Film festivals sign up for Green Charter to tackle climate emergency –

The Les Arcs Film Festival in the French Alps kicked off its 14th edition last weekend amid sub-zero temperatures and fresh snow, running from December 10 to 17.

Around 600 film professionals from across Europe headed to its four-day industry event, which runs from 10 to 13 December, to see project and work-in-progress showcases, participate in various workshops, network and pitch. Target the


A key topic on the industry program agenda this year was how film festivals and the cinema industry in general can be more sustainable and play a role in curbing climate change.

At altitudes between 6,400 feet (1,950 m) and 12,400 feet (3,800 m) the pristine white slopes have seen temperatures drop to -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit), with growing fears that the world is facing a climate emergency. In the situation, felt very far away.

Founded in 2009 by locally-raised film executives Guillaume Calop and Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin, the event runs during the first week of the Les Arcs ski season as hotels, restaurants, shops and ski rentals open over Christmas and New Year. Get ready for the rush.


Kellop explained that there are good reasons for the festival to take climate change seriously.


“When we started the festival, people were like, it’s the beginning of the season so sometimes it doesn’t snow and I was like, ‘No, don’t worry, it’s always cold enough to make artificial snow.’ It has to be -4 to make artificial snow, but there have been many years where temperatures above 2,000 meters have been above -4 and that’s really new.”

A major concern is the melting of local glaciers such as the Grande Motte glacier, which is accessed an hour’s drive down the valley from the Tignes ski resort, or France’s largest glacier, the Mer de Glace in Chamonix, which is likely to decrease. One kilometer between 2009 and 2030 due to global warming.


“When I was a kid, in Tignes, their motto was ‘Ski 365 days of the year.’ Now, they barely open in the summer. Here in Les Arcs, it’s estimated that in 10 years, you’ll ‘You won’t be able to ski on the Aguil Rouge Glacier, it will be just like any other slope that works when it snows,’ he explained.

“It’s a huge problem because if there are no more glaciers, the ice doesn’t melt during the summer, which means there’s no water to feed the rivers in places like Lyon. It’s honestly pretty scary.”

Les Arcs has evaluated its environmental impact since its early days.

“We would do things like make donations to offset our carbon footprint but it seemed like nobody really cared at first,” Kellop said.


The festival stepped up its efforts in 2019 with the likes of Green Cinema Lab event. Earth from above Filmmaker and environmental activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand and other cinema professionals involved in promoting and supporting green practices.

Among them was former production manager Mathieu Delahous, co-founder of Paris-based consultancy Secoyer, which specializes in helping film and TV companies make their shooting and operations more sustainable. He has been involved in efforts to revive the festival.


“At the time, we were even questioning whether we should still run the festival but concluded that the positives outweighed the negatives. It’s about culture and human relationships, and also in cinema like climate change.” There is power in raising awareness of issues,” Kellop said.

Working with reflections coming out of the Green Cinema Lab, the festival team and Delahouse began to develop a green charter for film festivals and began talking to other events about how it should be structured.

“There was a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, but it quickly became apparent that there was no one-size-fits-all solution. Encouraging people to use bicycles in Les Arcs wasn’t really going to work. Sarajevo told us that There is no point in sorting their waste because it will all end up in the same trash, while trying to reduce the meat towards catering for other festivals was not an option,” Kalup said.

“Ultimately, we decided to create a charter where festivals commit to improving but how they do that depends on what’s possible for them,” Kellop said.

The first steps under the charter are to measure progress, get everyone on board with the festival, from the team to the public and sponsors, and develop and stick to a strategy.

“We ask our sponsors to think about the materials they’re bringing to the fair. We tell them if they end up with leftovers — like surplus flyers, or catalogs — to take home. requirement, that we will not put the excess material in the trash but send it back to their offices,” said Kellop.

A dedicated online database was launched earlier this year for festivals signed up to the Green Charter to record their consumption of food, waste, energy and transport. Kellopp said it can be difficult to master the first time, but once the festival enters the first set of data, it becomes easier.

As of December 2022, 38 festivals were in the process of recording their consumption, four festivals have recorded data for an edition and another 50 festivals have said they are interested in signing up for the charter but have yet to do so. It remains to be done.

“These are festivals of all sizes all over the world,” said Kellop, noting signatories like Montreal and Jerusalem.

A handful of these festivals joined the Green Charter workshop at Les Arcs, to discuss what they’ve done to become more sustainable and brainstorm.

Elad Samorzak, artistic director of the Jerusalem Film Festival, said the event has done away with paper tickets and physical accreditation badges.

Joshua Jaddy, a filmmaker who is also currently deputy program director at Germany’s film festival Cottbus, said the event had ditched sponsored festival cars and instead provided free public transport for delegates.

The event also worked with partner hotels to turn off the heating in delegates’ rooms during the day when they were likely to be away, and for guests staying less than three days without sheets and towel changes. also suggested a policy of unless they request In other case

Interest in Les Arcs’ Green Charter has increased outside of Europe since the summer following a fresh condition by the EU’s MEDIA program, which requires film industry events that fund ISO 21021 certification. Apply for

The standard – the banner Event Sustainability Systems – offers guidance and best practice to help events manage their social, economic and environmental impacts and was originally developed for the London Olympics Games in 2012.

Achieving this certification requires third-party monitoring by an approved standards agency such as France’s Bureau Veritas and Afnor, the UK’s BSI Group or Switzerland’s SGS.

The process takes about six to 10 months and costs about €10,000 to €12,000 in fees for a certificate that lasts for three years. However, the MEDIA program will cover the costs of obtaining certification.

Ludovica Chiarini at Rome-based consultancy Ecomuvi told the workshop that while going through the ISO 21021 process can be difficult, companies and events should embrace the improvements they make to their operations rather than seeing certification as an end goal. can bring

“It’s not a tick box. It’s really about internal training and better management,” he said.

Kellopp predicts that film festivals and markets may face an increasing amount of mandatory initiatives around sustainability. Signing up for the Green Charter was a good way to prepare the ground, he suggested.

Using the analogy of skiing, Delahouse told the workshop that the Green Charter can be seen as the first step towards achieving ISO 21021.

“It’s like when you learn to ski, you start on the nursery slopes, where you work on perfecting your technique before tackling the more difficult slopes. Signing up for the Green Charter Nursery It’s like being on the slopes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Les Arcs is pushing its program to incorporate sustainable practices – such as setting screening rooms at 19 degrees Celsius, ridding staff canteens of meat and encouraging guests to travel by rail – and raising awareness of the challenges of climate change. And what can be done to curb it.

As well as workshops on how to integrate the Green Charter and sustainable practices into co-productions, the festival also ran its public and industry-facing Moving Mountains sidebar, featuring discussions and films on topics of environment, diversity and inclusion. were

The program also included the Refuge 2030 initiative, in which a dozen film professionals stayed overnight in a mountain refuge where they brainstormed ways to make the film industry more sustainable.

“As a film festival, we will always have an impact on resources and our environment but we are doing what we can to minimize that,” Kellop said.

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