Agora Talks: Human & Company Sustainability in Film Production

As part of the Agora Talks of the 64th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, a discussion on human and company sustainability in film production took place on Tuesday, November 7th, at MOMus - Museum of Photography, in collaboration with ACE Producers. The panellists were: Jean Laurent Csinidis, Producer, Films de Force Majeure (FR), Vicky Micha, Producer, Asterisk* (GR) and Juliane Schulze, Strategic Creative Economy Expert (DE). The discussion was moderated by Louise Højgaard Johansen, Producer, Sane Cinema (DK).

The often causing great pressure, were highlighted. Producers noted the importance of a constant strategies’ reassessment and development based on solid and healthy corporate values discussion began with producers' comments on the film working conditions, through their own experiences. The importance of exchanging ideas and seeking solutions for healthier and more sustainable working conditions was highlighted. Along the way, the key issues, currently prevailing in the film production, as for example difficulties in funding, inclusiveness and the balance relationship between private and professional life, as well as the impact all the above have on mental health, were mentioned. Among other things, competitiveness and continuous success, as an example of a more sustainable model.

Juliane Schulze, creative economy strategy expert, presented her perspective and guidance on the role and characteristics leading people should develop in order to move towards more viable practices, stressing the importance of communicating between team members, underlining that a good leader must listen to his colleagues. Looking at the broader film industry, she cited alarming data of survey data, such as the recent survey published in The Film and Charity a few months ago, where 60% of respondents are considering leaving the film industry because of mental health reasons.

Meanwhile, there were references to practical tools and steps that a producer may follow to develop more viable strategies, with emphasis on the role of leadership, while ideas were discussed on how this could be realized through specially designed training programs.

Then, there were questions and comments. Τhe importance and the difference that the implementation of a code of conduct can make, as well as other approaches such as careful selection of human resources, was then discussed. Creating a working environment with these principles is more likely to attract younger generations, who, as mentioned, are looking for a healthier working environment. The participants also commented that bottom-up solutions need to be proposed in order to bring about any significant change in the film industry. Finally, it was stressed that this is about a discussion with issues to be studied. Despite the fact that the problems are slowly recognized, the positive thing is that "the door of discussion has now been opened".