Flying High, Longlist - Planet Positive

Greenpeace, Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster

Studio Birthplace

Park Village

What would happen if the 1.8 million kilograms of plastic waste that the UK exports each day was dumped on the doorstep of Downing Street? Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster, made for Greenpeace and directed by STUDIO BIRTHPLACE, shows exactly that. To portray the gravity and scale of the problem Greenpeace used the distinctive technical ability and ecological ethos of STUDIO BIRTHPLACE who specialise in environmental and humanitarian work. Using a mix of real time data, bespoke VFX data simulation and high-end CGI modelling they created the hero imagery and accurate physics of 1.8 million kilograms of individual plastic items falling on Boris Johnson and an exact digital replica of Downing Street using library photographs and satellite imagery, showcasing incredible detail - right down to the interior light fittings. Then they unleashed their pre-made avalanche of trash onto it. To define the actual size of the plastic pile, first, they researched the most common plastic items and combined 1,000 of those into a single, large ball. They then dropped 67.7 thousand of those balls onto the digital set, giving the team a realistic representation of what it would actually look like to dump 1.8 million kilos of waste. The team used a software called Tyflow to calculate how these millions of items would interact with each other in a physically accurate manner. In total, the two-minute film required 14,600 hours of render time, or 20 months, to create the final shots – and the studio notes that the CO2 emitted by the render farm was compensated for. The mannequin versions of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were intentionally not identical to their real counterparts, to represent them but also “introduce some distance to these real politicians” - the “intention was not to ridicule politicians, but to place their dummy-personas in a direct conflict with the invisible consequences of their own actions”. It’s important to note that the directors didn’t want to put words into Boris’s mouth so they went through hours of interviews and speeches by Boris and the government where plastic pollution and the environment were discussed and quotes were extracted. The film aims to put into stark contrast the bold promises the government has made about reducing the environmental impact of plastic, with the reality that plastic production has been rising while the government has done little. The hope is that it helps to make critical big data about humanity's impact on our planet more relatable, and that by lifting the veil of a reality left unseen, it inspires real change. Wasteminster went viral, major news outlets picked up on the story and, most importantly, some real and important changes for plastic waste started to happen, such as Turkey having announced a ban on UK plastic waste. "The dedication and outstanding technical ability that has gone into this animation is phenomenal. We’re so grateful for the creativity of Studio Birthplace and Park Village, the ecological ethos of directors Sil & Jorik, and the CGI skills of Method & Madness. This powerful film shows the shocking truth about what happens to plastic that the government tells us is being recycled but is being exported for other countries to deal with.” Nina Schrank, senior campaigner at Greenpeace

Studio Birthplace (founded by directing duo Sil & Jorik) are a creative studio dedicated to improving awareness and inspiring change across a multitude of ecological and humanitarian issues. This unique collective of filmmakers and technologists combine an array of visual talents, from breathtaking cinematography and high-end VFX work to AR and mobile gaming, in an attempt to shine a light on the climate crisis and marginalised communities in the most remote corners of the world. Studio Birthplace and Sil & Jorik are exclusively represented in the UK by Park Village.