Behind the scenes:
Going Circular
Interview with Carla Rebai and Andi Campbell-Waite BFE

Title illustration: a suspension bridge entering a green forest.

Our first Grand Prix winner in the category “Documentaries” (Environment, Ecology, Sustainability) is Going Circular. The documentary by Richard Dale and Nigel Walk produced by Off the Fence for Curiosity Studios in co-production with ZDF Enterprises, ZDF and Arte deals with an important and highly topical issue: sustainability.

In this context, the viewers are introduced to the concept of circularity, an economic system that is based on the idea that everything that exists, everything that is produced, ends up in a perpetual cycle and no more waste is produced. The concept aims to break down the linear system of our throwaway economy and transform it into a circular system in which everything is reused, recycled or upcycled. It has its roots in the universal principles of nature, in which everything is recycled in a self-regulating and self-sustaining way. Making these principles the model for human innovation serves as the starting point for this visionary approach.

Video: Going Circular.

For this purpose, the documentary focuses on four experts and visionaries who explain the concept from different perspectives: The now deceased independent scientist and co-founder of Gaia theory James Lovelock, bionic scientist Janine Benyus, former Managing Director at JP Morgan, investor John Fullerton, and architect and designer Arthur Huang.

Janine Benyus with butterflies on head
Janine Benyus (with butterflies)
John Fullerton (portrait)
John Fullerton

They have all taken a very close look at the ecological, economic and social crises of our time and agree that the transition of our economic system and, thus, the creation of a circular civilization plays a fundamental role in solving these problems. Determined by a vision of the future in which humanity not only manages to merely survive, just barely escaping the effects of climate change and the waste of resources, but is able to live a prosperous life on our planet, in harmony with nature and its resources, they rethink numerous human activities and show what our food, our cities or our financial system could look like in the future.

Congratulations on this amazing production!

We spoke with Carla Rebai – Producer and Andi Campbell-Waite BFE – Film Editor about the genesis and realization of the project and what they might hope to achieve with the documentary.


1 Going circular is not “only” a documentary on sustainability, but also goes beyond that — Can you tell us a bit more about the whole project and the campaign behind it?
Carla Rebai:
Going Circular is also about how we can learn from nature. The natural environment that we live in does not create waste and constantly reuses its materials. As Janine Benyus puts it “When I see a rotten log, I see a fountain of life.” Our intellectual intelligence gives us endless opportunities to mimic nature’s genius. Technologies such as how algae manages to stay clean and disinfected from biofilm show us an avenue to borrow this for our lives. The coexistence and collaboration between humans and nature is key for our future.
Andi Campbell-Waite BFE:
Humans create 100 billion tonnes of stuff every year. Much of this ends up simply getting thrown away. We all know about the importance of recycling but circularity goes much further — in fact it never stops! One of the issues, highlighted in the film by Arthur Huang, is that we don’t value materials — from a single use coffee cup to an armchair to a materials we build our homes from. What if that single use item or old chair had a second, third, fourth, etc life built into its design at its conception? We can have the convenience of that single use cup knowing that it will continue its journey to become another product that is of use to someone else. Above all we need a change of mindset… we need to value the stuff — more specifically the materials it’s made from — that we currently throw away.
Behind the scenes: Arthur Huang in a taxi
Behind the scenes: Arthur Huang in a taxi
2 There are countless highly relevant aspects with regard to climate change, environmental protection & sustainability — Why exactly did you decide to make a documentary on the concept of circularity or circular economy?
Carla Rebai:
In the field of filmmaking and telling stories we are constantly learning. I personally care about the environment and one is naturally drawn to subjects that interest you and that are in line with your values. In many ways, circular economy is still a fresh concept and difficult to grasp, therefore the opportunity of visualizing circularity was challenging and a life changing opportunity. It brought me into a path of re-thinking everything that I use and how I use it.
Andi Campbell-Waite BFE:
As filmmakers we have an opportunity and responsibility to communicate ideas, to touch hearts and to open minds. I always look for projects that have the potential for a positive impact on an audience and especially those that invite a new audience to be introduced to something they may never have been exposed to otherwise. When I first read the treatment for Going Circular, I knew it had the potential to be one of those projects. A film about circular economy could so easily have been quite dry, didactic and and a little turgid - but it was clear from the outset that this was going to be a film that reached for the heart first — to engage the audience in real human story — thus making the more academic elements that much more digestible.
green leaves on trees
Green leaves on trees.
3 To what extent did the topic of circularity also play a role in the production of the documentary itself, or how was it implemented in the production process?
Carla Rebai:
This project was being filmed and edited throughout the pandemic. This naturally brought challenges and made us work in a way where every decision towards filming was carefully considered. Archive footage opened a new creative way to tell stories. The waste of other productions became our resources.
Andi Campbell-Waite BFE:
I was quite late to the Going Circular party, joining the team after much of the initial filming had already been completed. I had heard of circular economy and had already dipped my toe into reading around the subject — but I had no idea how revolutionary the concept really is. Like so many brilliantly simple ideas, once you know about it you can’t imagine why you didn’t think of it before. The problem is we are trapped in a world where money is more important than anything. Corporations and governments are in the endless pursuit of perpetual growth, which when you think about it is completely absurd. Our planet has finite resources, so how can there be endless growth?
close-up of round shells
Close-up of shells.
4 What do you hope to achieve with the documentary and, if so, what impact has it possibly already made so far?
Carla Rebai:
Going Circular is being shown in many different conferences and screenings opening up a dialogue about how products are created and what we consume. The film has been very well received and impact can grow to hopefully see that brands get on board with improving how they make their products.
Andi Campbell-Waite BFE:
The film has been very well received wherever it has been screened and I’m delighted that it has been acknowledged with so many nominations and awards. Audiences are charmed and disarmed by the film’s four main characters because their personal stories really do resonate with us all. Surely, we all want to realise the potential for a brighter and more sustainable future for ourselves, the generations that will follow us and ultimately for the remarkable planet we call home.
a circular coral reef and tropical fish, from the bottom up towards a sunlit surface
Coral reef and tropical fish.
5 You have won the Grand Prix for Best Documentary 2022. What does it mean for you?
Carla Rebai:
Recognition is absolutely key to bring attention and momentum to subjects and stories. Winning the Grand Prix award was a lovely surprise. Going Circular portrays the lives of four passionate individuals that are showing us that now is the time to rethink and reanalyze our lifestyles. We are delighted to have Cannes Corporate Media & TV Awards as an ally in the importance of sharing this message.
Andi Campbell-Waite BFE:
It’s always lovely have your work recognised and to win awards. To win the Grand Prix is a great honour. If we (humans) are to adopt the fundamental principles of circularity in our economies and our lives, it’s vital that the message of Going Circular is heard. It is my hope that the recognition this award brings will help to elevate the position of film such that it reaches as wider audience as possible. Then perhaps one day we’ll reach the tipping point where enough of us actually put our pencils down and ReThink Everything.

Carla Rebai
Audiovisual Producer/Director

Carla is an experienced audiovisual producer/director with an interest in the environment and social issues. Committed to creating content with an inspirational tone and crafting storytelling with the goal of improving lives. Inviting the audience to learn something new or question an aspect of their reality they never questioned before.

Carla Rebai (portrait)
Carla Rebai

After graduating from the Academy of Film and Television in Rosario, Argentina, where she was born and raised, she decided to move to Europe and chose to first settle among the beautiful canals of Amsterdam. Now she lives in Bristol, UK.
Since 2010 she has produced factual documentaries in short and long formats for clients and networks such as PBS, National Geographic, and HHMI/Tangled Bank Studios. She splits her time between field production and then taking the material to weave a story in the edit suite. Taking visual elements and creating a story out of them, finding the perfect moment and the perfect shot to piece together a narrative that can make people laugh, cry, think, or simply be entertained.

Andi Campbell-Waite BFE
Film Editor

From an early age, I was immersed in the world of the creative arts. Not as the privileged offspring of a renowned thespian or famous musician, but the quiet son of a theatre usherette. Back then, for my folks, money was tight, so rather than pay a babysitter, my mother would take me to work with her at the theatre. There, I would sit silently in the auditorium, captivated by countless hours of plays, musicals, and pantomimes.

Andi Campbell-Waite BFE (portrait)
Andi Campbell-Waite BFE

I obviously did not realise it at the time, but now I recognise this exposure to such a variety and volume of performance at such a tender age cemented in me, almost unconsciously, the language of visual storytelling.

A career in the theatre would have been an obvious progression, but to the teenage me, the medium of television was more enticing. By the age of 20 I had landed my first job in TV, at the BBC, copying rushes tapes for leading programmes like The Clothes Show. Three years on, I was editing short films for a live daily show and later cutting regularly for flagship BBC shows including Top Gear. Aged just 26, I resigned from my staff position to pursue my career as a freelance film editor.

Spool forward about twenty years and I am now a multi-award-winning cross genre film editor and producer. I have amassed an impressive list of broadcast credits and accolades across documentary, factual entertainment, natural history, and specialist factual genres.