British Film Commission consults on resuming production in the UK

The proposals are intended to be scalable, to be relevant to domestic production and major US productions alike

By Nia Daniels 6 May 2020

British Film Commission consults on resuming production in the UK
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil via Disney - © 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The British Film Commission (BFC) has begun a consultation on a draft set of protocols in anticipation of the easing of restrictions and the recommencement of film and high-end TV production in the UK.

The aim is to ensure that the sector can restart filming scripted projects as soon as the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The BFC, which is a partner in the BFI’s Covid-19 Taskforce, has set up a Recovery Group, whose recommendations will be incorporated into the Taskforce’s proposals that will be presented to the government.

The Inward Investment Recovery Group has drawn from the BFC’s own National Advisory Board, overseen by BFC chair and producer, Iain Smith OBE, as well as co-opting additional UK-wide industry expertise.

The group features three ‘Task and Finish’ working groups: Business & Legal Affairs; Visual Effects & Post; and Physical Production.

Working in tandem with the latest government and Public Health England guidance, the draft Production Protocols cover best practice on set, on location, and by department, incorporating health and safety advice and more. The intention is for the proposals to be relevant to domestic production and major US productions alike. They will include details on best practice on set, on location and by department.

The consultation aims to reflect the views of producers, studios, streamers, unions and UK-wide industry bodies and the proposals will be scalable.

Chief executive of the British Film Commission, Adrian Wootton, said: “Like many of the UK’s sectors, COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to combat it risk profound and potentially long-lasting economic impacts on film and TV production. There will need to be modifications to the way film and TV shows are made.

“We are working with Government and industry to develop a set of protocols that address the Government’s five tests, and are ongoing, adjustable, pragmatic and common-sense, with proposals scalable to be relevant to any size of scripted production. That will allow the film and TV industry to get back up and shooting as soon and as safely as possible, and playing its part in restoring the health of the UK economy.

“While ideally, production would start again as soon as it is safe to do so, that timetable is up to the Government. But we need to be ready to restart as soon as the restrictions are lifted.”

Ben Roberts, chief executive of the BFI, said: “We are determined to ensure the UK is ready to resume production as soon as possible, and the inward investment group has been working at pace to produce practical and scalable production protocols and processes. I am full of admiration for the huge amount of work that has gone into producing these comprehensive production guidelines.”

Once consultation closes on 15 May, the proposed Protocols will be shared with the BFI Task Force, and presented to government for endorsement as part of a package of measures that are currently being formulated across the sector.

The launch of the draft proposals will see the consultation sent to the BFC’s key US and UK production clients, UK nations and regions’ screen agencies, public stakeholders, private organisations, trade bodies, industry and unions.

Closing date for responses to the consultation on the draft Production Codes of Practice is Friday 15 May 2020.

Photo courtesy of Disney - © 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc.

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