Crew led action on climate change: How a UK crew collective are making waves…
As we slowly emerge from the lockdown fog, is now the time to hope for a better workplace? To call a spade a spade, the last few months have been abysmal for a lot of people working in the film industry, but perhaps Cut It offers a glimmer of hope. Working away quietly in the background throughout lockdown this small group of crew have been growing in numbers and spreading the word about the film industry’s less than stellar green credentials.
Formed back in January 2020 with a couple of DOPs and camera crew, Cut It was born out of the pressing need to do something to stop the impending climate crisis. Cut It works on a simple logic: if we are trying to follow ‘green’ measures in our personal lives, then why aren’t we following them in our professional lives? This goes far beyond getting rid of single-use plastic bottles on set - Cut It has the bigger picture in mind. They’re questioning how much diesel is going into generators on location, the energy source that is keeping the studio lights on, and why are crew driving for miles and miles to reach a location that is nowhere near where they live.
Their ask seems rational: environmental training for crew, talking to studios about their energy suppliers, creating local databases to promote local hires, and encouraging crew to carpool. But nor are they blind to the extremely precarious position that the industry now finds itself in. In an industry with deep-seated inequalities, an impending mental health crisis and the crucial need to change its attitude toward race, is the climate one ask too far? The crew of Cut It don’t think so. They’re asking for negotiated change; working with BECTU and producers to form a ‘Green Agreement’, a contractual add-on for HOD contracts similar to an inclusion rider.
Cut It seems to find itself between a rock and a hard place: the impending climate crisis that we are fast running out of time to stop, and an industry only just getting back on its feet that is facing so many other systemic problems. Over the past few months, we’ve seen thousands of UK film and TV freelancers excluded from the government’s support schemes. In our precarious industry, where crew are becoming increasingly disenfranchised and silenced for fear of losing the next job, crew have a voice in Cut It. In the itinerant world of freelance film production, the crew are the infrastructure. Yes, the odds seem heavily stacked against them, but they’re pushing. Because ultimately, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
You can check out Cut It at cutit.org.uk or join their introductory Zoom every Monday at 8pm BST.
(Photo credit @ shutterstock)