Green Filmmaking

els rientjes

Els Rientjes. Image courtesy

The movie industry is a prime wastemaker. However one woman has sparked the green movement in filmmaking in the Netherlands. ELS RIENTJES tells us about the movement, her journey of discovering sustainable methods and what's next for the future of sustainability in the film and TV industries.

Story by Maya Tan


In 2015 Els Rientjes was appointed the the first official Sustainability Manager for the Dutch film industry. With years of experience within the Dutch Television and Film Industry to draw from; as a Creative Producer at IDTV, Manager of TV Productions at Niehe/Stokvis, and Creative Producer at Fu Works, she is well-equipped to take on the challenge.


Els Rientjes speaks to Think City on a special visit to the Netherlands at the EYE Film Institute in Amsterdam. Listen to the interview with Els Rientjes:

As a result of this movement, Dutch film professionals have since grown to see the importance and benefits of sustainable film production.  Rientjes has developed a structural framework, looking at various parts of the film industries from generated energy to the conservation of resources and responsible waste disposal, through which the whole of the industry can produce films and television in a more sustainable fashion.



Rientjes took cues from the music festival circuits about generating clean energy on set such as the use of solar panels. Image by Jason Blackeye


Describing the process of discovery and the implementation of sustainable methods, Rientjes introduces us to the Bottom Up philosophy, an interesting metaphor that describes filmmaking as climbing a mountain.  It is a long journey and people learn as they ascend. There are also many stops where climbers can then share stories of what they learnt along their journey. She emphasises that sharing in this manner is crucial to the green movement.


SustainableSessions_2013 hosts regular masterclasses to share knowledge on sustainable methods. Image courtesy of


Green Filmmaking produced a series of humorous commercials to highlight that sustainable methods can be simpler than expected:


Looking to the future, Rientjes is keen to emphasise that the green movement in filmmaking will create support businesses that will further bolster the film and TV industries, creating more jobs, and enabling production companies to earn money from being innovative about their processes. This is in line with the national initiative in the Netherlands to create a Circular Economy where resources are recycled, harvested for raw materials and resold into the economy, creating a scenario which is as close to zero waste as possible.



Datin Shalini Ganendra, Shalini Ganendra Fine Art. Image courtesy Shalini Ganendra Fine Art

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