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'Europe is burning' – can film festivals adapt to climate change?

Often, when attending major international film festivals, people’s thoughts about the weather are limited to the question of what to wear. For Cannes, you leave the wool double-breasted at home, and for Venice, maybe pack something flowy or a pair of Bermuda shorts.

This year, things are different.

A severe summer heatwave has swept across Europe, with record temperatures in London, Paris and Rome. A severe drought has led to violent wildfires in France, Portugal and Spain. In Asia, heavy rains caused flash floods in Seoul, South Korea, and more than a dozen people drowned in their parasitic

-style basement apartments. August in Valencia, Spain, one killed, 08 At the Medusa Music Festival, a strong wind blew the stage down, injuring others. Climate science points to such extreme events becoming more common and more intense as the planet warms in the future.

So weather is no longer a fashion issue for the film industry eager to return to live festivals after the forced hiatus of the coronavirus pandemic. It has become an existential crisis.

When temperatures peak in parts of France 250 Fahrenheit In June, local governments banned outdoor public events, including concerts and large public gatherings, a move that will close any major festivals in the area. Elsewhere, extreme heat threatens the infrastructure on which any festival depends. Trains have been delayed or cancelled across the UK as record temperatures threaten to damage tracks. Driven by a surge in air-conditioning use during the summer heatwave, London narrowly avoided a blackout that nearly shut down the city’s grid (London only avoided collapse by buying electricity quickly, at 5, 000 Percent Mark, from Belgium).

“We all watch the news, we know what’s going on, but most people in the film industry continue to act like [the climate crisis] doesn’t exist,” Julian Tricard said , founder of the French médiaClub’Green, which deals with the impact of climate change on the film industry. “But as the events of this summer have shown, Europe is burning. The industry will need to rethink the way they do everything because this is the new normal now.”

So far, extreme weather hasn’t disrupted the holiday season. The Cannes Film Festival took place successfully and comfortably in late May, just before the European heat wave hit. Venice, opening in August. , while Toronto’s TIFF, which starts on September 8, appears to avoid the harshest summer weather. Likewise, the weather for later fall festivals – San Sebastian, Zurich, Busan and London – is expected to be cooler and calmer than June-August.

But the trajectory and apparently accelerating pace of climate change has raised concerns that the next extreme weather event is on the horizon. Probably sooner than expected.

Octavio Passos/Getty Images

“We were lucky to miss the heat wave this year; the maximum temperature was around [87 degrees Fahrenheit],” said Evelyn Voigt-Müller, director of communications for the Munich Film Festival, which runs until July 1. We must keep this in mind if we want to protect our visitors in the future. “

Toronto residents remember 1000, heavy rain in August, distance It’s less than a month since TIFF sparked flash flooding, with runoff pouring from Union Station into the Rogers Arena on Front Street a few blocks south of TIFF’s Bell Lightbox headquarters on King Street. If floods like this hit the Canadian city on TIFF’s opening weekend, It will wash away red carpets at the festival and may even keep Toronto’s loyal moviegoers away from theaters.

Jane da Mosto, co-founder and executive director of We Are Here Venice, a sweltering summer environmental group This has led to water shortages across Italy, “impacting basic living security in cities such as Venice,” she said. “We’re giving this heatwave further confirmation that we’re living in a climate emergency and it’s time to really respond,” she added. . “

The ancient city of Italy is incapable of coping with extreme weather, da Mosto points out that its infrastructure is declining, outdated, and green spaces are scarce.

A motorboat [water bus] without [public transport services] providing shade,” she said. “Tourists and residents are under the same sky. If it’s too hot for the residents, it won’t be so comfortable for the tourists.”

Music in Venice and many other European cities Festivals face an additional problem: Many of their movie theaters, as well as some of the hotels or local homes that festivalgoers use as Airbnbs, are not designed for extreme heat and often lack air conditioning or other amenities.

“We work closely with the National Weather Service and plan and adjust as best we can,” says Voigt-Müller of the Munich Music Festival. “But at the end of the day, we’re really resigned to our fate. This year, we moved the festival headquarters to a new location with a large outdoor tent. There’s no way to cool it. If it reaches [87 Fahrenheit], that’s it.”

THR contacted nearly a dozen major film festivals for this article, none of which had specific plans to deal with the risk of extreme weather.

“We currently have no plans to address this,” Busan International Film Festival (October 6-)) stated in an email that implementing the new agenda “will take time”. ” With the COVID-15 still The raging Busan, South Korea, said preventing the spread of the virus is a priority for this year’s festival. “However, this does not mean that we are not concerned about the impact of climate change and recent global extreme weather events,” the festival said. “At this stage, we are Consider how the climate emergency can be part of our long-term plans for the festival. ”

A wildfire in Athens, Greece.

Milos Bikansky/Getty Images)

So far, the festival’s focus on climate change has been very long-term and focused on reducing energy Use and waste and limit the carbon footprint of activities. Every major festival has a “green plan” outlining how to reduce or compensate for emissions from travel, accommodation and general consumption by purchasing CO2 offsets or other measures are an inevitable part of any major film festival.

“We do everything we can to respect the environment, from recycled paper for our printing programs to providing bikes to address emissions,” Director General Manager Raphaël Brunschwig said that the Locarno Film Festival has been a climate neutral event since 2018 Started publishing its annual sustainability report last year, documenting progress towards its green goals.

“We must focus on what we can control, regardless of global conditions,” Bren “I think what festivals can do, what we are capable of, is raise awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis and promote and focus on films that do that,” Schweiger said. “

But there are things the festival can do now to help mitigate the worst-case heat and other extremes. After this sweltering summer, the traditionally cooler Nordic countries have The union is calling on employers to restructure the working day, taking inspiration from practices in the South, where higher temperatures are the norm. Proposals include taking a longer lunch break or a traditional Spanish nap in the afternoon to avoid working during the hottest part of the day. Moving to the world of film festivals, that could mean scheduling more screenings late at night or early in the morning, when the weather is cooler, or relaxing black tie requirements for evening parties to avoid heatstroke on the red (hot) carpet.

“We have to think outside the box and completely rethink how we do things, how we plan these events,” said Mathieu Delahousse, co-founder of Eco Tournage, a consulting firm that provides Green Solutions production companies and the AV industry. “We must act now, because the longer we wait, the risks and costs will only go up.

Delahousse noted that insurers are already recalculating the risks associated with climate change, ranging from damage from extreme weather to medical costs from cases of heat stroke or dehydration at large public events.

“There will be a huge recalculation of insurance over the next five years and policies will go up,” he noted.

But despite the bleak outlook, and the climate Science points out that things will get worse before they get better, and Della House is optimistic that the film industry will find a way.

“The industry is the best when we take things seriously. Can be incredibly adaptable and flexible,” he said. “Look at the coronavirus. Within six months, we found a new way of doing things that was unimaginable a year ago. Once we take the climate crisis as seriously as we take the coronavirus, we can change.

This story first appeared in August. 15 The Hollywood Reporter Magazine issue. Click here to subscribe.



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