A Sustainability Plan for the Documentary: Behind the Screens


The documentary project, Behind the Screens: Sustainable Production in British Columbia, is a project produced by Green Spark Group to showcase sustainable production and opportunities for improvement in the motion picture industry locally. While this project is small in scope, we can still do our part to reduce our impact. 

Many times films with sustainability related content do not show the production activities that took place behind the scenes. While their content is noble, the audience does not get to see the full picture of how this content came to be and the impacts associated.

Our team at Green Spark Group is on a mission to help productions of all sizes account for their impacts and make the appropriate reductions. This project is an example of how a small production can plan for sustainability and work toward a light footprint.

Below is a snapshot of our project and the sustainability areas that we feel are relevant to focus on and goals we will work toward.

Behind the Screens profile 

Project Geographic Scope:   British Columbia, Canada, primarily the lower mainland
Project Length:                       Estimated 30 minute documentary
Project Budget:                      $100,000 CAD plus in-kind donations
Primary Audience:                 Motion Picture Industry: Studios, Professionals, Crew
Secondary Audience:            General Public
Production Team:                  Zena Harris, Aza O’Leary, Malcom Carter

Sustainability topics we are focusing on for this project:

Social responsibility:

The social nature of this project focuses primarily on:

  • collaboration with interview subjects and other stakeholders in the industry to gather sustainability stories and feedback for the content of this film
  • collaboration with sponsors and partners to showcase the latest products and solutions to help the industry continually improve
  • collaboration with industry professionals and organizations to assist with this project

Our goals: 

  • treat everyone with respect
  • utilize the information provided in the intended context 
  • portray all feedback accurately
  • showcase the products, services and solutions that are aligned with sustainable principles and values
  • include as many industry professionals and organizations in this project
  • recognize everyone who contributes

Environmental responsibility:

There are a few key areas that we are focusing on that do have an environmental impact including:  

  • greenhouse gas footprint (including transportation)
  • waste 

Our goals:

  • be aware of all of our actions and make choices that minimize our impact
  • to track our actions that contribute to our footprint and production waste
  • to minimize the amount of driving needed for production meetings. 
  • carpool when possible
  • reduce the amount of paper we use 
  • use reusable materials/products as much as possible

Economic responsibility:

Funding for this entire project comes from individual donations (direct and crowdfunded), corporate sponsorship and grants. We have a very defined budget and will seek in-kind donations.

An overview of our financial outlook:

  • budget: $100,000 CAD 
  • estimated $50,000 worth of in-kind donations
  • additional money raised will go toward marketing and workshops

our goals:

  • stay within our budget

  • do not spend frivolously

  • seek in-kind donations

  • conduct business ethically and in accordance with the law

  • raise enough money to bring this piece to film festivals and conduct workshops on sustainable production.