Away We Go Green: Focus Features Production Embraces More Sustainable Filmmaking

away we go green photo

Among the greener filmmaking practices employed on the set were using refillable water bottles and biodegradable plastics, as well as using biodiesel in location vehicles. Images: Film In Focus

Though there are plenty of films out there spreading green messages, if you’ve even been on a film set you know that there are generally more immediate issues at hand than the eco-friendliness of the filmmaking process itself. Well, on the set of Focus FeaturesAway We Go, directed by Sam Mendes, green concerns played a more central role.

As part of a pilot project lead by Earthmark/Green Media Solutions (and supported by NBC’s Green is Universal initiative) the production team tried to increase implementation of better sustainability practices in the four areas: Energy, transportation, construction and set materials, and waste. Here’s how they did it; it’s a pretty impressive list:Biodiesel, Biodegradable Plastics, Three Perf Film
For all location vehicles and generators biodiesel fuels were used (collected from some 1800 New York City restaurants by Tri-State Biodiesel). Gasoline-powered vehicles were replaced with hybrids where possible.

The entire cast and crew were given reusable aluminum water bottles, replacing the ubiquitous plastic water bottle on set.

Craft services and catering purchased local and organic food for the cast and crew; they also used corn and sugar-based disposable dinnerware to replace petroleum-based plastics.

Low energy washers and driers were used by the wardrobe department. Eco-friendly cleaning products were also used (donated by Seventh Generation in exchange for product placement... welcome to film school lesson 101 in how to get things you need for free).

On a technical note, the production was shot using three-perf film (normal 35mm motion picture stock but the image area takes up three instead of the standard four sprocket holes), thereby using 25% less film and chemicals to shoot and process.

All of the carbon emission reductions of the film, as well as other environment achievements were verified by Terra Choice of Ottawa, Canada

More: Film In Focus has a piece going into more detail on the production’s experience with greener filmmaking. Check it out. Green Media Solutions also has a report on the pilot project: Away We Go: A Pilot Study of Sustainable Film Production Practices
Sustainability, Filmmaking
Center for Environmental Filmmaking Offers Degrees in Ethics and Conservation Filmmaking
New Mexico’s Green Filmmaking Program
Earthwatch: Seen Any Good Green Movies Lately?

Related Content on