Panic at Rock Island goes green with Goalpost Pictures

09 February, 2011 by IF

Press release from Goalpost Pictures Australia

Independent production company Goalpost Pictures Australia is taking a leading role in ‘greening’ the Australian film and television production industry.


With growing industry concern about the size of its environmental and broader sustainability impacts and as a first step towards developing an ongoing sustainability policy for both production  and its corporate operations, Goalpost Pictures commissioned a sustainability audit of its latest production Panic at Rock Island, filmed in Sydney last year.

Panic at Rock Island is a high concept movie for television, premiering on the Nine Network, directed by Tony Tilse and starring Grant Bowler, Damian Walshe-Howling, Jessica Tovey, Vince Colosimo, Simone Kessell, Dee Smart and Anna Hutchinson. The telemovie was developed by Nine Network Australia and Goalpost Pictures and co-financed by Nine Network Australia and London-based Universal Networks International (UNI).

The sustainability analysis, prepared by GreenShoot Pacific, was delivered this week to Goalpost Pictures Managing Director Ben Grant.

“There are some things in there that I’m very proud of but, to be brutally frank, there are some other outcomes that are quite disturbing,” Ben says.

“For us, commissioning this analysis was a way that we could accurately determine exactly what kind of impact our film and television production has on the environment and identify ways that, going into the future, we can do better.

“There’s been a lot of talk about ‘greening’ the industry over the past couple of years but there hasn’t been a lot of clear direction on the best way forward. At Goalpost, we decided the best way to genuinely review our practices was to have a thorough and professional analysis done during production under real-time conditions, when everyone is in the thick of things and operating at lightning speed and under pressure.”

Panic at Rock Island offered particular environmental issues to be managed. Much of the movie is set at a rock concert in the middle of Sydney Harbour, requiring hundreds of extras and a full live concert rig to be transported to the island as well as the usual crew, equipment and actors.

The analysis identified that Goalpost Pictures had in place policies to manage issues that may interfere with the local community amenity (traffic, noise, waste) and the local environment, including protection of the land and commended the company for its salvage efforts that saw, for example, sets deconstructed and recycled or donated.

“However, we know there is a lot more than can be achieved with better allocation of time, money, resources and communications to achieve a diversion rate of 100% away from landfills. Early engagement is crucial to better cost and environmental outcomes. And it was interesting to note that filming on the Harbour contributed significantly to carbon emissions through the transportation of so much equipment and people, as well as international travel,” Ben Grant said.

A total of 63.85 tonnes of carbon emissions was recorded, attributable to powering the production (24%), hotel nights (4%), and travel and transport of cast, crew and equipment (72%).

The audit recommendations include the development of a procurement policy to direct all departments to purchase sustainably. The report also looks at waste management, water usage, office systems, power usage, health and safety.

”Undertaking this analysis highlighted the importance of as much planning time as possible. With enough time, and the right knowledge so much can be done. Of course in screen production -land time is often a luxury, but once the knowledge and practices are entrenched, it becomes second nature. This report is the first step for Goalpost to embed sustainability along with creative and financial concerns,” said Jane Fullerton-Smith, Managing Director of GreenShoot Pacific.

Panic at Rock Island was made with the support of Screen Australia, Screen NSW and EFIC, the Export Finance Insurance Corporation. Darclight are handling international sales.