Birgit Heidsiek

Thinking and acting sustainably - how the Green Film Shooting platform and the Green Cinema Handbook can help.


Green Film Shooting – Sustainability is already a key issue in many industries (e.g. vehicle manufacturing, energy industry). What motivated you to launch Green Film Shooting as an international platform for the film and media industry?

Green Film Shooting was born out of the idea of bringing together two worlds between which there were few points of contact. The film and media industry is an international industry with a global business model that profits from its glamour factor. Ecology, environmental protection and sustainability have been a topic that has not received much attention, either socially or in the media, for decades. My wish was that film productions themselves should focus on more environmentally friendly methods and measures and at the same time act as a positive role model to give ecology a broader social relevance. With waste management and the phasing out of nuclear power, Germany was an international pioneer in 2012, but in the film production sector there were already initial initiatives in France, Belgium and the USA at that time aimed at resource-saving measures, means and methods.

By collecting this various diverse information, an international centre for sustainability in the film and media industry has grown organically, which has inspired more and more projects in many regions and countries since its foundation in 2012. Sustainability is always a process that can still be optimised. Green Film Shooting has also continued to develop and now thematically maps the entire spectrum of film and media production, ranging from the script and production to cinema exploitation and the carbon footprint caused by data traffic. At the same time, the depth of information has increased, as many subjects and issues require complex consideration in terms of ecological impact.

My approach is to present practicable and affordable best practice examples that can be used in the film and media sector in an energy- and resource-saving way. This is done on our online platform, in the German-English print magazine, but also within the framework of expert lectures, workshops and panel discussions at home and abroad.


Green Cinema – What active contribution can cinemas in particular make to protect the climate?

Cinemas can not only raise audience awareness of topics such as environmental and climate protection with films, but also reduce CO2 emissions and thus costs in cinema operations with numerous measures. As the Green Cinema Officer of the German Federal Film Board (FFA), I have developed the Green Cinema Handbook, a best practice guide for cinema operators.

In the fields of action energy efficiency, green electricity, concession and waste management, the legal framework conditions, requirements and successful tried and tested solutions are presented. One third of the total energy consumption goes into heating, cooling and lighting buildings alone. For example, cinemas can reduce their heating costs with modern ventilation systems with heat recovery and a high degree of efficiency. A growing number of cinemas produce green electricity with an in-house photovoltaic system that can be stored for time-shifted use.

The environmental and climate protection commitment in cinemas is most visible at the concession counter. More and more cinemas are banning plastic packaging and products containing palm oil. Instead, there is popcorn made from organic corn in paper bags. Drinks are offered in glasses and glass bottles, which significantly reduces waste. For many cinemas, this is also a question of credibility, because it does not fit together to show films about the destruction of rainforests, but to sell chocolate or crackers with ecologically questionable ingredients such as palm oil at the counter.


Green Glamour – More and more film festivals are committing themselves to sustainability. What challenges do festival organisers face under certain circumstances and what are the possible solutions?

Just as with cinemas, energy and waste are areas of high CO2 emissions at festivals. Another heavyweight is the travel of visitors, which can only be influenced by offers such as combined tickets with the train or public transport as well as bicycle stands and rental bikes. Size, availability, costs and logistics are decisive criteria in the selection of venues and meeting places such as cinemas or congress centres. But there are also some levers to be tightened.

The Berlin International Film Festival, for example, has taken a whole range of measures to make the Berlinale environmentally friendly, such as purchasing green electricity in the Berlinale Palast, using a reusable red carpet whose yarn was made from recycled fishing nets, discounted train tickets for accredited persons, a deposit cup system for coffee, sustainable mineral water sponsorship and vegetarian catering at all official Berlinale events. In addition, there is EMAS certification, which teaches the staff more sustainable measures and methods in everyday office life.


Green Filming Tirol – What opportunities and possibilities do you see in connection with green filming for Tyrolean companies and Tirol as shooting location?

The principles of environmentally friendly film production include the use of regional products and services, which benefits the local economy. This includes local accommodation for cast and crew, catering with ingredients and preparation, but also technical services such as the provision of construction power lines at outdoor locations. In addition, of course, there is municipal waste management and disposal.

Sustainable production strategies also lead to careful use of resources and stricter compliance with nature conservation requirements, which is welcomed by locals. The requirements of sustainable film productions can also form the basis for new business models, ranging from wood workshops for decorative construction to bicycle rental.


Green Filming is more than just a reusable coffee cup – Your green tip!

There is no waste in nature. We too should be guided by the principles of the circular economy when we buy or use a product and ask ourselves:


  • What materials have been used for this?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Have petroleum-based or renewable raw materials been used for it?
  • Are there any toxic substances in it?
  • What was the production process of this product like?
  • Under what working conditions was it produced?
  • Where was the product produced?
  • What water footprint is associated with it?
  • By what means was it transported?
  • How long do we use the product when we buy it?
  • Is it possible to repair the product if it is defective?
  • Are spare parts available?
  • What happens to the product when it is disposed of? Can certain raw materials be reused from it?
  • What is the environmental balance associated with disposal?
  • What is the life cycle assessment of the product?


If we apply appropriate selection criteria in our purchasing decisions, coated paper cups, fast fashion products, cheap meat and hardware obsolescence are no longer an option. This saves energy, resources, water, waste and thus protects our environment and the climate.



Green Film Shooting/Green Cinema – Green Cinema Officer of the German Federal Film Board
Birgit Heidsiek
Hermann-Behn-Weg 21
20146 Hamburg
Tel.: +49 40 410 4507
Mail:; info@grü


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