Green Filmmaking

From diesel-operated generators, to elaborate sets and exploding aeroplanes – the film industry is a prime wastemaker. Els Rientjes is one film producer in the Netherlands who has sparked a movement in greening the movie industry.

“I want to use my passion and knowledge of the film and television worlds in order to make the sustainable innovation more accessible to film producers.” – Els Rientjes. Photo by Maya Tan.

The movie industry is a prime wastemaker. Think of all the exploding cars and aeroplanes you’ve seen in movies in your lifetime! However one woman has sparked the green movement in filmmaking in the Netherlands.

In 2015 Els Rientjes was appointed the the first official Sustainability Manager for the Dutch film industry. With years of experience within the Dutch Television and Film Industry to draw from; as a Creative Producer at IDTV, Manager of TV Productions at Niehe/Stokvis, and Creative Producer at Fu Works, she is well-equipped to take on the challenge.

Els tells us about how it all began:

As a result of this movement, Dutch film professionals have since grown to see the importance and benefits of sustainable film production. Rientjes has developed a structural framework, looking at various parts of the film industries from generated energy to the conservation of resources and responsible waste disposal, through which the whole of the industry can produce films and television in a more sustainable fashion.
Describing the process of discovery and the implementation of sustainable methods, Rientjes introduces us to the Bottom Up philosophy, an interesting metaphor that describes filmmaking as climbing a mountain. It is a long journey and people learn as they ascend. There are also many stops where climbers can then share stories of what they learnt along their journey. She emphasises that sharing in this manner is crucial to the green movement.
Looking to the future, Rientjes is keen to emphasise that the green movement in filmmaking will create support businesses that will further bolster the film and TV industries, creating more jobs, and enabling production companies to earn money from being innovative about their processes. This is in line with the national initiative in the Netherlands to create a Circular Economy where resources are recycled, harvested for raw materials and resold into the economy, creating a scenario which is as close to zero waste as possible.
Below is an example of some of the considerations and processes involved in green filmmaking.

This story was first published under the now-defunct “Think City Channel”.
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