UK Film Industry Prepares to Return to Work in the Age of Covid-19

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UK Film Industry Prepares to Return to Work in the Age of Covid-19

Leaders in the UK film production industry gathered this week for a panel on navigating filming in the era of Covid-19. The group gathered to discuss new guidelines set forth by the British Film Commission, titled, "Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production."

Samantha Perahia, head of production at the BFC, noted that the guidelines surrounding mass gatherings for the public do not apply and that the new guidelines were "created specifically for our industry."

Routine measures such as testing, social distancing, and regular hand washing remain at the forefront of coronavirus prevention.

She also said the guidelines are "a living thing - it is a live document," and would be updated as more information becomes available. Best practices concerning hair and makeup are forthcoming.

First assistant director, Jamie Christopher said, "The biggest changes I see coming are in the amount of crew and cast on set and the balance of what that will be and still maintaining an efficient workplace," he said.

He continued, "Another massive challenge will be maintaining these guidelines [until a vaccine arrives]...We can all be led into a false sense of security once it's all working."

Christopher noted that a "COVID manager" and supervisor would be appointed to implement the guidelines and "concentrate on everything COVID." He also recommends "empowering the crew" through supplying them with information which to allow them to "make the right decisions." He suggests middle tier of management to oversee how procedures are implemented, and what "risks are acceptable."

Matt Spooner, a production safety consultant, discussed the need for "gaining crew confidence" by ensuring that they "are going to be safe in this environment."

Spooner recommends the use of a COVID "compliance officer" on film sets with backgrounds in health and safety and management to manage the emotional impact of returning to film sets.

He said, "You are going to be launched into a situation that could be very emotionally charged. It could be complex. You could be dealing with difficult matters within a department," he said. They would also need "an understanding of budgeting and how to manage costs."

Spooner also recommends "resilience planning" and "scenario planning" to keep production going during scenarios in which cast or crew members become sick during filming.

There was also discussion of designated 'isolation areas' and keeping transportation on hand to remove sick cast or crew members from the set. Alternate filming locations are also recommended in the event that primary filming locations need to be shut down.

Read the full story at Variety.

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