Slow Food, Slow Film?

Lately, media-makers of all stripes have been doing their part to let us know that the world is going to come to an end if we don’t start taking our environmental impact more seriously. It’s a great message to put out there, but one that is especially tough for media-makers to follow in their own companies. Media-making requires a lot of resources.

Image from 416style

Image from 416style

I’ve been coming up with ways that media production could take a cue from the folks in the Slow Food and Slow Travel movements. The idea behind Slow Food and Slow Travel is that, in order to conserve resources, respect other cultures and foster a healthy planet, we need to do things like buy environmentally sound products, avoid wasting fuel, and support local economies. When I googled “slow film,” all I got were a bunch of negative reviews of movies. In film and new media, “slow” is a dirty word.

What if it wasn’t? What would “Slow Film” entail?

Slow Film

  • Cutting down on travel costs by maximizing fuel economy of rental cars and skipping extra scouting trips.
  • Minimizing equipment: Taking only the lightest and most power-efficient equipment.
  • Shooting using mostly natural light.
  • Hiring a local crew instead of bringing your own. Hiring local on-camera talent, or in a documentary, allowing local voices to tell the story themselves.
  • Choosing to make a film with a local setting or subject matter: This connects a film company to its community, and can be a boon to local businesses.
  • Patronizing local camera stores, restaurants, and other businesses while shooting.
  • Distributing over the web rather than burning DVDs.
  • Turning off power when not using post-production equipment.

What else would make good environmental sense, without compromising the quality of your project? Are there film companies out there that are dedicated to producing media in “slow” ways?