Sustainable Filmmaking: Last Christmas

November 4, 2019

Last Christmas, November 8, 2019

Emilia Clarke (HBO’s Game of Thrones), Henry Golding (A Simple Favor, Crazy Rich Asians), Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson star for director Paul Feig (A Simple Favor, Spy, Bridesmaids) in Last Christmas, a romantic comedy inspired by a George Michael beat, from a screenplay by Academy Award® winner Thompson (Sense and Sensibility, Bridget Jones’s Baby) and playwright Bryony Kimmings.

Kate (Emilia Clarke) harumphs around London, a bundle of bad decisions accompanied by the jangle of bells on her shoes, another irritating consequence from her job as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. Tom (Henry Golding) seems too good to be true when he walks into her life and starts to see through so many of Kate’s barriers. As London transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, nothing should work for these two. But sometimes, you gotta let the snow fall where it may, you gotta listen to your heart … and you gotta have faith.

While filming in London, the Last Christmas cast and crew took their sustainability efforts to the next level. They set a goal from the beginning to be as plastic-free as possible. They distributed thermal cups to everyone on set, which could be used for cold water on warm days, or hot tea on cold nights. Offices included recycling and composting, plumbed in water coolers, glasses, crockery and cutlery.  Paperwork such as call sheets, scripts, and production documentation were delivered electronically, with hard copies only issued on request. White office paper was made from 100% recycled content. Green tips and facts were put onto call sheets to educate and inspire crew.

There were many efforts to reduce the carbon emissions on the production. They used over 60% LED set lighting which uses significantly less energy than standard set lights. In lieu of trailers, the production rented hotel rooms while filming in the London City Center. Cast also made efforts to carpool rather than taking individual vehicles to set. When unit drivers were waiting for their next trip, they were given a warm place indoors to avoid vehicle idling. And when heating their stages, they used renewable diesel made from 100% used cooking oil.

The Last Christmas team also gave back to the local community. They donated over 1,800 lbs of excess food from catering and set decoration to City Harvest London, equaling approximately 1,500 meals fed to those in need. Props, Set Dec, and Wardrobe donated over $11,000 worth of items such as toys, clothing, drums, and furniture to organizations including Suited & Booted, Smart Works, British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, First Days, The Children’s Society, Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy, and Smile for a Child. There was also a voluntary cast and crew clothing and toiletry drive, with items being donated to Whitechapel Mission and the Helen Bamber Foundation. These practices and more led to Last Christmas receiving a 2019 EMA Green Seal.


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