cinema tries to reconcile the magic of the ephemeral and durability

Green palm on red carpet. Out Wednesday in theaters, The Court of Miracles is the first film to have been rewarded for its eco-responsible approach at the last Cannes Film Festival. During filming in eastern Paris, the teams traveled as much as possible by public transport, the managers used an electric scooter, a local canteen was favored, water bottles and washable dishes eliminated plastic packaging, the sets and costumes were donated to associations, and the waste was recycled.

This new prize was created by the Ecoprod association, founded by audiovisual and cinema players to support their ecological transition. In 2020, this sector emitted 1.7 million tonnes of CO2which is equivalent to 700,000 Paris-New York round trips. “On a shoot, the technical means, the transport of the team, the equipment and the sets represent the most energy-intensive items.describes Pervenche Beurier, general delegate of Ecoprod, which has 140 members. An average French film produces around 15 tons of sets, most of which are not recycled. »

green revolution

A finding shared by the National Center for Cinematography (CNC), which launched the Action program in June 2021! to encourage this green revolution. After creating an observatory and planning an educational phase on carbon footprints in 2023, all CNC aid will be conditional on it from 2024. “Until now, our industry did not know the carbon constraint, explains Leslie Thomas, secretary general of the CNC. But we have an obligation to produce better, consuming less energy and with less impact on the environment.. »

A sign that the profession is mobilizing, the Ecoprod association has already screened 850 productions with its carbon calculator in 2022, compared to 128 in 2019. “We are approached by small, very militant production companies, but also by big players in the sector.», specifies Pervenche Beurier.

The profession of eco-referent

The former manager Mathieu Delahousse, president of the consulting agency Secoya Eco-Tournage, makes the same observation. Founded in 2018, the agency has already supported 80 structures of all sizes and has just been approached by the giant Netflix. “As the Covid crisis has brought about the emergence of the profession of health referent, we are training in the new profession of eco-referent to make producers autonomous on these issues”, he indicates.

In fact, the health crisis, by upsetting the organization of the sector, has encouraged this awareness. The energy crisis reinforces the urgency. At the risk of breaking the dream machine? “From sobriety can be born creativity”, retorts the former manager, citing the great achievements of Charlie Chaplin, Georges Méliès or George Lucas, who did not have such energy-intensive technical means at the time. “There is no question of giving up magic, but we have changed erassupports Leslie Thomas. The new generations are more and more sensitive to it. Moreover, film students will now be trained in these issues. »

Sustainable sobriety

It remains to overcome financial and time constraints, because sobriety measures require anticipation. “All the difficulty on a shoot, by nature ephemeral, is to make it sustainable”, summarizes Mathieu Delahousse, who, after accompanying the teams of The Court of Miracles, is preparing to support an even more ambitious project. For his next film, Nicolas Vanier is planning not to use fossil fuels. The carbon impact of cinema also concerns tours and festivals, which consume a lot of transport,” adds Leslie Thomas. Not to mention the digital distribution of films.

Movie theaters are not to be outdone, whether in terms of their geographical location (which sometimes requires car journeys) or their energy consumption. The National Federation of French Cinemas has also just launched a charter to reduce it quickly, including by adapting its opening hours to the habits of spectators.

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