Green gameplan for Biz

Hollywood aims to lower its carbon footprint

Hollywood is striving to lower its carbon footprint. That was the theme for Greening Hollywood Set by Set, a symposium hosted by the Location Managers Guild of America.

The event, held Sunday at the London Hotel, was moderated by California Film Commission director Amy Lemisch and included guest speakers Gretchen Lewotsky, VP of state and local government affairs and environmental operations, Fox Entertainment Group, along with Steven John, director of the EPA Southern California field office.

Lewotsky, chosen by the Climate Project as one of 1,000 people worldwide to be trained by Al Gore to give his “An Inconvenient Truth” slide show, described a depressing reality for the planet’s future if civilization continues on its present course.

John noted that Southern California’s air quality is the worst in the nation, and that California has an exceptionally high concentration of contaminated sites, including Superfund sites.

Both stressed the importance of “green” education.

The film industry contributes to air pollution (carbon and nitrous oxide emissions) and energy consumption; and there’s the physical impact of trucks and equipment on a variety of locations.

“More and more production companies are looking for ways to minimize their effect on the environment, and many have already adopted environmental practices in their day-to-day production activities,” Lemisch noted. “The biggest challenge is for productions on location, which is why sharing information at events like this one is so important.”

Lemisch has a background in film production, having overseen physical production as a producer for Penny Marshall’s Parkway Prods. prior to her CFC appointment in 2004.

Suggestions for practical strategies and “green” education within the industry were made by panelists: 20th Century Fox’s Lisa Day; locations manager Mike Fantasia; 20th Century Fox Television’s Mike Posey; CTP Media Consultants’ David Beck and Matthew Cooper; “CSI” co-producer Philip Conserva; and Fox Broadcasting Co.’s Joshua Mark.

Examples include:

  • Voluntary partnerships with the EPA will provide guidance regarding waste, fuel and pollutants;

  • “Energy star” products provide energy reduction;

  • Studio construction coordinators can build sets that are easily dismantled and reused or donated;

  • Biodiesel and renewable fuels should be utilized in generators and trucks. “CSI” now uses biodiesel; “24,” purchasing green energy, introduced hybrid cars to the show’s production fleets and powered equipment with biodiesel fuel, reducing its carbon emissions by nearly 40% from season six to season seven;

  • Recycle, recycle, recycle.

As evidence that “Going green does not have to mean seeing red,” Fantasia’s creative initiatives allowed writeoffs of $5,250 for Columbia Pictures’ “Girl, Interrupted” and $8,000 on DreamWorks’ “The Terminal” with the donation of excess catered meals to food banks. Bottom-line writeoffs of $8 per meal are allowed on donations to certain charitable organizations and protected by the Good Samaritan Act.

Fox touted its online management system for emailing scripts, call sheets, production reports, schedules and anything else instead of printing. Also, its FoxGreenGuide.com provides info on greening film, TV, sports productions and events and includes a vendor guide.

“This is an opportunity for industry professionals to brainstorm and incubate ideas for the future as well as exchange information on new and existing technologies we can use on the set day-to-day,” said David Berthiaume, one of the founding members of the LMGA and current location manager for “The Unit.”

Event directors were location managers Bonnie Sills and J.J. Levine.

Visit the California Film Commission’s Green Filmmaking Guide at Film.ca.gov for more info on going green.

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