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  • Writer's pictureShaun Travis Pulsifer

The Importance of Sustainable Film Production in the Entertainment Industry

As an Entertainment Business Graduate Student, Filmmaker, and Candidate in the current Alberta Provincial Election representing the Green Party of Alberta, I am passionate about creating sustainability within the film industry. Many other areas outside of Alberta have found ways to make film sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint, which I believe will benefit the Alberta Film Industry. For example, in British Columbia, Create BC, in partnership with Reel Green BC, has begun moving its film industry toward a more sustainable future for its industry.

The film is an industry that leaves a significant carbon footprint; the Environmental Protection Agency released a study that says that a single big-budget film produces 3,000 metric tons of carbon which equate to a regular car driving 7 million miles. It's time to change this, to find new ways to fulfill the energy needs of film productions.

So how do we make film productions more sustainable?

There are many approaches to making a film production of any size more sustainable. One of the first steps is to reduce waste on film sets. Film sets are notorious for waste; one of the biggest waste producers is within the Craft Service and Catering departments. Hence, the amount of packaging thrown out and single-use plastic to feed hundreds of crew members multiple times daily. To help reduce the food waste footprint, recycling programs need to go in place on film sets so that reusable waste can be reused. We must reduce, reuse and recycle anything and everything that can be recycled.

Another element that can be reduced is paper screenplays. Instead of using paper and printing out the daily revisions of a script, why not switch to digital copies that can quickly be sent to those that need them? Also, if paper scripts are required, shred and recycle them once completed rather than tossing them into the daily trash heap of the production.

The most significant area that needs to see changes is using diesel generators. These generators are where 3,000 metric tons of carbon are generated. This is because the film needs lights, and these generators produce the light for a film on location. But there are alternatives to these diesel power generators; film sets can use electric generators. These generators aren't just great for reducing a carbon footprint but also minimize sound pollution on set, reducing the need to do ADR in postproduction.

The future is Green, no matter how hard people want to fight. Change is never easy, but where we are in today's world, it is necessary no more than ever. I believe that to encourage these changes not just in Alberta but globally; additional incentives need to be offered to the Film Industry by governments to encourage bringing sustainable productions to their jurisdictions.

I may be a candidate for the Green Party of Alberta, but as an Entertainment Business Grad Student starting a production company upon graduation, sustainability will be top of mind and at the heart of what that business will offer. We have to start somewhere. Why not start now?

Reel Green. Creative BC. (2023, May 17).

Staff, S. N. (2022, August 17). TV and film companies are working toward a more sustainable industry. Scripps News.,driven%20by%20a%20regular%20car.

Dsouza, M. (2023, March 8). Sustainable sets – electric generators in film. Portable Electric.

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