If you buy or rent "Away We Go," make sure to check out the special feature on the green-minded production of the film.
A few weeks ago, I rented Away We Go, a movie I had been wanting to see since last summer when it was in theaters. I really liked it, which I had expected. (Seriously, you should rent it. It’s good.) But, what surprised me was one of the special features on the DVD that talked about how the filmmakers had worked to ensure that the production of Away We Go was as environmentally friendly as possible. The film’s director, Sam Mendes, and some of the producers talked about how wasteful and energy intensive most film sets are, with all the lights, equipment, trucks and set pieces, and how that inspired them to approach this film in a totally different way. For instance, they used refillable water bottles, biodegradable plastics, biodiesel and hybrid vehicles, low-energy washers and dryers for the wardrobe department, sustainable set-building materials, eco-friendly cleaning products and corn- and sugar-based biodegradable dinnerware. Even the actual film was environmentally friendly — they used something called three-perf film, which uses one-quarter less film and chemicals in the development process than traditional film. I thought that was a pretty cool idea, so I looked into it a little more and found out that there are apparently whole companies and initiatives devoted to “greening” film productions. The makers of Away We Go used Earthmark/Green Media Solutions, a consulting group that helps television producers and filmmakers reduce their carbon footprint and the overall environmental impact of their productions. And, the film was part of NBC’s Green Is Universal campaign, which works to “bring an environmental perspective to our networks, our platforms, our audiences [and] our communities.” Green film production is definitely an interesting concept, and one that I hope we start to hear about more and more as the concept catches on. If one major studio (in this case, Focus Features) can do it, why not everyone else in the filmmaking world?