From its first episode in 1993, The X-Files built a legacy as one of TV’s most ambitious dramas, and the series and its creator are now being honored for their ambitions behind the scenes, as well.
The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) announced on August 24 that it will present Chris Carter, creator and showrunner of The X-Files, with its Industry Builder Award for his efforts to make the production of this year’s X-Files event series as environmentally sustainable as possible. The production team’s work behind the scenes led to major cost and carbon emission savings and promoted innovative new ways to recycle set materials. Carter will accept the award at a VIFF luncheon on October 7.
“The VIFF Industry Builder Award recognizes a key contributor to British Columbia’s creative industries,” VIFF said. “With a growing focus on sustainability in production and content creation across the industry, this year’s award is proudly presented to Chris Carter for his exemplary sustainable production of the X-Files.”
Efforts to green the production of The X-Files event series began even before shooting began in summer 2015. 21st Century Fox worked with the production team to share best practices from previous green shoots, such as 24: Live Another Day, and hired a dedicated green production consultant to help each department conserve materials and keep energy use down.
Thanks to these efforts, the production managed to divert more than 81% of its total waste from landfill, recycle 100% of the aluminum and steel used in set construction, use only lauan plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), replace plastic water bottles with refillable ones, avoiding the use of 45,760 plastic bottles, and recycle more than 35 tons of “dirty” Styrofoam used for set construction, breaking new ground for the industry as a whole.
These achievements were a high water mark for the series, which has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability in the past. The previous entry in the franchise, the 2008 feature The X-Files: I Want to Believe, was one of the first films to go into production following the launch of 21CF’s corporate sustainability program in 2007, and it was among the first to implement the green production practices that Fox helped pioneer, such as prioritizing alternative fuels and recycling materials used on set.
“When I first started working in the business, we would just take sets and throw them away,” said series creator Chris Carter in an interview on green production for the movie’s DVD release. “That’s changing. There is a new directive, and I think Fox is at the forefront of that directive, using recycled materials whenever possible, recycling what you do use, and looking at it as a total approach. I was very excited about that.”
At the Vancouver Film Festival, Carter will also host the Sustainable Production Forum, a daylong conference featuring production executives from across the industry, as well as representatives from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the World Bank. The event comes as part of VIFF’s Impact program, a screening series dedicated to socially relevant documentaries.
Read our detailed case study on The X-Files‘ green production practices and view the video below. The Vancouver Film Festival will run from September 29 until October 14.