lighting & Camera, as well as further education for the new profession of Green Film Consultant Austria. Can you tell us something about the background of your programme? What exactly does a Green Film Consultant do and why is it especially important for filmmakers to opt for green training now?
Our programme is becoming more and more colourful. A central action point of Evergreen Prisma is currently the training of the Green Film Consultant Austria (GFCA) for Cinema & TV in cooperation with the international expert Philip Gassmann. Thanks to us, the first professional representatives of this profession have been in Austria since June 2021. We dedicate a separate section in the Connective on lafc.at/greenguide to their portraits, which also serve as serious proof, as a certificate for the acquired competence at a high level, we work well together here.
The Green Film Consultants Austria trained by Philip Gassmann and us are able to sustainably evaluate, align, competently accompany and document (inter)national film projects on the basis of their practice-oriented training. A course with 14 participants is currently running, and we will be offering further training courses from January 2022. The focus is clearly on know-how, practical relevance and interaction.
Together with Philip Gassmann and with the involvement of other cooperation partners, we are constantly developing our education programme. This means that our training for the necessary film profession of Green Film Consultant Austria not only has its finger on the pulse of the times, but also always sheds light on current trends and developments in the industry at home and abroad, which we ourselves continue to help shape. Our programme is enriched by invited guests to share their valuable knowledge with the trainees. A rotating examination committee of experts has been established.
We have also boosted the internationalisation of our GFCA for co-productions: with bridges to training institutions and associations, we are also getting transnational green filmmaking off the ground together with close cooperation partners and Philip Gassmann, the link and originator of green filming training in Germany, among others. The Evergreen Prisma with its toolbox will soon also offer a very specific service for our GFCA.
Green Film Consultancy is a new profession in the field of film management. The Green Film Consultant occupies a staff position and is to be established as a fully-fledged and equal trade in the production. The assignment of a Green Film Consultant takes place at the earliest possible point in time, but at the latest within the framework of production preparation. The activity covers all production phases, i.e. preparation, shooting, post-production and completion up to film exploitation. Depending on the size of the company or project, it is advisable to additionally assign an internal sustainability manager and integrate him/her into the production team or to involve a Green Runner as the person responsible on set.
In addition to profound film experience and knowledge of all procedures in the production process of a film project, certain personal skills and qualifications such as credibility through personal motivation and commitment, communication skills, assertiveness and team spirit are also relevant for this professional field. The ability to network as well as competences in the fields of ecology, new technologies and psychology are also among the essential prerequisites to be able to pursue this profession as well. The target group for our practice-oriented further training to become a Green Film Consultant are preferably filmmakers from the creative and technical trades, especially from the area of production and recording management or set and motif recording management.
The Green Film Consultant optimises the entire production process of a film project according to ecological aspects. In doing so, possible potentials and alternatives for action are determined on a project-specific basis, through which resources can be conserved and emissions reduced. Strategies are defined and control measures are implemented. Energy management is also increasingly part of the Green Film Consultant’s tasks.
The approach is systematic and takes place in close coordination with all departments. Communication with the entire team as well as with external service providers and companies is just as important for the successful implementation of green filming as communicating the results of the measures taken, for example to film funding institutions.
In our education programme we also offer specific events on individual trades – in the second week of November, for example, Green Storytelling for screenwriters or Green Filming for the areas of set, costume and make-up. Registrations for these are accepted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Calculate it! – In cooperation with KlimAktiv, LAFC was able to develop Austria’s first film-specific CO₂ calculator. What are the advantages for the Austrian film industry?
We have taken the calculator that KlimAktiv developed for the film funding agency MFG, which is already widely used in Germany, as a basis and adapted it for the local film industry by adding Austria-specific calculation factors. A fine example of synergy!
Data can now be collected on a truly industry-specific basis, thus guaranteeing the necessary high standard in Austria as well. There is even a common intersection of data and thus a potential added value: due to their comparability across national borders and the synchronised categories, sustainably oriented co-productions are also becoming feasible and more feasible.
The calculation of pollutant emissions by means of a CO₂ calculator allows the most climate-relevant areas of film projects, the so-called ‚hotspots‘, to be quickly identified. In this way, potential savings can be located and clear action strategies for a sustainably oriented film production can be derived. After the end of production, a balance sheet is then drawn up, which is used as part of a green final report for film funding institutions such as the Austrian Film Institute or also for certification with the Austrian Eco-label for Film and TV, the UZ 76.
A Europe-wide calculator has not yet been implemented, and its usefulness has also been discussed quite controversially in the green network for years.
Initially, the EU countries will (have to) collect corresponding, potentially comparable data, as exact calculations are based on country-specific factors – the combination of country-specific data and data to be extrapolated in general is, of course, already being considered, but it is not easy to implement at present.
The data should be as meaningful, verifiable and evaluable as possible in order to be able to take further effective steps based on it. This kind of serious data collection is made possible by our calculator as a uniform instrument for the domestic film industry, and it is also very user-friendly. The UZ 76 eco-label, the BMKOES and the Austrian Film Insitute recommend its use, and our GFCAs naturally work with it. Soon there will be a version optimised together with our network and KlimAktiv, which we will make available.
Green Filming Tirol – What opportunities and possibilities do you see in connection with Green Filming for Tyrolean filmmakers and Tirol as shooting location?
Green Filming is becoming increasingly obligatory for domestic and international film funding. This means that there is an urgent need for uniform, well-founded professionalisation with regard to the planning, submission, coordination, implementation and (data) evaluation of green film projects. The declared goal is the lowest possible or neutral CO2 footprint. The need for competent GFCAs is therefore increasing rapidly. Against this background, Tyrolean filmmakers are of course also invited to orient themselves towards sustainable filmmaking and to make themselves fit for it through our high-quality further training offers. Of course, our offer also applies to them. After all, numerous TV productions are taking place in Tyrol in cooperation with Germany, and in Germany green filming will already be obligatory from 2022 onwards.
At this point we would like to thank our cooperation partner Cine Tirol, we are working together in a forward-looking way, which is exactly what sustainable filmmaking is all about!
Sustainable filmmaking is more than avoiding paper – your green tip for the (Austrian) film industry!
Broaden your green horizon. Search for solutions together. Make it possible.
An example: In order to be able to act effectively and in a time-saving manner in the course of the green transformation, I have been trying for many years to work together with colleagues and partner institutions, both in the national and international context.
Many are increasingly aware of their own responsibility or their potential power to shape a smart course towards an environmentally and climate-friendly creative industry. Through our good cooperation, we have been able to develop very concrete, interlocking measures that can be implemented by filmmakers.
Last but not least, the entire network benefits from learning from each other. This is of great importance in the strategy of Evergreen Prisma, it is part of its original idea. In this sense, the LAFC passes on its know-how without hurdles. We develop urgent issues in exchange, and in this way we want to (re-)act as quickly as possible. We now work as a central competence centre for sustainable filmmaking and have an interdisciplinary effect here. We are also already generating added value for the green orientation of other fields of art and culture.
It is important for green agendas that there is a constant comparison with practice and that different perspectives are included. For this reason, we not only provide filmmakers with useful knowledge for practical implementation and accompany them in their projects, but have also been passing on our knowledge to partner institutions for years. The groups for the further training courses for Green Film Consultants Austria (GFCA) are therefore deliberately mixed, and we also train colleagues from other film funding institutions such as the Austrian Film Institute or FISA and other film funding institutions. Cine Tirol will be there for the next course!
For me, this is an essential procedure, because in this way more and more participants and, in the best case, also the decision-makers can fall back on well-founded, shared knowledge.
An important basis of trust is created, understanding grows because it is based on a common knowledge base. So in the best case we know what we are talking about, what we are working for and how we can implement the most effective measures together.
The bundle of measures currently available in Austria is promising: the UZ 76 new, the Evergreen Prisma with the specific CO2 calculator for cinema & TV productions, the green action guide of the Austrian Film Insitute. It will now encourage other film funding institutions to make their own guideline extensions.
The whole thing is in a very dynamic process that has already brought about a new and intensive form of cooperation with filmmakers and between institutions at the green interface. From impulse to movement, that is how one could describe this development. This can also be applied quite clearly to film projects, you just have to know how. And the colourful how, that’s what we have, that’s the kaleidoscope of Evergreen Prisma.
LOWER AUSTRIAN FILM COMMISSION – LAFC
Abteilung Kunst und Kultur
Mag. Dietlind Rott
Landhausplatz 1, Haus 2
3109 St. Pölten
Tel.: +43 2742 90 05 13 210
- LAFC | EVERGREEN PRISMA
- LAFC | TRANSFER
- LAFC | The filmspecific LAFC CO₂-Calculator for movie and tv-productions in Austria