British Film Commission lays out guidelines for screen production return

The British Film Commission (BFC) has today published a comprehensive set of guidelines to help the UK’s screen production industry get back to work.

The 34-page document ‘Working Safely During COVID-19 In Film And High-End TV Drama Production’ has been endorsed by the UK Government and comes following a global consultation, which the BFC said was “possibly the most comprehensive in the industry” with input from large international franchises to independent production studios, streamers, unions and UK-wide industry bodies.

The guidance tackles numerous points, from Covid-19 awareness and its impact on mental health to travel and location shooting. It is intended as advisory and not mandatory and the BFC encourages producers to apply the guidance as required to each project’s particular needs

Some of the key points include:

  • Minimising the number of people on site and using technology to do so.
  • Changes to scripts, scenes and setting to aid social distancing.
  • Daily checks for Covid-19 symptoms among cast and crew.
  • Pre-packaged food and single-use cutlery encouraged for catering.
  • Using local crew and contributors to help minimise the need for travel.
  • The use of fixed teams among cast and crew for parts of a shoot requiring close contact.
  • The professional cleaning of communal areas by specialist contractors.

The UK Screen Alliance also today published its separate ‘Covid-19 Guidance For Safe Working For The Visual Effects (VFX) And Post-Production” guidance. Links to both it and the full BFC guidance can be found here.

BFC CEO Adrian Wootton said: “We believe this to be the most comprehensive, extensively-consulted on Covid-19 recovery production guidance in the world. It reflects a phenomenal collective effort, for which we must thank the British Film Commission Recovery Group and BFC staff team, alongside the BFI, DCMS and the whole range of organisations, public and private, who contributed.

“The industry is extremely keen to restart production as soon as possible, but not without a comprehensive road map for how to do it safely while the threat of COVID-19 still looms large. Today’s Guidance provides that reassurance, reflecting the latest Government, technical and medical advice available. We will also update it on a regular basis, giving clarity on the latest measures recommended to ensure a safe shoot for cast, crew and the wider public.”

UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden added: “The UK is recognised around the globe as a brilliant place to make films and is home to the world’s best film and high-end TV talent. We’ve worked hard to support the industry through these difficult times, and I’m delighted we’ve been able to agree this step forward towards getting the cameras rolling safely again.”

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