With its dramatic nature scenery and as a new destination on the horizon of filmmakers, the film industry has a lot of potential for growth in the Faroe Islands. The Filmshúsið – the local film institute – supports local artists and promotes their talent and the destination to foreign producers.
Enabling local professional growth and ensure learnings and experiences with filmmakers from outside the nation, is the strategy to further establish a strong local film industry.
What are the main sustainability aspects in film making in the fragile nature of the Faroe Islands – a discussion with the director of the Filmshúsið – Tina Wagner – gives insights.
According to the Code of Best Practices in Sustainable Filmmaking, the main consideration for any production is to minimize the amount of resources used and carbon created—the current critical measure for climate change—in producing film works. All along the value chain of film-making, the code provides some valuable advice. But vibrant destinations are not simply backdrops. They are delicate ecosystems that need protection, and they are communities of real people who have their own opinion about use of their land for commercial purpose.
Security issues and respect of privacy are among the main challenges we face here in the Faroe Islands. People can be irresponsible and naive, and we strongly advise employing a local security manager when filming here. Only the local professionals will be able to distinguish private from public land and know about safety concerns and necessary distances to the cliffs and wildlife territories. The Faroe Islands are in great parts natural habits with no fences and signs, and local farmers are not fond of film crews trampling their farmland.
It is however difficult to control, as no permits are needed e g for commercials in the Faroe Islands – except shootings in streets.
Flying drones is another issue: there are of course rules for operating drones on private lands and near the airport (on VFI website: https://vfihiking.com/en/plan-your-stay/practical-information/drones) – where it clearly says what is and what is not allowed. Common sense and collecting valid information before operating drones here are important – and to respect bird-and wildlife areas as well as the privacy of landowners. Visit Faroe Islands is now investing in infrastructure for farmers to build fences and guidance about footpaths to help better organising the matter.
Green production and providing electric cars for the actors and the crews are the next steps to take. Specialist technical equipment is limited here in the islands, so producers will have to bring it into the islands.
We are all working to ensure the Faroe Islands are and will stay a responsible and sustainable destination. Film crews coming here, want to picture the unique environment, so we will do all it takes to ensure a safe and creative approach.
Another area to look at, is expanding the recommendations for particularly picturesque sceneries in the Faroe Islands – “overtourism” happens when several crews and commercials focus all on the same few spots – these need to be untangled.
To protect what you are looking for as a filmmaker – unique and breath-taking sceneries – must become best practise for all location scouts and production teams. Use the Checklists provided by the Code of Best Practises for sustainable Filmmaking as an additional source for being a responsible industry!
CMSI – Center for Media and Social Impact https://cmsimpact.org/about-us/
More stories showcasing sustainability aspects for international events will be shared in Visit Faroe Islands Meetings LinkedIn profile – make sure to follow the LinkedIn showcase!
Johanna Fischer for Visit Faroe Islands Meetings, February 2022