SustMOVIE Event at the 80th International Film Festival, Venice
SustMOVIE – Discussion on sustainable filmmaking
I had the pleasure of participating in the ‘SustMOVIE – Discussion on sustainable filmmaking’. The event was held on August 31, 2023, at the Sala Tropicana 1 of the Hotel Excelsior during the 80th Venice International Film Festival. Organized by the Association Ethicando of Milan and communication platform Betting On Italy (BOI), the roundtable, led by Art Director Prof. Marco Eugenio Di Giandomenico, brought together cultural figures, entrepreneurs, and institutions from the film industry to discuss sustainability in cinema.
I had the chance to speak to the audience as the delegate of the California Surf Museum in Oceanside, California. The museum has played an important role in sustainably preserving the history and culture of surfing since 1986 through its vast archives. I shed light on the deep relationship between surfing and film. Many classic surf movies of the 1960s helped spread the sport’s popularity globally. It was exciting to explain how the museum now works to support the film industry by providing access to its collection of historical surfboards, artworks, photographs, magazines, and other memorabilia for films, documentaries, and exhibitions.
I see the museum’s archives as invaluable cultural assets that can sustain cinema through accurate depictions of surfing’s evolution. Recent blockbuster films benefited greatly from researching the museum’s materials on iconic surf locales and styles from different eras. By loaning artifacts and advising on authenticity, the museum is effectively “lending a helping hand” to the movie industry. This mutually beneficial relationship shows how cultural institutions dedicated to conservation can partner with cinema to promote sustainability. Both fields benefit from accurately portraying history and traditions for new audiences to appreciate.
Beside me and Senator Roberto Marti, other panelists elaborated on varied sustainability approaches across the film sector. Just to mention a few:
Luciano Pettoello Mantovani from the India Chamber of Commerce highlighted the economic and social sustainability benefits of international film co-productions between different countries. By jointly sharing resources and talent across borders, along with combining respective consumer markets. Co-production partnerships can decrease the overall environmental footprint of large film projects.
Cristina Bolla, president of the Genoa Liguria Film Commission, elaborated on the importance of location sustainability through film commissions actively promoting their regions as ideal filming spots to production companies. This local sustainability approach importantly boosts the socioeconomic development of those regions by growing jobs and tourism, while also cultivating cultural pride amongst residents as their home’s cultural heritage and landscapes are showcased on screen.
Set designers, Domenico Nicolamarino and Giovanni Licheri elaborated on how advances in digital technology have enhanced the sustainability of their craft. Using virtual design software, they can conceive, test, and refine film sets and props digitally before embarking on physical production. This innovative approach lowers material waste compared to traditional on-set prototyping methods that often require numerous iterative modifications. The designers explained that digital tools let them evaluate design choices in a virtual space, avoiding the need to repeatedly construct partial sets or props using physical materials.
Cultural anthropologist Alessandro Galipoli Di Giandomenico further contributed that examining cinema through a sociocultural lens illuminates its enduring ability to sustain meaningful traditions, collective identities, and communities across generations.
In conclusion, the ‘SustMOVIE’ event provided insightful perspectives on supporting the long-term viability of cinema. Whether through archival conservation of influential cultures, international partnership models, location promotion, or innovative digital design. The adoption of diverse strategies can help the film industry sustain artistic expression while reducing environmental impacts.
Cultural institutions like the California Surf Museum play an underrecognized but vital role in this process by preserving our shared social and creative heritage for filmmakers to sustainably reference for decades to come.
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