Production Design student Natalia Bednarczyk wants to contribute to a sustainable film industry

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Natalia Bednarczyk (Production Design student, The Netherlands Film Academy): “I have always been interested in sustainability. When I came to the Film Academy, I discovered that my lifestyle, which was becoming increasingly sustainable, didn’t fit so well with the film industry in that sense. It’s an industry that consumes an awful lot: everything must be available for a short time, preferably as cheaply as possible, after which it is thrown away. There is still little consideration for the longer term, and I started feeling less and less comfortable about that.

In the first instance, that was reason for me to think, ‘Is this actually the right profession for me?’ But then I thought, all fields will eventually have to become more sustainable, so maybe I’ve actually ended up in a very good situation; one in which I can examine how I can personally contribute to that change. That is why I wrote my thesis ‘Het duurzame interieur’ (The sustainable interior), which is about sustainability and how I can use that myself within my profession.”

Sustainability Platform
“The Sustainability Platform is a group of students and staff members, who together are looking at how we can make the AHK more sustainable. For example, the Platform has ensured that printers automatically print in black and white and double-sided. We are also looking at trying to ensure that the canteen starts selling more sustainable things, that paper cups with a plastic layer are replaced by mugs, those types of things. I would also like to investigate what we could do for the Film Academy specifically. One of my discoveries when writing my thesis, for example, was that there are companies who can pick up and resell used sets, so they don’t end up in the skip.”

“In the first instance, film is about aesthetics; creating something beautiful and interesting. In the case of sustainability, people are quick to think that it’s expensive, or less beautiful, or that you can’t do everything you would want to do. But that doesn’t have to be the case. I’m noticing more and more that a lot of things are actually possible. I think it would be great if I could have a positive influence in some kind of way, so that it becomes easier for other people to work a little more sustainably, and maybe even fun. Personally, I get a lot of satisfaction from being involved with this. Because you think about everything a little more, you also live more consciously.”

Humans of the Arts
There are approximately 3,000 students and 900 employees at the Amsterdam University of the Arts. Everyone has his or her own story. Those stories, whether they are connected with study/work or not, are the main focus in Humans of the Arts. Interview by Koen Caris.