Those places where new worlds are being created always seem deliberately blurred. The low-rise building is located on the arterial road to Adlershof. Here, at the Johannisthal Film Studio, Odeon Fiction is filming a television series commissioned by Sky Broadcaster. Eight episodes of 30 minutes each, 57 days of filming. Tender Hearts is set in the near future.
In a positive future where women temper their loneliness with “Lovedroids”. Lead actress Frederic Kumpter just passed. She plays Mila, a game programmer with a penchant for antique furniture. Your apartment is the center of the studio bustle. The camera crew and lighting technicians prepare the next scene.
Studied at the Film University of Babelsberg
Contrary to fiction, the environmental challenges of reality are by no means happily resolved. A clear sign of this is Kiara Nowak, 25, a production sustainability consultant. The trained producer wrote her final thesis at Babelsberg Film University on the topic of “sustainable production”.
As an additional qualification, complete training as an Environmentally Friendly Consultant. She has been working as a freelancer for a year. Noack says she knows nothing of boredom. exactly the contrary. The demand for the services of the profession, which is only a few years old and has only been operating under reasonably binding standards for half a year, is high.
The Green Shooting Working Group, in which important German broadcasters, production companies and funding bodies are committed to green shooting, laid out the rules with the “Green Motion” stamp. Starting in January 2023, it will be standardized under sustainability criteria for state and federal funding.
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A number of regional sponsors have already made the “Green Motion” label a requirement, says Sky’s Fabian Claus, who represents the broadcaster for the Green Shooting Working Group. “In this respect, minimum environmental standards are already very relevant when allocating subsidies.”
Sky set its own environmental standards in 2017 in collaboration with Philipp Jassmann, who played a key role in developing the job profile of sustainability consultants in Germany. Since then, Klaus has found that up to 50 percent of carbon dioxide emissions can be saved by going green. Gassmann sets the value a little lower.
Kiara Nowak, who is currently taking pictures with her cell phone, also learned from Gassmann. Coca bottles on the dining table. Because soft drinks from an American multinational are banned on sustainable movie sets? Nowak shakes his head. She documents the bottles for her final report.
In a way, as proof that their work is paying off. Just like disposable cutlery, single-use plastic bottles are prohibited from Green Motion. Label standards are divided into 15 areas. It relates to all professions in necessary and targeted specifications, from green electricians and generators to travel, accommodation and organic makeup. It is also essential to have an environmentally friendly consultant accompany the shooting from preparatory to post-production.
James Bond movie emits a lot
The target carbon dioxide balance estimated by Kiara Nowak at the beginning of the shooting is compared to the final calculation at the end. Nowak says a German production of “Tatort” with 22 days of shooting emits 100 tons of carbon dioxide, which is more than 2,000 tons more than James Bond did.
The fact that most of the shooting days on “Tender Hearts” are spent here in the studio, where solar panels on the roof generate electricity, has a positive effect. Unlike diesel generators, which are only gradually being replaced by electric or hybrid generators when shooting on location. Nowak says there are currently very few people in Germany who are fully booked.
After all, technology is advancing. “There is already a 130 kWh generator that can power a set for a whole day. A rolling trailer power bank.” But it is almost impossible to get it.
LED walls light up independently
When you look at Mila’s one-room apartment, the past and the future come together to create the illusion of an urban landscape. On the other hand, it demonstrates a “setback”, that is, a background lit by a lamp in front of a city window.
On the other hand, this is provided by an LED wall that can independently simulate the mood of lighting, birds flapping in flight or a rushing train. Sustainability standards require switching to LED lights. Nowak says it’s more expensive to buy, but it saves electricity in the long run. The switch to LEDs is also in full swing when it comes to lighting. In the end, there are 1 to 4 percent additional costs for going green.
Changing a routine costs not only money, but time, which in turn is money when shooting. “The dismantling of the group becomes more complex in the case of recycling the dividing walls, for example. This is the contradiction between theory and the reality of production.”
Don’t be a controlling person
Not only does he create enthusiastic faces, Nowak says, he is quick to praise the crew’s curiosity and openness. She doesn’t want to appear here as a checker with a raised index finger anyway. “There is no point in appearing to know everything. I would rather help make it work.”
Noack discusses with René Zulauf, who serves potato and vegetable fritters in a catering truck, the schedule for the upcoming extra day, when 76 people will be fed. The inflow needs extra crockery for rent, while the one-way does not work. A vegan day, or even two better days, is a must for him.
The request to buy vegetables from the region as much as possible is not always approved. “It would soon seem boring on the plate in winter if there were only turnips from Brandenburg.” The man knows: the mood depends on the food.
Cosmetics without microplastics
The green motion of the mask car also controls. Makeup artist Sylvia Grieve has washable makeup removal pads for the cast. This reduces waste. Cosmetics containing microplastics are prohibited. On the wall is the face card, which means Heike Makatsch’s makeup plan, played by Mila’s sister.
Actors are often calibrated for brands like Chanel and Dior, says Grave, “but they don’t work at all.” For people who live by their faces, switching to a BioMakeup with a different texture definitely takes a lot of convincing.
What do you do against “green washing”?
Recycling clothes and props, eco-cleaning products, taking a train instead of a car — Kiara Nowak’s job is as a battle against the blades of a windmill in a wealthy community. But their growing awareness of the risks with global warming helps her. Especially in the photo-loving entertainment industry, which stares at points of sympathy and marketing opportunities with its “greenwash.”
When visiting a filming location, it’s easy to check if a production was involved or just pretending, Noack knows. “Look at shopping lists, fuel receipts, electricity bills” Don’t the little bureaucratic things bother you? Kiara Nowak shakes her head. The scale of production in the audiovisual sector is enormous. “You can really change things there.”