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Dylan Gravley Is First to Receive Credit from Producers Guild of America

WINSTON-SALEM – Like a character in his film, student filmmaker Dylan Gravley started hearing things in his own head. He paid attention, and as a result has been recognized nationally for it – and has initiated environmentally conscious changes in the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA).

Gravley, from Mount Airy and a rising fourth-year college student in the School of Filmmaking, is the first student filmmaker to be recognized by the Producers Guild of America (PGA) for producing a film in way that is earth-friendly.

“You have joined the ranks of the burgeoning green movement of the motion picture industry,” the PGA’s National Green Committee wrote in a letter of recognition to Gravley. Because of PGA Green’s recognition, Gravley’s film credits will claim, “Sustainable strategies have been utilized in the production of this motion picture in order to reduce its carbon emissions and environmental impacts.”

For his third-year film, Gravley produced THE SEVERE PSYCHOSIS OF A MUSICLESS MAN, which follows a middle-aged family man who hears music in his head, plummeting him into insanity. The film screened last month at UNCSA.

Before production began, Gravley and his classmates heard a presentation by documentary producer Katherine Carpenter, who co-chairs the PGA’s Green Committee, and Carpenter’s message resonated with the student filmmaker. 

“The amount of paper wasted on one student production is sickening,” Gravley said. He decided to make his production paper-free, replacing 50-page production packages with online presentations at weekly meetings. Susan Ruskin, who teaches producing at UNCSA and is a member of the PGA, said that change has been adopted by the film school. “Everybody is on board,” she said.

Ruskin said the presentation by Carpenter motivated Gravley to make his changes. “He picked it up and ran with it,” she said. “He really went way above and beyond.”

Gravley initiated other earth-friendly changes as well. Meals for crew members were made with washable pots, pans and utensils, and were served on plates made of biodegradable, recycled material. Schedules were posted on large, recyclable boards rather than printed and distributed on individual sheets of paper. Instead of providing drinking water in disposable bottles, Gravley purchased reusable thermoses for his crew members, and arranged for the donation of a bottled water station.

Ruskin said that measures such as those undertaken by Gravley are becoming more commonplace in the film industry, thanks in large part to the PGA’s green movement. PGA is a nonprofit trade group which represents, protects and promotes the interests of producers in film and television. Its Green Committee provides industry professionals with tips, resources, and best practices for recycling props and materials and reducing the use of non-sustainable resources. 

“In addition to reducing, recycling and reusing materials, you conserved water and energy, promoted a high degree of environmental awareness and created a healthier environment for your cast, crew and community,” the Green Committee wrote in its letter of recognition to Gravley.

At the end of the school year, Ruskin said she read the letter to the entire film school student body, and Gravley received “a huge round of applause from his classmates.”

For Gravley’s first-person account of his drive to go green, see the PGA’s Green Committee website at: http://www.pgagreen.org.

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts is the first state-supported, residential school of its kind in the nation. Established as the North Carolina School of the Arts by the N.C. General Assembly in 1963, UNCSA opened in Winston-Salem (“The City of Arts and Innovation”) in 1965 and became part of the University of North Carolina system in 1972. More than 1,100 students from high school through graduate school train for careers in the arts in five professional schools: Dance, Design and Production (including a Visual Arts Program), Drama, Filmmaking, and Music. UNCSA is the state’s only public arts conservatory, dedicated entirely to the professional training of talented students in the performing, visual and moving image arts. For more information, visit www.uncsa.edu/a>.