Planet in Focus calls for carbon-neutral films

Living conscientiously in the post-Inconvenient Truth world becomes a slow process of realizing just how much many of your favourite things contribute to our growing global catastrophe of climate change. Naturally, with a film having been the impetus for so much recent awareness about global warming, someone twigged to the idea of turning the lens back on the film industry itself.

Unfortunately, film production is indeed a huge contributor to climate change, due to the release of greenhouse gases from the sheer electrical requirements of running a modern film shoot... to say nothing of the solid waste tonnage of things like set construction, the fuel requirements for transportation, and so forth.

The Greencode Project is providing a voice for a growing effort in Canada and around the world to form a set of guidelines to encourage ecologically-friendly filmmaking. Calling themselves the film industry's own "Kyoto Accord," they're partnering with the Planet in Focus film festival to reward green filmmaking through a special call for submissions for carbon-neutral films.

The Call for Carbon Neutral Films runs through June 29th. The call seeks to recognize film productions that have chosen to go carbon-neutral - by choosing less energy-intensive options, or by offsetting some of their carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits from energy-efficient projects.

Your film project doesn't have to be by any means a perfect eco-masterpiece, it just has to have made an effort to reduce production-based carbon emissions. You'll need to explain your reasoning and what steps you took to acquire carbon neutrality on the submission form.

Without going to punny, an initiative like this is a breath of fresh air in an industry that has otherwise remained mum on the growing ecological concerns raised by all commercial enterprises these days. Having given up plastic shopping bags, downtown car rides, bottles of water, and [sniff] my beloved action figures all in the space of the last six months, it's nice to see someone lighting the way to a future where filmmakers and media producers can continue to express themselves in Toronto and around the world without contributing to the flood of greenhouse gases that threaten to up-end us clean off the planet.

The Planet in Focus film festival will run October 24-28, 2007. With the environment having become the buzzword among the documentaries at this year's Hot Docs festival, and with creative initiatives such as this one, Planet in Focus looks primed to advance into the majors of Toronto film festivals.

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