Posted on 5th July 2021

Costa Brava Lebanon – A ‘rubbish’ comedy

Inspired by the Lebanese garbage crisis of 2014, Mounia Akl's upcoming comedy lays bare the realities of living in modern-day Lebanon. Find out how the film was made with sustainable guidelines in place.

Costa Brava Lebanon is the debut feature by Mounia Akl, and brings Nadine Labaki (Capernaum) and Saleh Bakri (Wajib) as the heads of the free-spirited Badri family, who have escaped the toxic pollution of Beirut to a home they have built in the mountains. As they find out a garbage landfill is being built right in front of their idyllic home, their peaceful existence is shattered, and they must decide between leaving or resisting.

The film took inspiration from the real-life Lebanese garbage crisis of 2014, and while this already makes for a great example of Planet Placement, the production of the film also followed several sustainable production protocols, including those of albert, Beirut DC, and our international partners, Greener Screen.

Read on as we explore how the production implemented these protocols…

Waste Reduction

Waste reduction began with craft services, who used stainless steel plates, cups and cutlery as well as porcelain coffee mugs. All were rented and hand washed after use.

Some waste from catering was even used by the art department when the landfill in the story didn’t feel ‘dirty’ enough!

Talaya Water dispensers were used on set. and were chosen because of the brand’s commitment to a cleaner and healthier environment, and every cast and crew member was given a personalised stainless steel water bottle to use for the duration of the shoot.

Napkins, toilet paper and biodegradable trash bags were provided by Sanita’s eco-friendly brand Natura.

Lastly, all organic waste generated on set was given to a local chicken farm for composting and the organic waste from catering was sent to composting.


All items were machine washed rather than dry cleaned. Costumes were sourced from second hand shops and warehouse rental services, although some specific outfits had to be bought new.

Art direction:

Most of the materials were rentals and salvaged materials. The set design of the landfill portrayed in the movie was done with a partnership with Live Love Recycle who provided the trash bags filled with plastics for the shoot and were returned to the recycling plant after wrapping.


Two buses were used to transport cast and crew to and from the shooting locations.

Call sheet and screenplay:

The Call Sheet was sent daily by email and WhatsApp, leading to very little printing. Similarly the screenplay was printed where it was necessary.


Some special effects could only be achieved by burning fuel/diesel, which unfortunately couldn’t be avoided, as there was a lack of greener alternatives. The SFX team did implement greener alternatives when they were available, for example, a scene where the Badri family’s pool turned red was achieved by using mineral oil.

Smoking area:

Smoking was only allowed in designated areas so the team could control the disposal of the cigarette butts as much as possible. This helped avoid littering, and contributed to waste reduction through controlled waste collection.

Challenges and obstacles

The biggest challenge of the shoot was to find balance between the Green Protocols and the COVID-19 restrictions. The team took advice from an infectious disease specialist, and by applying all the safety measures they recommended, the team were able to:

  • Use communal transportation instead of individual.
  • Offer a buffet with reusable plates and cutlery instead of having pre packed meals in disposable plastic containers.
  • Use water dispensers instead of plastic bottles.
  • Use reusable face masks instead of disposable ones.
  • Display refillable hand sanitiser containers on set, and use washable microfibre cloths to clean surfaces.

One challenge for the team was the fear that the green measures wouldn’t be taken seriously by the team given the catastrophes Lebanon had experienced in recent times, such as the Beirut blast and the economic situation. However, this didn’t turn out to be an issue in the end.

Adding value - cooperation

Transparency, good communication skills and proper training were crucial in order to get the crew to trust in sustainable practices. Because they believed in it, getting them to follow the rules became a non-issue.

They realised that it’s not so hard to pull off a green shoot with the right amount of discipline and the right amount of time for prep and regular (non time consuming) check-ups.

The team concluded:

“Time and discipline are crucial when it comes to setting up a green shoot, but other than that, there were no counterproductive or creative obstacles. The power of habit also helped.”

Costa Brava Lebanon is currently in post production and due for release later this year. Find out more over at mk2 films’ website.

Greener Screen are an albert International Partner in the UAE. find out more about our International Partnerships here.