Newsletter #3, December 2020
Welcome to Cut It.
The crew-led initiative for the climate crisis.
A Screen New Deal – A Route Map to Sustainable Film Production
The long-awaited Screen New Deal is out! Commissioned by BAFTA Albert and the BFI ARUP’s report is intended to be a ‘routemap’ to a carbon neutral industry. Don’t have time to read all 60 pages? Here’s our summary…
Examining the current state of the industry, global trends, and best practices, the Screen New Deal outlines five areas for improvement: production materials, energy and water, studio buildings and facilities, studio sites and locations, and production planning.
We’ve summarised some key ideas below…
Carbon Accounting. Practices for calculating a production’s carbon footprint need to align, in order to compare globally and learn from each other. Standardisation will mean more accurate measurements of the true impact of the industry, in the UK and worldwide.
Collaboration. Greater collaboration is needed between crew members of different departments, which can be achieved through cloud-based digital collaboration platforms. This more effective communication will facilitate the planning and delivering of sustainable productions.
Planning. Planning in pre-production is crucial to becoming more sustainable, with each of the production stages needing to be considered. Budgets can be reallocated to support production departments to plan for end-of-use from the start of the shoot. Scheduling is also key to reducing emissions, with last minute planning often resulting in an increase of carbon emissions.
Studios. Studios need to encourage and support productions to be more sustainable by providing the necessary physical and digital infrastructure. This should be further enforced by industry bodies, investors, and larger productions taking a lead by cutting their emissions, and setting a net zero carbon and zero waste agenda.
Cut It’s view on the screen new deal…?
It contains many exciting ideas which we would love to see widely implemented. However, with no industry body or government department to guide, let alone enforce their implementation, companies can choose to use, or ignore these as they wish. Let’s be honest, in a busy industry, how many Heads of Production will read this report?
The Screen New Deal is a good start, but optimism alone doesn’t make change happen. The transition of our industry to a carbon zero future is urgent, and needs ownership, yet the onus of responsibility falls nowhere.
However, the UK does have an industry body who could own this transition: and that is the BFI.
The BFI is funded by the government, which needs to meet its climate targets. It has also declared a climate emergency, yet has taken negligible real action. Why is BAFTA’s Albert being required to do all the heavy lifting for greening our industry, despite it having no means of securing buy-in from the features industry?
BFI, only you can ensure that our industry transitions to carbon zero. It is your task to own.
BFI, we need you, are you out there?
Want To Help Your Department Do Better?
The Camera Department Sustainability Guide.
Camera assistants in BECTU’s camera branch have developed a guide for improving their department’s sustainable practices. With practical tips broken down into pre-production, camera prep, production, de-rig, and general kit and consumables, it covers every aspect of working as an AC.
They suggest sending a letter to production during prep, signalling the department’s intentions – they even supply a downloadable template. What line producer could fail to be won over by such positive action? The document also offers fascinating info from BAFTA Albert on the carbon footprint of TV productions and a list of further online resources, documentaries, and podcasts. The Working Sustainably within Camera guide can be found here.
The Costume Directory was created by costume designer and Cut It member, Sinéad Kidao. It is an open resource that connects designers and buyers with suppliers and brands who prioritise sustainability, environmental responsibility, and fair trade. It outlines considerations when choosing a supplier and provides links to co-operatives, individual artisans, and weavers across the world, who are sustaining traditional crafts in an environmentally conscious way. It features practical tips on dealing with textile waste and many useful links. The Costume Directory was published with the support of BAFTA Albert and can be found here.
Hair and Make-up Ethical Card
The Ethical Card was devised by a group of hair and make-up artists, led by Helena Card, who were inspired by Sinéad’s Costume Directory. It is a website compiling ideas and resources for minimising the department’s carbon footprint as much as possible. An ethical directory allows you to browse environmentally conscious brands and companies across make-up, hair, skincare, tools, reusables, vendors, and charitable redistribution. Practical advice on how to reduce waste and what can be asked from productions before starting a job can be found on the website’s blog. All of this can be found on the Ethical Card website here.
Crew4Climate With Jacqueline Durran and Seamus McGarvey
Are you too busy to become an active eco-warrior, but still want to express your thoughts, worries and hopes surrounding climate change and our industry? Then #Crew4Climate might be the right outlet for you!
The campaign was created to normalise sustainable filmmaking by giving voice to crew to open up about the crisis, start conversations about our environmental impact and inspire film crews to challenge tradition.
The campaign was created by Victoria Emslie and Anna Valdez Hanks, with more volunteers from CUT IT getting involved in organising and executing interviews, editing and promoting. As Anna says “We all need to make changes to how we work, none of us are perfect and the processes of our industry means that we lead particularly high carbon lifestyles for our work – so the idea is to begin to own this problem and start conversations. Because crew often respect and revere HoD’s so highly it felt right to begin the conversations here.”
Do you want to share your own feelings, fears and hopes for a more sustainable film industry? Or do you know someone who you think should be interviewed? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved!
Cut It Goes Greener
We are happy to announce that CUT IT’s website is now on Kualo, a 100% renewable energy server. And to make things even better, we now have a webpage where we collate resources on good practice, such as departmental-specific guides and how you can support change by making a pledge.
Cut It Recommends….
… The Screening Green Podcast
Screening Green explores the environmental impact of film and TV productions, and the ways in which we are working now to minimise this effect as well as further improve it in the future. The series has six episodes of around 15 minutes in length, covering various aspects of sustainability and featuring interviews from leaders in sustainability and production including Steve Smith (chair of Directors UK), Aaron Matthews (Head of Industry Sustainability at BAFTA Albert), Michelle Jenkins (Head of Production Services and Film Commissioner at Film London), and many more.
This is what Daniel Copping, maker of the Screening Green podcast, said on why he made the podcast:
“Whilst studying at University we had a guest lecturer come in who told us about sustainable filmmaking. A lot of what she said resonated with me and I began to realise how unsustainable a lot of my practice was. This led me to completely focus on ensuring the production I was making was done in a more sustainable way. I then decided to take Albert’s Carbon Literacy training and used this knowledge on my graduate project, which culminated in the creation of the Screening Green podcast.”
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