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“Washing Away”: A Documentary Celebrating London’s Laundrettes Wins VMI and Sustainable Film Competition


After a challenging year for the film industry in 2023, VMI and Sustainable Film launched a unique competition to merge innovation and environmental consciousness in film production.

Amid a challenging 2023, VMI and Sustainable Film launched a competition to win free camera and grip equipment rental from VMI.  Along with the equipment, the productions could also receive a complimentary support and a Production Carbon Footprint analysis from Sustainable Film, ensuring sustainable production practices were considered at every step.

The “She’s Got This” category of the competition required the project to have a majority of females in key HOD (Head of Department) positions. The winner of this category was ‘Washing Away’ won by Director/Producer, Sophie Nielsen.

This documentary looks at the connections formed inside London’s last remaining laundrettes. The crew comprised of a mainly female-led team and aims to highlight the importance of community spaces in an engaging and entertaining manner.

We asked Sophie how winning the competition helped her in getting this project made.

“Winning the competition set me on the start line to finally make my first film and amid industry challenges in 2023, the VMI and Sustainable Film competition, was a positive step forward for documentary filmmaking in general. Winning provided vital resources, equipment rental and a Production Carbon Footprint analysis, enabling sustainable filmmaking.”

With the assistance of Sustainable Film, Sophie and her crew were able to make informed choices and it provided them with a better understanding of simple changes that can be made to make a production more sustainable.

“Working with Sustainable Film in the lead up to my production really made me understand how easy it is to make films that don’t have a high carbon impact when you’re working on a small-scale production. We definitely thought twice about what we were ordering the crew for lunch and adding simple messaging to call sheets such as the crew needing to bring their own water bottles to reduce plastic waste on site”

Washing Away really highlights how important it is to sustain a community and our ever-growing need for social interaction. Sophie is now looking to complete the film has the hope of the documentary reaching broad audiences. Once complete she would like to enter the film into festivals and submit the project for awards.

Sustainable Film was very happy to support the making of this film and you too can donate to Sophie’s Crowdfunder page to help raise funds in order for her to fulfil the ambitions she has for Washing Away:

By Brendan Duffy, Sustainability Co-ordinator, Sustainable Film