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Sustainable Filmmaking: Emma

Emma, February 21, 2020

© Focus Features

Jane Austen’s beloved comedy about finding your equal and earning your happy ending, is reimagined in this delicious new film adaptation of EMMA starring Anya Taylor-Joy as the titular role with Billy Nighy, Johnny Flynn, and directed by Autumn de Wilde with a screenplay by Eleanor Catton. Handsome, clever, and rich, Emma Woodhouse is a restless queen bee without rivals in her sleepy little town. In this glittering satire of social class and the pain of growing up, Emma must adventure through misguided matches and romantic missteps to find the love that has been there all along. Taylor-Joy, Nighy, and Flynn are joined by an incredible ensemble cast including Mia Goth, Miranda Hart, Josh O’Connor, Callum Turner,  Rupert Graves, Gemma Whelan, Amber Anderson, Tanya Reynolds, and Connor Swindells. 

While filming in Southern United Kingdom, the production of Emma made great efforts to reduce their environmental impact. Recycling and composting were implemented in the offices and on set to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Reusable water bottles were purchased for cast and crew to eliminate the purchasing of disposable plastic bottles. The paper purchased in the office was made from 100% recycled content. When building their sets, construction used FSC-Certified plywood to ensure that it was sustainable sourced. Emma’s sets were lit with over 50% energy-efficient LED lighting. Instead of using regular diesel, the heaters and generators on set were powered with renewable diesel, a cleaner and less carbon intensive bio-based fuel.

At wrap, Emma donated office supplies, rugs, heaters, and more to the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Care. Construction and wardrobe donated fabrics and cork boards valued over $2,700 to the London Screen Academy. Emma also donated water bottles, cosmetic supplies, blankets, and more to Utopia 56. Set dressing donated over 2,600 lbs. of fruits and vegetables to the Chilton Farm House and villagers of Lower Slaughter. These practices and more have qualified Emma for a 2020 EMA Green Seal.


Sustainable Filmmaking: The Photograph

The Photograph, February 14, 2020

© Universal Pictures

Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure, Little) and LaKeith Stanfield (FX’s Atlanta, Sorry to Bother You) connect in The Photograph, a romance where a woman must learn from the secrets in her mother’s past if she is to move forward and allow herself to love and be loved. From writer-director Stella Meghie (The Weekend, Jean of the Joneses) from her original screenplay comes a sweeping love story about forgiveness and finding the courage to seek the truth, no matter where it may lead you. 

The Photograph is produced by Will Packer, blockbuster producer of Girls Trip, the Ride Along franchise, and ten movies that have opened No. 1 at the U.S. box office, including Night School, No Good Deed and Think Like a Man, and by James Lopez, president of Will Packer Productions. The film is executive produced by Meghie, Erika Hampson and Rae.  

Filmed in New York City and New Orleans, the production teams in both cities on The Photograph implemented many best practices to reduce their environmental impact. In the office, they set up recycling and used reusable dishware to reduce disposables. They reduced plastic water bottles both in the office and on set and replaced with reusable water bottles and refilling stations. When possible, they rented fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles. On set, construction built their set walls with sustainably sourced FSC-Certified plywood.

The Photograph made efforts to give their materials a second life after production wrapped. Set construction was passed on to another Universal Pictures production, The King of Staten Island. Office supplies, toys, clothing, and set dressing were donated to local nonprofits including City Harvest, NY Cares, and Project Hope. The Photograph also donated over 300 pounds of excess catering to local shelters. These practices and more have qualified The Photograph for a 2020 EMA Green Seal.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Dolittle

Dolittle, January 17, 2020

Robert Downey Jr. electrifies one of literature’s most enduring characters in a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals: Dolittle.

After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.

The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar® winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar® winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar® winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidante.

While filming in London, the production of Dolittle made great efforts to reduce their environmental impact. A robust recycling and composting program was set up both in the office and on set. Three bin collection systems and on-site waste sorting, along with sending non-recyclable material to waste-to-energy, led to 100% of on set waste diverted from landfill. Reusable water bottles were purchased for the crew, and water dispensers were always available, which helped the production use about 80% less water bottles than an average production of their size. To help reduce emissions, the production used biodiesel made from used cooking oil to heat the tents and lit their sets with roughly 60% energy-efficient LED set lighting.

Additionally, the Dolittle team worked hard to reduce waste by reusing and donating where possible. Materials from many departments including Camera, Costumes, and Art were given to the next Universal Pictures film shooting in London, Hobbs & Shaw. Catering donated 581 pounds of excess food to City Harvest London, equaling 484 meals fed to those in need. Construction donated clean polystyrene foam to Playtime UK to use in the production of toys. Set Decoration donated furniture and home goods to Good Alice Hospice. The electrical department donated used gels to the Cavendish Primary School to create art projects. These practices and more led to Dolittle receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Cats

Cats, December 20, 2019

© Universal Pictures

Oscar®-winning director Tom Hooper transforms Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record-shattering stage musical into a breakthrough cinematic event.

Cats, a Working Title Films and Amblin Entertainment production, in association with Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group, stars James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson and introduces Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward in her feature film debut.

Featuring Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic music and a world-class cast of dancers under the guidance of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton), the film reimagines the musical for a new generation with spectacular production design, state-of-the-art technology, and dance styles ranging from classical ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street dance to tap.

Filmed in London, the production of Cats took place in studio where carbon emissions were reduced through energy-efficient LED set lighting along with the use of 100% renewable diesel in their heaters, a cleaner and less carbon intensive bio based fuel. They implemented recycling and composting both on set and in the office, and avoided using over 70,000 plastic water bottles by providing reusable bottles to cast, dancers, and crew. To get crew involved and excited, Cats held an ongoing “Green Challenge,” rewarding best practices such as bicycling to set and bringing reusable containers to lunch.

At wrap, departments from Cats worked to find local organizations to donate their leftover materials. The costume department donated $25,000 worth of clothing, fabrics, and accessories to Cancer Research UK, Dress for Success, and the London Screen Academy. Set dressing and Production donated office supplies worth over $3,000 to the St. Peter School. Construction passed on many materials to the next UK-based Universal Pictures production, Fast & Furious 9. Catering donated approximately 500 pounds of excess catering and set dressing food to City Harvest London, equaling 416 meals fed to those in need. These practices and more led to Cats receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Last Christmas

Last Christmas, November 8, 2019

Emilia Clarke (HBO’s Game of Thrones), Henry Golding (A Simple Favor, Crazy Rich Asians), Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson star for director Paul Feig (A Simple Favor, Spy, Bridesmaids) in Last Christmas, a romantic comedy inspired by a George Michael beat, from a screenplay by Academy Award® winner Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jones’s Baby) and playwright Bryony Kimmings.

Kate (Emilia Clarke) harumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate’s barriers. As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart … and you gotta have faith.

While filming in London, the Last Christmas cast and crew took their sustainability efforts to the next level. They set a goal from the beginning to be as plastic-free as possible. They distributed thermal cups to everyone on set, which could be used for cold water on warm days, or hot tea on cold nights. Offices included recycling and composting, plumbed in water coolers, glasses, crockery and cutlery.  Paperwork such as call sheets, scripts, and production documentation were delivered electronically, with hard copies only issued on request. White office paper was made from 100% recycled content. Green tips and facts were put onto call sheets to educate and inspire crew.

There were many efforts to reduce the carbon emissions on the production. They used over 60% LED set lighting which uses significantly less energy than standard set lights. In lieu of trailers, the production rented hotel rooms while filming in the London City Center. Cast also made efforts to carpool rather than taking individual vehicles to set. When unit drivers were waiting for their next trip, they were given a warm place indoors to avoid vehicle idling. And when heating their stages, they used renewable diesel made from 100% used cooking oil.

The Last Christmas team also gave back to the local community. They donated over 1,800 lbs of excess food from catering and set decoration to City Harvest London, equaling approximately 1,500 meals fed to those in need. Props, Set Dec, and Wardrobe donated over $11,000 worth of items such as toys, clothing, drums, and furniture to organizations including Suited & Booted, Smart Works, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, First Days, The Children’s Society, Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, and Smile for a Child. There was also a voluntary cast and crew clothing and toiletry drive, with items being donated to Whitechapel Mission and the Helen Bamber Foundation. These practices and more led to Last Christmas receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Harriet

Harriet, November 2, 2019

© Focus Features

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Filmed in Richmond, Virginia, the Harriet team made great efforts to reduce their environmental impact during production. Starting in the office, the production team reused office supplies and furniture from a previous local production as well as the Virginia Film Office. They set up recycling and established digital distribution for scripts and schedules. When they did print, they purchased 100% recycled content paper. They also installed a water filtration unit in their office to reduce plastic bottles.

These practices continued on set where reusable bottles and water dispensers were provided to crew. There was very little set building on Harriet, as it was mostly filmed on location, but $60,000 worth of train cars, trailers, and set materials that they did build was donated to Governor’s Antiques. Additionally, the Construction, Set Decoration, Costumes, and Production departments donated thousands of dollars worth of materials including furniture, towels, blankets, and clothing to local organizations including Diversity Thrift, Habitat for Humanity, RSPCA, St. Joseph’s Villa, and the Virginia Film Commission. These practices and more led to Harriet receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey, September 20, 2019

The worldwide phenomenon Downton Abbey, becomes a grand motion picture event, as the beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives. A royal visit from the King and Queen of England will unleash scandal, romance and intrigue that will leave the future of Downton hanging in the balance. Written by series creator Julian Fellowes and starring the original cast. 

While filming in the UK, the Downton Abbey production team implemented sustainable production practices to reduce their environmental impact. Offices included recycling and composting, plumbed in water coolers, glasses, crockery and cutlery, with no disposable food service products available for office use.  Paperwork such as call sheets, scripts, and production documentation were delivered electronically, with hard copies only issued on request. White office paper was made from 100% recycled content. 

Downton Abbey successfully reduced the amount of new materials used throughout filming. Carnival Films had stored sets from six seasons of Downton Abbey and the production was able to re-use and/or re-purpose most of them, which let to very minimal new set builds. The production issued reusable water bottles to crew upon request, and added a daily reminder on the call sheet for crew to bring them, leading to the elimination of plastic water bottles on set. The sound department used rechargeable batteries throughout production to reduce the need for disposables.

At wrap, the costume department donated $800 worth of fabric and materials to the Wimbledon College of Arts. Storage boxes and hangers were donated to Sewn Right and Freddie’s Flowers, and set decoration donated produce to The Hounslow Urban Farm to be used for animal feed. These practices and more led to Downton Abbey receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.


NBCUniversal Awarded Green Seals at 29th Annual Environmental Media Awards

NBCUniversal had another record-setting year at the 29th Annual Environmental Media Awards, continuing to demonstrate its leadership in sustainable production.

EMA Green and Gold Seals were awarded to fifty-one NBCUniversal television and feature film productions, up from thirty-eight last year. The EMA Green Seal program recognizes progress in sustainable production practices, including reuse and recycling, sustainable building materials, LED lighting, food donations and more. This is the fifth year in a row NBCUniversal has received the most EMA Green Seals of any producing studio.

Below is a complete list of the NBCUniversal 2019 EMA Green and Gold Seal recipients. Check out the Green is Universal Film and TV pages to learn how NBCUniversal’s filmmakers and crewmembers are reducing their environmental impact.

  • Universal Pictures: Cats, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw*,The Hunt, Last Christmas*, Little*, Untitled UP Project, Us, The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle*, Yesterday*
  • Focus Features: Downton Abbey, Harriet
  • Universal Television: Abby’s, Amazing Stories*, A.P. Bio, The Bold Type, Brooklyn Nine-Nine*, Chicago Fire*, Chicago Med*, Chicago P.D. *, The Enemy Within*, FBI, Good Girls, The Good Place*, I Feel Bad, The InBetween*, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Marlon, Midnight, Texas*, New Amsterdam*, Saturday Night Live, Superstore*, Tales of the City, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Village*, Will & Grace
  • Universal Content Productions: The Act*, Channel Zero: The Dream Door*, Dirty John, Happy!, Homecoming*, The Magicians*, Pearson, Psych: The Movie 2*, The Sinner*, Suits*, The Umbrella Academy*
  • Universal Television Alternative: Making It, Hollywood Game Night, World of Dance
  • Wilshire Studios: People’s Choice Awards

*EMA Gold Seal winners, a higher tiered recognition for top performing productions

In addition, The Good Place (Season 3, Don’t Let the Good Life Pass You By) and Saturday Night Live (Season 44, Host Seth Meyers) were nominees in the Television Episodic Comedy category for their environmental messaging on screen.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

After eight films that have amassed more than $5 billion worldwide, the Fast & Furious franchise now features its first stand-alone vehicle as Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham reprise their roles as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.

Hobbs & Shaw blasts open a new door in the Fast universe as it hurtles action across the globe, from Los Angeles to London and from the toxic wasteland of Chernobyl to the lush beauty of Samoa. Johnson and Statham are joined by franchise newcomers Idris Elba and Vanessa Kirby.   

Directed by David Leitch (Deadpool 2) from a script by longtime Fast & Furious narrative architect Chris Morgan, the film is produced by Morgan, Johnson, Statham and Hiram Garcia. The executive producers are Dany Garcia, Kelly McCormick, Steven Chasman, Ethan Smith and Ainsley Davies.

Filmed primarily in London and Hawaii, the Hobbs & Shaw production teams implemented a sustainability program across departments on the film. Both cities had a dedicated sustainability manager to oversee the program and ensure that crew had the tools and plan they needed to succeed. A compost and recycling program was initiated both in the office and on set. Many of the crew were provided with reusable water bottles to reduce the use of plastic, and 100% recycled content paper was used where available. In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, heaters ran on renewable diesel made from 100% used cooking oil.

In London, the construction team donated a truck full of dirty polystyrene from their sets to Scenery Salvage to be recycled and reused. The costume department donated over $45,000 worth of wardrobe to TRAIDSmart WorksSuited and BootedWhitechapel Mission, and Smalls for All. The crew also held a clothing and toiletry drive for the Croydon Refugee Day Centre.

In Hawaii, the production donated office supplies and furniture to a local school and library, household items to Women in Need, and leftover building materials and hard hats to a local farm. In both cities, catering and craft service donated 1,400 lbs of excess food to local non-profits, equaling 1,166 meals fed to those in need. These practices and more earned Hobbs & Shaw a 2019 EMA Gold Seal.


Sustainable Filmmaking: Little

© Universal Pictures

Girls Trip’s Regina Hall and Black-ish’s Marsai Martin both star as Jordan Sanders — Hall as the take-no-prisoners tech mogul adult version of Jordan and Martin as the 13-year-old version of her who wakes up in her adult self’s penthouse just before a do-or-die presentation.

Insecure’s Issa Rae plays Jordan’s long-suffering assistant April, the only one in on the secret that her daily tormentor is now trapped in an awkward tween body just as everything is on the line. Little is an irreverent new comedy about the price of success, the power of sisterhood and having a second chance to grow up — and glow up — right. 

Little is directed by Tina Gordon (writer, Drumline) with a story by Tracy Oliver (Girls Trip) and a screenplay by Oliver and Gordon, based on an idea by teen actress Martin. The film is produced by Will Packer, blockbuster producer of Girls Trip, Night School and the Ride Along franchise, and his producing partner James Lopez and by Kenya Barris (Girls Trip, Black-ish). Executive producers are Preston Holmes (Night School), Hall, Marsai Martin and Josh Martin.

Filmed in Atlanta, GA, the Little production team implemented a sustainability program to reduce their environmental impacts throughout filming. Starting in the office, the majority of paper purchased was tree-free paper made from sugarcane waste fiber, and recycling stations were set up throughout the workspaces.

Little also implemented many best practices to reduce the amount of fuel they used during filming. They rented multiple hybrid passenger vehicles, used energy efficient LED lighting to reduce power needs, and when they were at their main locations such as the school and condo, they made efforts to use grid power in replacement of generators. Additionally, the production rented seven hybrid solar-powered cast trailers that were used throughout production.

To give back to the community in which they were filming, as well as reduce the waste going into landfill, the Little production team donated 780 lbs. of excess food, equaling 650 meals to those in need. Lumber and building materials were donated to the non-profits Lifecycle Building Center and Habitat for Humanity, and the props department donated bicycles to a local thrift store. These practices and more have qualified Little to receive a 2019 EMA Green Seal.

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