Passing on Responsibility: Obstacles to Green Film Production in the Netherlands

Judith Keilbach, Fieke Spoler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Based on a small scale research project in the Netherlands, this article discusses the obstacles that impede sustainable filmmaking in a country with a relatively small film industry. Despite attempts to create ecological awareness and generate behavioral change amongst film professionals in the early 2010s, Dutch filmmakers are reluctant to consider implementing sustainable solutions. To understand their reluctance better we conducted interviews with six film professionals who consider themselves environmentally aware and believe that the Dutch film industry should work in a more sustainable manner. From our respondents we learned that the reasons for not implementing green measures are manifold. The particular work culture and hierarchical structure that characterizes film production in the Netherlands are one reason why nobody takes responsibility for initiating green practices. Since professionals in all hierarchical layers attach great value to their reputation, they are afraid of damaging their status by asking for green solutions. Another problem that we identified is a hierarchically loaded communication gap. Our respondents had different expectations of who should make the first step, but it turned out that these expectations were never communicated. Ultimately, financial constraints and related time pressures are considered the biggest obstacles, since they result in standard routines and leave no room for thinking about new, sustainable ways of film production.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFilm and Television Production in the Age of Climate Crisis
Subtitle of host publicationTowards a Greener Screen
EditorsPietari Kääpä, Hunter Vaughan
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-98120-4
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-98119-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in Media and Environmental Communication
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISSN (Print)2634-6451
ISSN (Electronic)2634-646X


  • Sustainable film production
  • Work culture
  • Responsibility
  • Reputation
  • Communication gap


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