Grimes On The Beach Film Ltd took a holistic approach to the sustainability of their recent production, in fact, the Low Carbon Innovation Fund who part-financed the project insisted on it. The team who were more than happy to oblige, worked with sustainability expert Georgina from One Pumpkin. Supporting the local community and with a strong team morale, the production sought to comply with BS 8909, achieved a 50% reduction in carbon and saved a bit of money too.
Grimes On The Beach Film Ltd recognised that transport and accommodation were going to be a significant part of the footprint. So they booked local small self-catering accommodation where possible rather than using big hotels, who typically use a lot of energy on making their towels fluffy and keeping guests cool (even when they don’t need it) and other things, further away from the set.
They also spent some time looking at how they could reduce carbon emissions from their travel during the production. This included hosting all pre production meetings very centrally in London, or using conference calling facilities where possible. When it came to travel to the set, which was the very beautiful but rather remote Aldeburgh beach in Suffolk, they used pure charm to encourage car sharing, train use and other more sustainable forms of transport. And it turns out that the charm worked very well (as did using a few posters on set and a persuasive call sheet sent out to everyone before hand) and they managed to cut the car mileage predicted in half. They also hired a large coach to transport everyone to the set each day and two priuses to do all those unplanned journeys, including train station pick ups. Some of the crew even used a tandem to get around on set! They also hired some local crew were possible, which also meant fewer journeys.
The set itself is of course an important part of the impact of any production. Leslie Travers designed an innovate set largely based around several boats, which they hired from the local fishermen. It is quite rare for a set to be this simple (and sustainable) but there are other ways to keep the impacts down on more complex sets. The most sustainable approach is to hire set materials or reuse materials from other film sets.
They ensured that all materials used on set were sustainable also – including hiring instead of buying timber for the set and not using any paint. They also provided reusable water bottles to everyone and provided a water station for refills, as well as a refreshments station, with crockery instead of plastic cups (and of course fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar). And instead of using on set caterers, who would have had a higher carbon footprint and produced more waste, the team used the local restaurants in Aldeburgh, supporting the local economy at the same time, and eating some very local fish!
The production also managed to get their waste down to only two black bin liners over the 8 days filming, which was excellent. They could have cut this further had they been able to compost some of the left over snack food, but sadly the local council did not provide the facilities for us to do this, so unless they had taken it home with them, it was going to landfill. They also ensured that waste was kept to a minimum at the pre and post-production stages by providing some clearly marked recycling bins and posters.
They managed to use less than one box of paper over the entire production process by issuing call sheets by email, and printing out one copy which was displayed in a prominent place on the set for everyone to refer to. And they also used very little tape by using hard drives or cloud technology were possible.
Throughout the production, to help keep them on track with their carbon footprint, they used Albert, and Grimes was in fact the first feature length film to use Albert! And they very proudly presented their carbon footprint of 15.in the closing credits also!
The activities also helped to foster a team spirit on the production, and this they hope will mean that the crew will take all of their learnings onto the next production they work on, and carry on the good work.