The new protocol comes as productions were permitted to resume filming yesterday.
THE ENTIRE CAST and crew of some film productions may need to quarantine together for 14 days prior to filming as well as for the duration of their production under new guidelines for the movie and TV industry in Ireland.
The Return to Production Protocol published by Screen Producers Ireland has been developed in line with the Government’s public health advice and is set to change the face of filming in Ireland. Chanves could include longer production times and a limited number of people on set at any one time.
When filming on location, the protocol suggests ‘quarantine filming’ while also introducing ‘pod working’ where necessary.
“Isolation/quarantine filming may be an effective solution to rural ‘location’ based productions with small cast, and crew numbers with limited or no extras,” it said.
“This would require quarantine of the entire cast and crew for 14 days prior to work, living in a controlled environment for the duration of the production.
“Pod working is where each person is allocated to a designated, isolating pod. Each person is in physical contact with only members of that pod, and should be able to minimise their physical interaction with other work Pods. Work Pods can be further subdivided as needed.”
The concept of quarantining cast and crew has already been introduced for some film crews abroad. Avatar 2 director James Cameron, producer Jon Landau and the cast have been quarantining in New Zealand ahead of filming restarting.
Productions were permitted to resume in Ireland from yesterday with Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) noting that a number of productions have already stood down as a result of the pandemic.
“Irish production companies, cast and crew are ready to go back into production. While nothing can fully eliminate the risk of Covid-19 transmission, these guidelines have been developed to provide a framework for reducing this risk and all owing those working on productions to do so with confidence,” SPI CEO Elaine Geraghty said.
“SPI conducted a survey with Irish producers online between 26 March and 3 April 2020 to show the immediate impact of Covid-19 on production companies.
“The results showed that 24 productions were stood down, a further 59 companies reported having to delay the start of production and many projects have been delayed in distribution.”
The representative group has warned production companies to prepare for longer-than-expected production times.
Social distancing must also be observed on and off-set but where this cannot be maintained, protocols must be put in place in agreement with cast members.
“Physical distancing should be observed in front of camera except where the dictates of the action require closer proximity and can be done so safely.”
No news is bad news
Support The Journal
Your contributions will help us continue
to deliver the stories that are important to you
Support us now
“Where two metres cannot be avoided, an appropriate work structure and specific measures must be established, these will need to be outlined and discussed with cast and crew prior to commencement of the scenes,” it said.
“The director may be required to self-isolate for 14 days prior and/or undergo a testing regime to facilitate working directly with cast and crew. The director may be asked to limit interactions with other persons throughout production in order to work in proximity to cast.”
CGI effect may be employed to compensate for less people on set during scenes requiring crowds or larger gatherings.
Productions which require audience members must also ensure seating is arranged in a way that allows for social distancing, all audience members must complete health check forms at least three days prior to the shoot, and anyone who has experienced close contact or had symptoms of the virus should not attend.
Meanwhile, Screen Ireland, the development agency for the creative screen sector, has announced a €1 million Covid-19 production fund to offset some of the costs associated with the new guidelines.
Désirée Finnegan, chief executive at Screen Ireland said “Screen Ireland’s priority is to ensure the industry can return to production as safely as possible and to retain the sector’s talented creative workforce.
“These production guidelines, together with Screen Ireland’s Covid-19 Production Fund and online training from Screen Skills Ireland, will help support the industry in the return to production.”