Greening The BC Film Industry

With the filmmaking industry growing the way it is in BC, production companies are meeting the challenge of working in more environmentally sustainable ways.

The issues surrounding the greening of filmmaking, both on-screen and off, comes into focus at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival, during a two-day forum.

B.C. is one of the top three international full-service production centres in North America with more than 65 film studios, the industry contributed $3.4 billion to the province’s economy in 2017-18.

With so many things in production year round, there are many opportunities to develop enviornmentally sound filmmaking practices. Some of the strategies we’re consistently seeing include switching to electricity from diesel generators, using hybrid cars, implementing a print-on-demand system and reducing the consumption of beef on set.

As a script supervisor, I am seeing the swtich from paper to digital tools such as laptops and ipads with software like ScriptE and Scriptation to perform our roles on set, and personal use items like reusable water bottles and coffee mugs are becoming the norm rather than disposable water bottles and paper cups.

A number of movies and television shows have started keeping track of sustainable practices. As an example: 21st Century Fox says on its website that its “X-Files” season 10 production managed to divert 81 percent of its total waste from landfills and by recycling all of the aluminum and steel used in construction. “X-Files” Season 10 was filmed in 40 locations across B.C., each requiring elaborate set construction, lengthy transportation demands and intensive fuel use. Greening this production even saved the company $41,000, the website says!

Making movies is about creating new worlds and the sets made for those worlds require wood, much of which is lauan wood and comes from Southeast Asia – from rainforests. If the wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified then it is a better option. Anything with an ecolabel is more responsibly managed.

Much of the sustainable lifestyle choices we make on set are frequently seen on screen too, with heroes driving electric or hybrid cars, characters using reusable water bottles, and recycling household garbage. Film and TV is a great influencer over cultures, so seeing these things play out on screen helps to foster their use in our everyday lives.

Next time you’re on set, take note of the things we are doing to practice environmentally responsible, sustainable filmmaking in BC!