Interview with Sebastian Runschke, Managing Partner SERU Animation GmbH &Co KGe.
What was the challenge that inspired your project?
We want to teach children values with our animated films, offer families educational entertainment and sensitise them to the topic of sustainability. It was very important to us to include aspects such as the environment, social interaction and diversity in our film "My Fairy Troublemaker".
What was your innovation that addressed this issue?
We meticulously finessed the storyline. It took almost twelve years from the idea to implementation. During this time, we managed to gradually make the "plot" more and more value oriented. Our project partners greatly appreciated the fact that we incorporated numerous relevant themes of the time into the film. As a result, we also succeeded in obtaining binding commitments from German film funding sponsors.
What influence did Triodos Bank have on your company?
Triodos Bank provided us with outstanding support during the realisation of the project with solid interim financing. We are very pleased that we were able to get the project off the ground in intensive cooperation. (In the future, Triodos Bank will also offer a deficiency guarantee for new projects. This "Cultural and Creative Sectors Guarantee Facility" was contracted with the European Investment Fund. The guarantee agreement offers additional scope for structuring and thus enables better conditions for Triodos Bank customers).
What impact has your company had on the sector in which you work?
We hope that other film producers will integrate values more into their works and that similar projects will follow from this. Legislation is helping to achieve this: Climate protection and sustainability have been anchored in the Film Promotion Act, which went into effect in 2022. In addition, there will be a "Green Motion" label with minimum ecological standards in the future. With the "Green Consultant," a new job description has been created to support producers in sustainable film production. Some film producers have even set up entire departments for this purpose. Since this year, for example, the CO2 balance of the film must also be proven. A CO2 calculator tailored to the industry has already been established for this purpose, which is mandatory to fill out for many regional subsidies and broadcasters.
What impact has your company had on the community?
We hope that everyone who watches the film realises the issues that are featured and realises the urgency of the current situation. We want an impact of our films and for more projects to follow. As for the community within our company, we also have a positive impact on our employees, and everyone involved in the project. We are now not only sustainable in single film projects but live this throughout the entire company - from social interaction to ecological management.
To what extent does Triodos share your vision?
We have been working with Triodos Bank for twelve years. At that time, we were looking for a sustainability bank because, as entrepreneurs, we not only wanted to be environmentally and socially conscious, but also sustainable with our finances. What we have in common is that we are not driven by profit alone. We really like the bank's claim of "Financing Change, Changing Finance." Our joint development proceeded in parallel: SERU continued to develop and grow, while Triodos Bank launched a new business segment – film financing.