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Budapest based ORIGO Studios is the pioneer of green filmmaking

Budapest based ORIGO Studios is the pioneer of green filmmaking

One of the studio’s production crew has planted a tree in honour of the Birds and Trees Day, raising awareness for the importance of sustainable filmmaking.

The Birds and Trees Day in Hungary has a tradition of hundred years. It was initiated by Ottó Herman – scientist, journalist, politician, and the last Hungarian polymath – became official in Hungary in 1902 and it is still celebrated every year. The tradition aims to raise awareness of the environment and the importance of nature.

This year, Birds and Trees Day fell on May 10th. The Environmental Department of the filming crew at ORIGO Studios planted the cherry tree at the main entrance honouring the national day. The compost they used was made out of the packaging catering uses for the crew meals every day, thereby closing the circle of economy and making use of something that would just have been general waste ending up in landfill otherwise.

Origo Studios, The Birds and Trees Day, Hungary, GreenEyes

Photo of the crew – left to right:
Elmar David – Asset Coordinator
Julia Tordai – Co-Environmental Steward
Zsofia Szemeredy – Co-Environmental Steward
Peter Szakacs – Environmental PA
Zoltan Szelvenyi – Environmental PA
Dora Tibay- Environmental PA

Green Eyes, (aka Zsófia and Júlia), who run the Environmental Department on this show, are the very first green stewardesses on a high-end studio production shooting in Hungary. Planting the tree, was a small gesture to what the production aims for. From the get go, they have devised a multi-layered waste management system.

They collected 1.5 tonne of paper and cardboard, 385kg of plastic and 500kg compostable in 6 weeks with the assistance of a crew of 600. This waste garden has been established at the back of the ORIGO Stuidos parking lot, with two containers where the equipment is stored, the waste is collected and hand selected by a partner supplier.

ORIGO Studios has a long-standing commitment to green filmmaking. They’ve been using heat sourced from debris incineration. This is then turned into electricity and returned to the circular economy in the form of electricity that powers the studio buildings, and heats the offices.

Filmmaking is undoubtedly an industry, which leaves a large footprint. No wonder, the likes of the UK Albert, the US PGA or the Canadian Reel Green has been advocating for change within the industry for decades now. Recent studies highlight that the most problematic areas are transportation (aka fuel, flights, hotels etc.) as well as the non-renewable energy sources beyond the standard waste management. According to BAFTA, the British film organization, a single hour of television produced in the U.K.—fiction or non fiction—produces 13 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

There are many things that can be done, starting with losing the plastic bottles (which can be done despite Covid regulations, as the Green Eyes team has shown by rebuilding pedal-operated and sensored water dispensers), swapping to LED lights, composting all the catering packaging, reducing travel etc. However, the most powerful tool in the arsenal is ‘commitment’.

Origo Studios, The Birds and Trees Day, Hungary, GreenEyes

When a production decides to commit and hire a dedicated environmental team, they communicate the ethos towards the production on every level. The environmental team’s job is to get the message to the crew, to sit down with all departments and help in every possible way to work together towards reducing the overall carbon footprint of the production.

Netflix recently announced its plans of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the 2022. Netflix plans to offset its carbon footprint by the end of 2022 in order to achieve the net ZERO goal. Their first steps will include reducing their emissions, then neutralising their emissions that can’t be reduced, and (these projects include restoration of healthy soils, mangroves, and grasslands, which not only capture and store excessive carbon but also provide other benefits too) finally to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

The company has joined hands for research called DIMPACT regarding the neutralization or decarbonizing of the emissions through the devices Netflix viewers use. The strategies Netflix will follow to include the use of electric vehicles, lesser use of diesel generators on sets, and local crews instead of flying whole teams to shooting locations.

Some food for thoughts, a recent article highlighted the impact of streaming at home and how much it increases our personal carbon footprint. It is undoubtedly an area that still needs much research, however it is definitely worth keeping in mind in the age when a family has 6-7 streaming sites at home.

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