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Happy Anniversary EAVE! Interview with EAVE CEO Kristina Trapp about EAVE’s Core Values and strategic goals

“We would like our producers to be agents of change, active parts of shaping the industry of today and tomorrow and we have the same goal for EAVE as an organization.”

By Lilla Kadar

EAVE is releasing a new trailer of its renowned PRODUCERS WORKSHOP right when entering the year of its 35th anniversary.

The EAVE Producers Workshop is a year-long training programme for audiovisual producers from across Europe and beyond, funded by Creative Europe - MEDIA, a sub-programme of the European Union, as well as the Film Fund Luxembourg. As an organisation, EAVE offers a range of other activities and workshops outside of its core programme.

EAVE’s Chief Executive Kristina Trapp shares her thoughts on this occasion.

EAVE has announced its Core Values in 2021. Why was it important to make a statement about these values, after over 30 years in the industry?

There has always been a special ‘philosophy’ and spirit at EAVE, which makes EAVE so unique and which is commonly shared by our team and experts since its inception. When welcoming new experts or guests to the programme, we realized how special and rare this atmosphere of generosity really is and that many professionals in this industry are not used to this kind of honesty, openness and solidarity, while it is really important to us.

That is why we felt the need to put our values on paper, to formulate them and for that matter also to rethink, question and sharpen our strategy and priorities.

In a way, the pandemic has accelerated this evolution… It was in general a moment in time when everyone was rethinking and questioning their professional and personal choices and practices. At the same time, I felt that EAVE needed to clearly define and continue to push our core values to make them a reality, whether it was in terms of our environmental policy, work-life balance or equality and inclusion - all major priorities for EAVE.

How do these values manifest themselves in EAVE’s programmes?

For our producers, EAVE is more than just a programme, it is a place, a ‘safe space’ that we create, where they can open up to think about their careers and projects. This protected space is the foundation for creativity and a deeper connection. Very often participants say: “I came to EAVE”, as if they referred to a place, not only a training programme.

The whole group work method is based on sharing and horizontal peer-to-peer learning from fellow professionals all over the world. The premise is that the group of participants is as diverse as possible – not only in terms of gender, age, geographical spread, ethnicity, socio-economic background, but also in terms of company set-ups, business models, project formats or genre.

This is also how they can build a professional support network based on trust, solidarity, mutual respect, inclusion and sharing – probably the main asset people get out of EAVE.

And these are not just words…

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it became visible how strong this EAVE support network really is and how effective – EAVE graduates from all over the world were actively supporting Ukraine, hosting families, donating money, offering jobs to Ukrainian professionals and organising supplies, communication and concrete help and support in all aspects of daily life and far beyond film production. It was incredible.

click to discover the new EAVE trailer!

 

What impact is EAVE having on the industry and can you give some practical examples?

What we want to achieve with EAVE is to have an impact towards a more conscious, engaged and sustainable industry by promoting inclusion, diversity, gender equality, green agendas and healthier, more sustainable work environments, as well as setting a new positive standard in the European industry through our own example.

Specifically, for example, at EAVE we have implemented a comprehensive green policy in all areas of our operations by reducing travel, using public transport and trains wherever possible, drastically reducing meat consumption at our events, offering local and seasonal food, reducing waste, recycling, stopping printing and using online elements.

For example, we inspired partner hotels to set up a recycling system for us, which they didn’t have in place before and which they decided to keep after the workshop.

We also created a guide for ‘healthy vegan dishes” to be used by our partner hotels that has been a real inspiration for these conference hotels and they have also made a lot of progress on how to reduce food waste at buffets and coffee breaks by fine-tuning quantities based on consumption in previous days.

As you can see, we have been successful in influencing the hotels’ thinking and they have been inspired to rethink how they operate. At the same time, with each hotel, we are learning how to better guide them ourselves.

We have also partnered with TorinoFilmLab for the Green Film Lab, a series of workshops focusing on sustainable production.

Specifically on the topic of mental health and work-life balance, we have been incorporating morning yoga sessions into our workshops since 2009. Our yoga instructor and EAVE coordinator Tanika Sajatovic also offers online yoga to our graduates throughout the year at a special rate.

We have trained therapists among our experts and offer optional sessions on mindfulness and stress reduction. Moreover, we organise childcare during the workshops to ensure a very family-friendly environment. Our participants and experts are always very grateful for such options. We have also partnered up with Red Balloon Alliance, which offers childcare at major film festivals in Europe!

© Frank Schoepgens

 

EAVE is rapidly expanding and is training various underrepresented communities through EAVE on Demand workshops. Is this part of the implementation of the core values?

Yes, indeed. A good example of a tailor-made EAVE programme for underrepresented communities is our ACCESS programme in Canada for producers who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Colour, organised together with the National Screen Institute - Canada (NSI) and with support from the Canada Media Fund (CMF)or the EAVE ON DEMAND workshops for Sami indigenous producers in cooperation with the Sami International Film Institute. Our programme CHANGE has a powerful impact on especially female documentary producers in the Eastern Partnership countries.

Looking at the European film industry, it is shocking to see how ‘white’ and not representative of the world we live in this industry is – despite the fact that it claims to be inclusive - especially when it comes to power positions and decision making.

At EAVE, it is one of our priorities to actively contribute to change, which is why EAVE’s diversity strategy with concrete actions is so important - for us as an organization and for me personally.

We would like our producers to be agents of change, active parts of shaping the industry of today and tomorrow and we have the same goal for EAVE as an organization as we acknowledge our role of EAVE in setting positive industry standards. This includes for us an ‘ethical’ approach to producing.

Why do you think it’s important to talk about diversity in the film industry in general?

Storytelling plays a huge role in how we understand and shape our culture. Film is certainly one of the most impactful creative mediums and should reflect – in front of and behind the camera – the world we live in. However, if we look at the film industry especially in Europe, and especially at positions of power and decision-making, as well as where the money goes, we can see that our industry is much less diverse and inclusive than it claims to be. This needs to change and EAVE is committed to be an active part of this change.

What does diversity and inclusion mean when it comes to EAVE workshops and how can EAVE take its diversity strategy to the next level?

Diversity is the guiding principle when it comes to our selection of participants. We believe that the more diverse the group of participants at EAVE is, the more inspiring the experience actually is for everyone.

We have seen with the success of our green policy how impactful and important it is to actually formulate a clear strategy with concrete and meaningful actions and a long-term strategic plan and how it helps to get everyone on board on all levels – staff, experts, board, participants, and providers.

EAVE's long-term diversity strategy that we are working on with EAVE alumna Tamara Dawit (VP growth & inclusion, Canada Media Fund) includes for example anti-racism training for the EAVE board, staff and trainers; diversifying the pool of consultants; out-reach to BIPOC organizations; sessions on ethical production; focus groups and surveys among BIPOC alumni; measures to improve accessibility for disabled professionals at EAVE workshops and very recently an EAVE IMPACT Think Tank this January at WEMW in Trieste on « creating safe spaces for professional training and positive inclusion standards for the industry » the results of which we will soon share. We are also happy to announce that diversity scholarships have been created for EAVE Producers Workshop, EAVE+ and EAVE Marketing Workshop specifically targeting European residents and citizens who identify as Black, Indigenous, or People of Colour.

There’s still a lot of work ahead of us, but it is a great opportunity for everyone!

What is in the crystal globe for EAVE? How do you see the future?

I am very much looking forward to welcoming the latest 'cohort' of producers and professionals of the EAVE Producers Workshop 2023 that we had to chose out of over 260 applications from all over the world. It wasn’t an easy selection with so many strong, inspiring, talented candidates.

And I am also looking forward to welcoming some new consultants to our expert pool that we are continuously enlarging and diversifying.

One thing I know for sure is that the future with EAVE will never be boring: there are exciting new partnerships on the horizon and we are always trying to improve what we do and evolve as an organisation.   

Page published 8 February 2023. Updated 28 February 2023.


Donate to the EAVE Alan Fountain International Scholarship Fund

A scholarship has been set up to honour the memory of Alan Fountain, former Head of Studies and President of EAVE, who passed away in 2016. Its goal is to enable one producer from outside the EU to participate in all three sessions of the EAVE Producers Workshop each year.

Find out more...

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