Executives at Film Paris Region, the dedicated production commission for France’s Ile-de-France region, hope to make 2020 a transformative year in their ongoing push to promote sustainability as an innate industry practice. With that objective in mind, regional authorities have entered the new decade touting the results of a three-year study they undertook in partnership with the European Regional Development Fund and the French sustainability collective EcoProd, and now hope to put those ideas into action.
Since 2017, Film Paris Region has partnered with seven international counterparts to form Green Screen, a collective-action project meant to reduce the European film industry’s shared carbon footprint. Each member was given a specific avenue of investigation, with the French asked to identify technological innovations applicable on an industrial scale.
Film Paris Region executive and former EcoProd project manager Joanna Gallardo teamed with innovation expert Benoit Ruiz to identify and subsequently investigate a swath of new practices and technological breakthrough targeted at the audio-visual sector and encompassing every phase from pre-production through to distribution. “We began with 300 technological innovations, which we then whittled down to 30,” Gallardo explains. “We then analyzed each one from an economical, technical, and environmental perspective.”
The 30 innovations run the gamut from a hydrogen-powered generator meant to reduce diesel dependency, to a new broadcasting device that would ease the bandwidth used by streaming videos, to an original program for recycling cups, though there is one constant shared by each and every one. “We chose these specific projects not only because they offered new ideas or responses to questions asked. They were also chosen for their ability to be put into place quickly.”
Gallardo and Ruiz capped their study with a panel at the London production forum Focus this past December, and will spend the coming months presenting each of their 30 innovations to local players. “We’ve spent a long time talking about this in theory, and now the plan is to present the concrete solutions,” says Gallardo. “We want to get these projects into the right hands and get them moving.”
Gallardo cites Munich’s carbon-neutral Bavaria Studios as a guiding example in her push to promote more sustainable production locales in the Ile-de-France region, though she does anticipate some preliminary pushback. “The challenge is to help people understand that these solutions will not cost them more money,” she adds. “Granted, they do require an initial investment in materials, but over time they will yield a strong return in investment.”
On that front, the regional commission has found a powerful ally in the international streamers looking for studio space in town, many of which have strict requirements for sustainable practices. “Companies like Netflix require the studios to be eco-responsible,” Gallardo continues. “They want them to be certified, and ask for certification numbers. They don’t overlook it, and because they very much need space, it pushes our local studios to adopt an eco-responsible infrastructure in order to remain competitive.”
And so, as Gallardo sees it, that makes for a winning proposition. “Some have these preconceived notions that this processes will cost them more money and serve no real purpose,” she notes. “[But] these operators can count on additional opportunities and clients, as well as lower energy bills coupled with higher technical performance. By reducing their energy footprint, they’re also reducing their overall costs, and that will make them more competitive in the marketplace.”
Pictured: Six industry players in France, including the film commission for the Paris region, launched the Ecoprod initiative to persuade the production sector to reduce its environmental footprint.