The UK film industry has been given the go-ahead to restart filming after the UK government and health bodies signed off on new coronavirus safety guidelines.
The approval of the new rules means that the UK’s film and high-end television production industry (which includes TV series that cost more than £1m per episode) can get cameras rolling again as soon as July.
The resumption of film production follows similar news last month that the UK TV industry was getting back to work following the coronavirus lockdown, and will be welcome news to the tens of thousands of self-employed film and TV workers. Freelance workers in the film industry, from directors and camera operators to makeup artists and prop makers, have been largely ineligible for government financial support during the COVID-19 pandemic and many have been struggling to make ends meet.
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The new safety guidelines have been drawn up by the British Film Commission and the British Film Institute (BFI) and include rules regarding social distancing on set, regular temperature testing and safety training.
The measures have been signed off by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive. However, the decisions around how and when to resume filming will still be up to the individual productions – so a ‘staggered’ return is expected for the industry.
Announcing the new guidelines, titled ‘Working Safely During COVID-19 in Film and High-end TV Drama Production’, BFI Chief Executive Ben Roberts said:
“Our film and TV industry has been growing faster than other any other sector, generating over £7.9bn a year in GVA to the UK economy and employing 166,200 people — so creating scaleable guidance to help restart film and high- end TV production as safely and as quickly as possible has been paramount.
“There is still work to done to address the cost of recovery and business insurance as a result of COVID-19, but Government support has been crucial in getting us to this point.”
The full guidance is available to download from the British Film Commission website.
The production of major films and TV shows in the UK has been shut down since the middle of March, when high profile shows such as Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty suspended filming along with major Hollywood films such as The Batman and the next ‘Fantastic Beasts…’ films.
The UK is one of the most important film and TV locations in the world, with a record £3.6bn spent on making over 300 films and high-end TV productions last year.
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