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Sustainable Filmmaking: Night School

@ Universal Pictures

@ Universal Pictures

In their latest collaboration, star Kevin Hart and producer Will Packer bring their signature style to Universal Pictures’ Night School. Hart and Packer join forces with Girls Trip director Malcolm D. Lee and breakout star Tiffany Haddish for this comedy that follows a group of misfits who are forced to attend adult classes in the longshot chance they’ll pass the GED exam.

Filmed in Atlanta, GA, the production team on Night School worked hard to reduce their environmental impact. Starting in the office, the team had a detailed and comprehensive recycling set up, used tree-free paper made out of sugarcane waste fiber, reduced printing where possible, and avoided using plastic water bottles.

On set, the Locations team reduced fuel use by tying into house power at the school location rather than using diesel generators. Additionally, they utilized classrooms in the school as green rooms, reducing the need to shuttle cast back and forth to their trailers between takes. Night School had minimal set construction, and when they did build the Construction Department used RevolutionPly for their set walls, an environmentally responsible alternative to Lauan.

The production repurposed extra materials for good.  Leftover catering was donated to a local non-profit and the Set Decoration department donated school supplies to a school nearby. Following filming, the production passed on office supplies and equipment to First Man, another Universal Pictures production in Atlanta. These practices and more led to Night School receiving a 2018 EMA Gold Seal.

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Sustainable Filmmaking: BlacKkKlansman

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© Focus Features

From visionary filmmaker, Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award® winning Get Out.

While filming in New York City, the BlacKkKlansman production team worked together to reduce their environmental impact. They set up a recycling program in the offices and on stage, and sent out memos to communicate best practices and educate their crew. The construction department purchased FSC-Certified plywood for their set wells, and the set decoration department used carpets made from recycled material. As the film takes place in the 70’s, vintage recycling bins & water dispensers were incorporated into their sets.

A significant portion of the film’s lighting package was LED, saving energy. When filming on stage, they tied into the grid to reduce generator use. Additionally, the transportation department used a solar-powered cast trailer during a portion of production.

The BlacKkKlansman team made efforts to give back to the local community, including organizing a crew coat drive for New York Cares. The greens department donated bluegrass sod from set to the Ossining Fire Department. Catering donated 670 lbs of excess food through Rock and Wrap It Up!, which equates to 558 meals served to the hungry. These practices and more contributed to BlacKkKlansman receiving a 2018 EMA Gold Seal.

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Sustainable Filmmaking: Mamma Mia!

@ Universal Pictures

@ Universal Pictures

Get ready to sing and dance, laugh and love all over again. Ten years after Mamma Mia! The Movie grossed more than $600 million worldwide, you’re invited to return to the magical Greek island of Kalokairi in an all-new original musical based on the songs of ABBA. With the film’s original cast returning and new additions including Lily James, Andy Garcia and Oscar® winner Cher, the musical comedy opens on July 20, 2018.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is produced by Judy Craymer and Gary Goetzman, producers of the original film. Craymer is also the creator and producer of the worldwide smash-hit stage musical.

Filmed in London and Croatia, the Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again production crew went above and beyond to reduce their environmental impact. While in London, the production partnered with local company Charlie Spotless to educate crew and implement a waste diversion program that included recycling, composting, and waste-to-energy. This effort resulted in a 99% diversion rate for on set waste, meaning zero materials were sent to landfill. To cut down on carbon emissions, heaters were powered with biodiesel from OnBio.  Made solely from used cooking oil, this alternative fuel reduced the production’s carbon footprint by 49 metric tons.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again focused on reducing waste and using sustainable materials. For example, the crew reduced plastic waste by refilling reusable water bottles and most office paper contained 100% recycled content. Additionally, a vast majority of the set lights were LEDs, reducing energy use.

The crews in both London and Croatia gave back to the community in which they filmed. In London, the production donated clothing, shoes, and household items to Cancer ResearchChanging Pathways, and Help Refugees. Excess catering was donated to the local non-profit City Harvest, who in turn served it to Londoners in need. In Croatia, the production used proceeds from recycling to purchase toys for local schools.

These practices and more contributed to Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again receiving a 2018 EMA Gold Seal.

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NBCUniversal Awarded Green Seals at 28th Annual Environmental Media Awards

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NBCUniversal had another record-setting year at the 28th Annual Environmental Media Awards, continuing to demonstrate its leadership in sustainable production.

EMA Green and Gold Seals were awarded to thirty-eight NBCUniversal television and feature film productions, recognizing progress in sustainable production practices. This is the fourth year in a row NBCUniversal has received the most EMA Green Seals of any producing studio. Nineteen of the acknowledgments were EMA Gold Seals, recognizing the top performing productions based on a comprehensive sustainable production scorecard.

Below is a complete list of the NBCUniversal 2018 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: First Man, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again*, Night School, Untitled Robert Zemeckis Project*
  • Focus Features: BlacKkKlansman, Johnny English Strikes Again*, Mary Queen of Scots*
  • Universal Television: A.P. Bio*, The Brave*, Brooklyn Nine-Nine*, Champions*, Chicago Fire*, Chicago Med*, Chicago P.D.*, Good Girls*, Great News*, Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert, Law & Order True Crime, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, The Mindy Project, The Path*, Reverie*, Rise, Superstore*, Untitled Yang & Hubbard, Will & Grace
  • Universal Cable Productions: The Arrangement*, Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block, Damnation, Falling Water*, Happy!, Imposters*, Impulse, The Magicians, Unsolved
  • Universal Television Alternative: Hollywood Game Night Special, Making It, World of Dance

*EMA Gold Seal winners

In addition, The Good Place was recognized for its environmental messaging on screen. It was one of three shows to be nominated for an EMA Award in the Television Episodic Comedy Category. Episode 213, “Somewhere Else”, written and directed by Michael Schur, featured the main character changing for the better and becoming an environmental activist.

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(The award ceremony was hosted by Amber Valetta, an EMA board member, and speakers included environmental activists Lance Bass, Jaden Smith, and Amy Smart.)

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Comcast NBCU Commits to Sustainability with New Telemundo Center

Comcast NBCUniversal works to reduce the environmental footprint of our facilities. Our buildings identify ways to improve efficiency in energy, water consumption and waste reduction through innovative design elements. The Telemundo Center, a new state-of-the-art global headquarters for Telemundo in Miami is one such example, rising to the challenge of building better.

The Telemundo Center’s 500,000 square-foot facility is built on 21 acres with studios for news, sports, entertainment, international and digital media all under a single roof. Moving from Hialeah, Florida, the guiding principle for the new headquarters’ conceptual design plan ensures the adoption of advanced sustainability standards and initiatives.  Among the main business practices promoted at the new facility are waste reduction methods that limit environmental impact and promote sustainability.

Here are some significant green initiatives being implemented throughout the new building:

Energy

  • “Think before you print”: A new digitalization and archiving policy to incentivize less printing and conserve paper, ink and electricity. Secure Printers that employees can access throughout the building also eliminate the need of additional individual printers.
  • Lighting and Energy Saving: The building uses 100% LED light to consume less electricity than incandescent or fluorescent lighting.  Each light can be controlled individually so they can be off when not in use and save additional power usage. Strategically placed skylights also allow for natural light throughout the building.
  • Cafeteria: Non-disposable silverware is provided to all employees. For takeout orders, eco-friendly packaging and cutlery are offered. No plastic utensils, mugs or straws are used. To promote further waste reduction, discounts are offered at the coffee bar for employees that use reusable mugs.

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Water

  • Water refilling stations: No plastic water bottles are sold in the building to eliminate waste. Instead, there are 4 water-refilling stations available on each floor. Each one monitors how many plastic bottles have been saved with every fill at the facility. This effort alone keeps an average of 443 plastic water bottles out of circulation daily which adds up to 115,180 bottles per year. To date, 20,241 plastic bottles of water have been eliminated thanks to these refilling stations alone.

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Waste and Recycling

  • Organic Waste: Establishing a clean desk etiquette, no organic waste is permitted in work areas. All organic waste is collected and disposed of in pantries or the cafeteria.
  • Trash and Recycling Bins: Clearly identified trash and recycle bins are located throughout Telemundo Center near the printing stations and pantries. There are no individual waste baskets in the offices or workstations.
  • Recycling Program: A robust recycling program promotes employee awareness and maximizes engagement on an ongoing basis to inspire habitual practices for employees’ homes and families.

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Transportation

  • Electric Car Charging Stations: There are 10 ChargePoint CT4000 series electric car-charging stations available, at cost, for all employees. Once cars are fully charged, a notification is sent via text/email advising the employee that the car is ready for pick-up.
  • Carpooling and Commuter Services: The Telemundo Center uses the RideFlag app. Employees submit their destination and find ideal carpool matches based on overlapping routes. Giving employees the choice on whom to ride with, the system seamlessly routes the driver to the rider. RideFlag also verifies the carpools, the miles that were driven and CO2 savings.

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Vendors

  • Eco-friendly Vendors: An essential element of Telemundo Center’s efforts is doing business with eco-friendly vendors that prioritize recyclable materials. A prime example is the dry-cleaning company that provides services for employees. They use biodegradable bags and environmentally friendly GreenEarth solvent.

Promoting sustainability is a full-time occupation. To support Telemundo Center’s sustainability initiatives, a dedicated Green Team drives all sustainability efforts within the building. The Green Team ensures implementation, progress and continues to find new ways to protect the environment and the future. The buildings where we work, live and play every day offer great opportunities to make our operations more sustainable, and Comcast NBCUniversal’s newest location at Telemundo Center is fully committed to that effort.

 

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Sustainable Filmmaking: Pitch Perfect 3

© Universal Pictures
© Universal Pictures

Now graduated from college and out in the real world where it takes more than a cappella to get by, the Bellas return in Pitch Perfect 3, the next chapter in the beloved series that has taken in more than $400 million at the global box office. After the highs of winning the World Championships, the Bellas find themselves split apart and discovering there aren’t job prospects for making music with your mouth. But when they get the chance to reunite for an overseas USO tour, this group of awesome nerds will come together to make some music, and some questionable decisions, one last time. Pitch Perfect 3 is again produced by Paul Brooks of Gold Circle Entertainment and Max Handelman & Elizabeth Banks of Brownstone Productions, and is directed by Trish Sie (Step Up All In).

Filmed in Atlanta, Georgia, the Pitch Perfect 3 production team worked hard to implement practices to reduce their environmental impact. This started from the beginning in the production office, where they set up half a dozen water stations to reduce disposable water bottles, recycling bins throughout the office and at each staff member’s desk, and purchased 100% tree-free white copy paper made from sugarcane waste fiber.

When shooting on stages and at the Georgia Aquarium, the facilities provided power drops which reduced the need for generators. More than 50% of the lighting fixtures on some sets were LED, lowering energy consumption. To avoid using tropical hardwood Lauan plywood, the construction department used the more environmentally sustainable alternative Revolution Ply to build set walls.

The Pitch Perfect 3 crew made a conscious effort to donate to the community when possible, as well as repurposing materials to avoid waste. The construction team donated excess paint to the non-profit Global Paint for Charity as well as a local school theater. The production office donated excess paper to a local preschool, and donated furniture to the non-profit Women of Gilgal. The Universal assets team was able to re-purpose over 125 linear feet of set walls and materials to other local productions, and donated over 12,300 lbs of lumber and set building materials to the non-profit Lifecycle Building Center. Catering donated 5,140 lbs of excess food to Women of Gilgal and the Atlanta Mission, which equates to 4,280 meals served to the hungry. These practices and more contributed to Pitch Perfect 3 receiving a 2017 EMA Green Seal.

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Sustainable Filmmaking: Darkest Hour (2017)

 

DARKEST HOUR

© Focus Features

A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

Filmed primarily in London and Yorkshire, the Darkest Hour team implemented sustainable production practices to reduce their environmental impact. Offices were set up to minimize waste. Best practices included recycling, plumbed in water coolers, and replacing disposable food service products with washable glasses, dishes, and cutlery. On set, reusable bottles were supplied to crew on Day 1 of the shoot to cut down on plastic water bottle waste. This resulted in cast and crew using approximately 11,000 less water bottles than other productions of this size. As a period drama, nearly all set dressing and props were obtained second hand, reducing the need to purchase new. When building sets, the construction team utilized sustainable building materials such as FSC Certified Plywood.

In wrap, sets from the film’s “War Rooms” found a second life on the RMS Queen Mary, where they will be transformed into a restaurant. Set Dressing and production supplies such as shelving and furniture were donated to three local non-profits: Shelter (housing assistance,) Dad’s House (food bank), and the British Heart FoundationDarkest Hour received a 2017 EMA Green Seal, recognizing its sustainable efforts in production.

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Cool Planet Award Honors NBCUniversal

Today, NBCUniversal was honored with the Cool Planet Award-Media Sector by The Climate Registry and Southern California Edison. According to The Climate Registry, the award “recognizes the valuable contribution of Southern California Edison business customers who demonstrate exemplary leadership in energy and carbon management.”

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The award was given for fifteen energy efficiency projects at Universal Studios from 2014 to 2017. Those projects include LED lighting installation in broadcast studios, LED lighting improvements at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, and retrofitted central plants among others. The projects submitted for the Cool Planet Award are now saving the company approximately 6.2 million kWH annually.

“California continues to demonstrate that carbon emissions can be decoupled from economic growth. The Cool Planet Award recognizes businesses that incorporate sustainability into their long term plans,” said Ann McCabe, Interim Executive Director of The Climate Registry. “The Award recipients demonstrated a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint by working alongside SCE in order to manage their energy use.”

The awards ceremony and luncheon took place at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, CA. For more information, please visit www.theclimateregistry.org

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Sustainable Filmmaking: The Snowman (2017)

Universal Pictures and Focus Features are committed to reducing the environmental impact from filmmaking activities. To assist in this effort, NBCUniversal developed a Sustainable Production Program which empowers our film divisions to integrate sustainable best practices across their productions.

At the foundation of the program are easy to use infographics which illustrate sustainable production best practices. These practices span across all production operations and equip filmmakers and crewmembers with the tools to take action and reduce impact. To view the infographics and learn more about our sustainability program, click here.

Read on for examples of how our film crews have integrated environmental action into their everyday work:

The Snowman, October 20, 2017

© Universal Pictures .                                                                                                                      ©Universal Pictures

Michael Fassbender (X-Men series), Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Independence Day: Resurgence), Val Kilmer (Heat) and Academy Award® winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) star in The Snowman, a terrifying thriller from director Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), based on Jo Nesbø’s global bestseller.

When an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit (Ferguson), the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.

One of the largest productions to be filmed in Norway, The Snowman introduced sustainable production practices to the local film community. The production earned qualification points towards the Norway Film Incentive through the implementation of this sustainability strategy. Going beyond standard practices in Norway, the production partnered with the local city council to provide reusable water bottles to crew and coordinate location recycling pickups.

Additionally, the construction team incorporated existing materials to create the look and feel of the film. Sets were built with more sustainable options such as birch, poplar and OSB. In wrap, a large portion of their materials were sold to local art schools to avoid disposal. The Snowman implemented energy efficient practices including LED set lighting, tying into the grid to avoid diesel generators, and utilizing trailers with solar panels. The production office donated leftover paper to local kindergartens and the Red Cross. These practices and more earned The Snowman a 2016 EMA Green Seal, recognizing progress in sustainable production practices.

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Reducing Waste at Global Citizen Festival

Plastic water bottles are turning music festival grounds into a mass synthetic graveyard. According to Rolling Stone, the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival with 90,000 attendees in Tennessee, produced more than 679 tons of waste of four days. That is equivalent to around 169 tons of waste per day that is produced at the pace of 7 tons an hour. Most of the waste produced comes from plastic water bottles. Since the 50’s, humans have produced more than 18 trillion pounds of plastic. A burden so heavy, that it’s only matched by the volume of 25,000 Empire State Buildings. Whew!

Attendees filling up their bottles

On September 23rd, MSNBC and ComcastNBCUniversal joined forces with our partner Global Citizen at their annual Global Citizen Festival, starting a conversation on the importance of sustainability and water access for people around the world. Artists including Stevie Wonder, Green Day, Demi Lovato and Pharrell took a stance, lending their celebrity to solutions that can help end extreme poverty and provide clean drinking water for all.

 

On this particularly warm summer day in New York City, MSNBC and Comcast NBCUniversal set up multiple water stations around the main stage in Central Park. Volunteers distributed re-fillable water bottles and filled the compostable cups of thirsty festivalgoers. With more than 60,000 attendees, this effort shined a light on the abundance of plastic water bottles amassed at music festivals and large gatherings. By filling reusable bottles, we highlighted some important facts about drinking water and the necessity for access to clean drinking water for all.

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MSNBC and Comcast NBCUniversal continue to partner with pro-social organizations like Global Citizen to bring positive change in our communities. Missed Global Citizen Festival? Continue the conversation and catch-up on all the highlights http://www.nbcnews.com/globalcitizen.

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