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Cannes Film Festival Faces Uphill Battle To Going Green

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While the Cannes Film Festival may be have the honor of premiering such eco-conscience films as The 11th Hour and An Inconvenient Truth, don’t expect those green themes to be rubbing off anytime soon. The waste produced during the festival is just about as large as one would expect with the glam and glitter overtaking any form of environmental stewardship.

Leila Conners Petersen, co-director of 11th Hour had this to say in a recent interview, “Cannes is an icon of waste and consumption, but it is also an icon of cinema, where the world’s attention is focused. While it’s upsetting to see all the waste here, Cannes also provides a unique opportunity to get the green message out.”

Truly, Cannes does provide one of those “inspiration with the entertainment” type venues; but resistance is met by organizers at almost every level to pursue eco-friendly alternatives. However, as the article points out, there are promising developments shaping up.

“For the first time, the American Pavilion has a carbon-neutral footprint, having bought carbon offset credits through the U.S. group Native Energy to match the energy it wastes. The AmPav also has a 40-strong “Green Team” of students trawling the international pavilion and Cannes hotels, collecting recyclables from festival attendees.

The Marche du Film, the market of film buyers and sellers that takes place during the festival, introduced its own recycling bins this year, another first.”

Unfortunately, that’s about it. Not one of the dozens of other pavilions scattered about the festival bothered to approach the American Pavilion for advice on how to reduce their impact. As another perfect example, that giant red carpet — almost 5,000 sq ft. of it — is pure plastic that’s ripped up and thrown away as soon as everyone leaves. Kenny Ausubel, founder of the environmental group Bioneers (who also makes an appearance in The 11th Hour) summed it up perfectly,

“‘Right now, I think that humanity is acting a lot like a movie star trashing a hotel room at Cannes, when it comes to the environment,’ Ausubel said. ‘Maybe that’s a message we should also get out there.'”

It’s interesting that with the Oscars and Golden Globes embracing green, that a major film festival like Cannes has yet to ride the wave. Considering the press green receives today, you would think it would be in vogue. Is it European high society indifference on the subject that makes is less than “chic” to promote? Or has the message simply not been made serious enough to trump the other green attracting all the attention?

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