X-Files creator Chris Carter says sustainability measures in film production are achievable—and save money

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      X-Files creator Chris Carter predicts that Vancouver will become "the model for green production" in North America.

      "Producers are going to be flocking here like you've never seen before," he told of attendees at the inaugural Sustainable Production Forum at the Vancouver International Film Festival on October 7 at Vancity Theatre.

      "You're gonna have to build a wall," he joked, garnering laughter from the audience. "It'll be huge, made out of recycled materials. And yes, the Americans are going pay for it."

      With that in mind, Carter delivered a keynote speech to kick off the day of sessions held to address what measures screen industries can take to become green and environmentally responsible.

      An industry video detailed what steps The X-Files took to become more green.

      Some measures were as simple as giving out water bottles out to crew to eliminate use of disposable plastic bottles, having recycle and composting bins at all locations, using LEDs whenever possible, and reusing office materials (such as binders).

      When an animal shelter was created for the set of one episode, all animal feed and supplies were donated afterward to two real animal shelters. The wardrobe was taken from a previous Fox show, and then was sent to another show to use afterwards.

      One challenge in the industry is figuring out what to do with "dirty foam", which has glue or paint on it. However, the X-Files production crew found a vendor willing to take foam with glue on it.

      All waste from the production, instead of going directly to landfill, was sent to a third party to extract all reusable resources to reduce amount of waste.

      Carter said they recycled 81 percent of material waste on show, including over 40 tonnes of foam plus 33 tonnes of waste.

      Most of all, he wanted people to understand that sustainability is possible and achievable.

      "It can be done through a spirit of cooperation, sharing, and mindfulness," he said. "Every choice we make in production is an energy choice, whether it's using biofuels in our generators or simply turning off our vehicles if we stop to talk on the phone."

      Mayor Gregor Robertson presented opening remarks at VIFF's Sustainability Production Forum.
      Craig Takeuchi

      Addressing industry members assembled, he encouraged everyone to think about the true nature of the business that they're in.

      "I think it's important to be mindful that we make a product the world can very well do without: a luxury good," he said. "And in manufacturing a luxury, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Not only must we make a great product…but we also must do as little harm as possible."

      Carter, who has lived off and on in Vancouver for 25 years, said he has seen how interest in sustainability within Vancouver has carried over into the local entertainment business.

      He pointed out how hydroelectric power in B.C. is "just one of the many reasons it's not only preferable to shoot here but responsible as well".

      In the end, he wanted to point out one of the biggest incentives of all when it comes to the bottom line in the industry: taking steps towards sustainability means saving money.

      He said that in 2015, the X-Files revival series shot in Vancouver not only managed to reduce its footprint but it also saved an impressive $40,000 on production costs.

      Carter's contributions to B.C.'s film industry were recognized on the same day with a presentation of the 2016 VIFF Industry Builder Award at a luncheon held at the Fairmont Pacific Rim by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and BC Creates.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook