by Joanclair Richter, Founder and President
Two weeks ago, MovieMind Green was greening up the Provincetown International Film Festival in Cape Cod! From John Waters to Chloe Sevigny to Sofia Coppola to Aubrey Plaza, it was a star-studded event….but that’s not all it was: it was also the first year the PIFF was going green, with MovieMind Green. This was the 19th annual PIFF and from our point of view, our job is to break down exactly how and where a nearly 20 year old institution could go green.
We started by breaking down the paper situation: printed catalogs with the schedule and movies listings, a box office with printers centrally located in town, communication for meetings and between staff and an array of other inevitable unplanned printing we couldn’t account for. Possible solutions? After meeting with the executive team about all the paper we foresaw being used, they jumped on board to get rid of the app and update the website to be a mobile catalog, ticket office and reference point, all visible clearly on an iPhone. PIFF printed a third of the programs that they printed last year. Plus using a software called Eventival, we brought all the office documents and planning online. Paper reduction? We moved the festival to be 80% digital.
Now plastic. I had been attending this festival for the last 3 years and the been given gift bags filled with an array of plastic given by the sponsors to advertise. Plastic sunglasses, plastic luggage tags, plastic bracelets. Bottom line: these items were getting tossed every year and ending up in our nearby ocean. Provincetown is a peninsula with the bay on one side and the open ocean on the other so harping on ocean plastic went a long way! The festival’s main concern was allowing their sponsors to advertise. So we supplied them with a list of eco-friendly gift options for the bags. The festival reduced the bags to producers only vs. the previous pass holders and minimized giving bags to about 30% less people. Less bags = less plastic and less paper. There were no plastic gifts at all and pulling sponsors from town, we were able to supply reusable aluminum BPA-free water bottles. Plastic reduction: 70%
As we were working from afar here in California, the real key was communication. Once we started working with the festival two months out, each department was notified that we were going green this year which gave them the opportunity to get creative. Transportation? We set up a green zone. If point A to point B was short enough to walk, transportation was not provided. Guest Services? Every lanyard that holds the badges could be recycled year after year. So we borrowed a manikin and at closing party, people tossed their badge around the manikin’s head.
Once we hit the ground running in town, we got in touch with the local recycling committee. Once we were aware they could handle a good amount of compost, we set up a composting team to compost all popcorn and bags from the screenings. A compost team did a pick up and drop off once a day between screenings. And most of all we took meetings with all the staff and volunteers to let every person working the festival know that we are going green this year and to have fun with it! We asked patrons to take the VEG pledge: to eat vegan for one meal a day throughout the festival and offered local vegetarian discounts with participating vendors. The person with the most creative social media post won a free dinner to a local restaurant.
With each theater manager announcing the green initiatives before every screening, plus on-screen adds about our services, there was a buzz in that small town of Provincetown and people wanted to climb on board. We spoke on the local radio, WOMR 92.1, about our work at the festival – our radio debut! Listen in here.
With 10,000 people at the film festival this year, 2,000 more than last year, we are thrilled to report that our changes greatly reduced the festival’s carbon footprint. With Provincetown being such a naturally fragile environment, our work helped to preserve that. This is the first of many film festivals MovieMind Green will be working with.