Filmmaking brings unique opportunities and challenges for making operations more sustainable. NBCUniversal’s film division is committed to becoming a more sustainable business by identifying and integrating innovative ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Universal Pictures and Focus Features developed a detailed Sustainable Production Guide for their casts and crews to give each department production-specific information, resources and best practices. Universal Pictures has also hired an executive to assist productions in implementing these practices and the shows utilize the GreenProductionGuide.com for additional resources. Read more about some of the eco-accomplishments taking place:
Unbroken, December 25, 2014
Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces Unbroken, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Filmed in the diverse landscape of Australia, a variety of sustainable production practices were implemented behind-the-scenes of Unbroken. In alignment with NBCUniversal’s Sustainable Production program, sets were designed with reuse in mind. When filming was complete on the Omori POW camp set, it was disassembled and reused for the Naoetsu POW Camp and Yokohama Port sets, thus reducing the amount of lumber and building materials purchased. Building materials acquired secondhand such as roofing, paint and lumber were utilized in the construction of the POW camp sets, breathing new life into the products.
The production implemented water conservation practices while shooting on the outdoor tank at Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland, recycling close to 320,000 gallons of water. Leftover lumber was donated to the annual Woodford Folk Festival located in Brisbane, keeping the precious natural resource out of a landfill while giving back to the local community. Remaining plants used to decorate sets were donated to the Fort Lytton National Park and Sydney Harbour Trust.
The Theory of Everything, November 7, 2014
The extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde. Once a healthy, active young man, Hawking received an earth-shattering diagnosis at 21. With Jane fighting tirelessly by his side, Stephen embarks on his most ambitious scientific work.
While creating this story for the silver screen, the crew on The Theory of Everything also worked actively behind the scenes to reduce their overall impact on the environment. The lumber purchased for set construction carried the Forest Stewardship Council certification, which ensures that it came from responsibly managed forests. Several water refilling stations were set up throughout sound stages and on location to reduce dependency on single-use plastic bottles. Items like canned and unopened non-perishable food were donated when filming wrapped, to local charities and food banks; and a robust recycling and compost program was always at the ready for cast and crew. In addition, the Assistant Directors included a “Green Fact of the Day” on the daily call sheets to engage the entire production.
Dracula Untold, October 10, 2014
Filmed in Northern Ireland, the production crew on Dracula Untold made a great effort to reduce their impact on the environment. During production, a comprehensive recycling plan was implemented throughout the filming locations. Dracula Untold’s impressive sets were built with sustainably certified lumber and previously used wood materials. In wrap, set materials were donated to a youth club, community projects and to another local production for reuse. Plants, trees and leftover costume fabrics were given to local schools. Valuable home goods were donated to a homeless shelter. These efforts, and more, resulted in Dracula Untold achieving a 2014 EMA Green Seal Award.
Get On Up, August 1, 2014
In his follow-up to the four-time Academy Award®-nominated blockbuster The Help, Tate Taylor directs 42’s Chadwick Boseman as James Brown in Get On Up. Based on the incredible life story of the Godfather of Soul, the production made several efforts to reduce their total environmental impact. The construction department worked to reuse materials and source domestic, sustainable woods when possible. To divert leftover catering from ending up in landfills, the production partnered with The Stewpot, a local non-profit organization, and donated food. In addition, extra set materials were given to a local theater. These practices and more were communicated to the crew through detailed “Green Memos.” The memos listed the green practices in place, offered additional suggestions and resources, and motivated the crew to do their part for the Get On Up green initiative.
Ride Along, January 17, 2014
While filming the action-comedy Ride Along, the production took steps to minimize its impact on the environment. To reduce plastic waste, crew refilled reusable bottles, saving thousands of individual plastic water bottles throughout the course of production. Catering sourced local and organic food and encouraged the use of washable dishes over disposables. The construction department used a 100% recycled content paper material to create faux bricks and cinderblocks, replacing commonly used petroleum-based products. Upon wrap, they donated lumber and paint to Habitat for Humanity. Finally, to contribute to the community in which they filmed, Ride Along sponsored the planting of 35 trees in Atlanta, Georgia: One tree for each shoot day.
Endless Love, February 14, 2014
Sustainable practices could be found throughout the production of the romantic drama Endless Love. The set lighting department used MacTech LEDs, which uses up to 70% less energy than conventional set lighting. The construction department reduced their need for natural resources by obtaining used building materials. After filming, sets were donated for reuse on another film and remaining paint was donated to local schools. At least half of the clothing for costumes was previously used, and the department utilized an environmentally responsible drycleaner. Throughout production, crew were given “Green Memos” that listed the sustainable practices in place, offered additional suggestions and resources, and encouraged the crew to participate in Endless Love’s green initiative.
The Green Production Guide features an interactive searchable database of environmentally-sensitive products and services, listed by state in the U.S. and select international locations. The Guide also features best practices and tools like the Carbon Calculator to help producers determine their production’s carbon footprint on a comprehensive level.
You can help grow the Green Production Guide by adding your favorite green vendors. Suggest a vendor here and we’ll contact them to get listed. Or point your production’s green steward here to register for an account to add vendors.