A New Screen Deal – A route map to sustainable film production

The Covid-19 lockdown contributed to improving the UK’s air quality across our cities. Factory and road traffic emissions were reduced across the board – from  carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides and ozone formation to particulate matter. Global air traffic dropped by 60%. Reductions in carbon generating manufacture processes, services and products makes a huge difference to the planet – even temporarily. A joined up strategy together with policy and behavioural changes across the UK will help us meet our 2050 net-zero carbon emission target.


Against this backdrop Sargent-Disc’s partner, Bafta albert, with the BFI and Arup, has published A New Screen Deal. The report provides both a vision and practical road map to help film productions adopt new approaches and processes to improve their environmental footprint, reducing the substantial levels of carbon they create.  Arup analysed the sustainability data from 19 features that were filmed in the UK and US over the last five years, with budgets of $70million and over. The research found that productions generally under-reported their resource consumption and carbon footprint – or did not report it at all.  Where data was available the average big budget production generated 2840 tonnes of CO2 – 50% from fuel consumption, 30% from production energy-utilities and 16% by air travel.



A New Screen Deal calls for the introduction of an accepted standard to measure a film production’s carbon footprint – to make it easier for productions to monitor their impact. Digital collaboration processes, better end-of-life planning  and ensuring the right infrastructure at studio sites are all fundamental to supporting sustainable production, says the report.


The New Screen Deal is  extremely timely. Next year the UK will be hosting the rescheduled 26th ‘Conference of the Parties’ climate summit (COP26) and will have the presidency of the G7. In 2019 the UK production sector saw huge growth, with film and high-end TV production spend of over £3.6bn. The first quarter of 2020 showed that UK production spend was close to £1bn.  As many productions restart after being suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the projected growth of the film industry highlights the urgency of a shift towards more sustainable practices.


Encouragingly, since lockdown and the introduction of the BFC’s Covid -19 Guidance (http://britishfilmcommission.org.uk/guidance/regarding-covid-19-coronavirus/ ), Sargent-Disc has seen an increased uptake of digital production processes through the adoption of its own low carbon Digital Production Officeâ workflows and applications – Digital Payroll Workflow, CrewStart Workflow, DPO, the Production Card and PSL+.


DPO alone saves nearly a tonne of carbon on an average large budget production whilst CrewStart onboarding and contracting can save 10,000 – 25,000 sheets of paper on a similar production employing 350 crew.


Download A New Screen Deal https://wearealbert.org/wpcontent/uploads/2020/09/200901_FinalDraft.pdf


To complement the Screen New Deal report, albert is hosting a series of events, bringing different sectors of the film community together to discuss the recommendations and agree on the steps to  take to hit the net-zero target https://wearealbert.org/event/a-screen-new-deal-route-map-to-sustainable-film-production/.

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