victoria-and-abdul

© Focus Features

The Focus Features film Victoria & Abdul tells the true story of the amazing and unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria (Academy Award® winner Judi Dench) and a young clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), who becomes her teacher, her spiritual advisor, and her devoted friend in the later years of her life.  In 1887, Abdul travels from India to present a ceremonial medal as part of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee but surprisingly finds favor with the elderly Queen. The unlikely relationship causes a battle royale within the royal household, pitting the Queen against court and family. Victoria & Abdul explores questions of race, religion, power, and the farce of Empire through the prism of an unusual and moving friendship.

While filming primarily in the United Kingdom, the Victoria & Abdul team worked hard to reduce their environmental impact whenever possible. A large portion of the LED set lighting used on location was battery powered in an effort to reduce generator use. To limit plastic water bottles, reusable bottles were purchased for office and shooting crew to refill at the water coolers placed around set. Most paperwork was able to be distributed digitally, but for items printed they used a majority of 100% white recycled content paper.  Since Victoria & Abdul is a period piece, 90% of set dressing, props, and costumes were rented instead of purchased, which helped in their efforts to practice reuse. In many locations, the production utilized existing set dressing and had minimal need for the construction department to build from scratch.

The caterers on Victoria & Abdul sourced local produce to integrate into their menu. They also avoided using red meat on their menu several days of the week, reducing carbon emissions related to crew meals. The art department kept all leftover materials, fabrics and trimmings that were used to upholster furniture and sold them to another production. During wrap, many items were donated to the local RSPCA charity shop. All leftover color paper was donated to a children’s nursery.