Sustainability is a hot topic in many different fields right now, but how many of you have considered the effects that filmmaking has on the environment?
Richard Kroon, an Executive MBA Alum ’02, has worked in media and filmmaking for a number of years and in 2014 he decided to start his own green company, Happy Planet Productions, in order to produce advanced imaging and environmental projects. The company was formed as a joint venture between Kroon (founder/ producer), Pierre Routhier (co-founder/director) and Tammy Brown (marketing and PR).
Traditional film production is one of the most polluting industries in the Western world. The California, film and television industry produces 8,400,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions each year, and a single studio action film can easily generate 100,000 tons of solid waste.
Happy Planet Productions follow’s the three R’s of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to reduce their environmental impact and offset their carbon footprint to keep their operations carbon-neutral. “We’ve taken the growing trend in green filmmaking (such as promoted by the Producers Guild of America) and took it to the next level to create extreme green filmmaking – that’s where you go fully carbon-neutral and zero-landfill,” remarked Kroon. “It takes some effort, but it doesn’t seem right to produce documentaries about the environment in an environmentally unsustainable way.”
Many people in the industry have been at work on reducing the environmental impact of film and television manufacturing operations, including major studios to small independents. The Producers Guild of America has taken a green leadership in the industry by publishing the Unified Green Best Practices, which establish baseline goals for green production. Traditional photochemical film processing uses highly toxic chemicals and produces physical film prints that are difficult to recycle. Digital filmmaking, however, mostly confines itself to consuming electricity, which can be produced in green and renewable ways, so the film industry’s move to digital production and distribution has had a significantly positive environmental impact.
We asked Kroon what his favorite part of this project was. He responded, “It may seem trite, but it’s the people we meet – both our local volunteers and our interview subjects (no one is paid to appear in the film – they all do it because they support the cause and want to get their story told). Everyone has been very supportive and we’ve been given tremendous access”
Kroon is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner. He holds a BS, MBA, and MA in Media and Communications Psychology. Kroon explained that having an MBA has been beneficial in a number of different ways. Budget and finance issues (at the company level, as well as at the project level) are recurrent matters. “Most movie productions are essentially complex, one-off technology projects, my specific focus in technology management has come in quite handy. Then, of course, there’s just the general confidence that you can take on new and expanded roles because of the exposure gained during the degree program,” said Kroon.
HPP is an independent media & entertainment production company, with offices in Los Angeles, London, and Montréal. It produces long- and short-form documentary and scripted fiction films for the giant screen (IMAX), theatrical, home entertainment, and educational markets.
Find out more information about the HPP by visiting http://happyplanetproductions.org/
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