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British Directors Guild Issues Guidelines for Filming Nudity and Simulated Sex

Directors UK, the professional guild for screen directors in Britain, has launched guidelines for directing nude and simulated sex scenes to prevent unprofessional conduct in film and TV.

Described as the “first of their kind in the U.K.,” the new guidelines “are born of the need to set clear and shared professional expectations that apply to everyone involved in making sensitive content, with the aim that they will become standard working practice within the industry,” Directors UK said.

The guidelines encompass rehearsal techniques and directing scenes of sexual violence, as well as planning shots so that they respect individual contract clauses, and knowing how to address challenges that occur on set.

The guidelines were conceived in consultation with Directors UK members, as well as directors, industry bodies and with professionals from different fields to provide best practice for everyone involved: filmmakers, producers, writers, performers, casting directors, wardrobe and makeup, agents and intimacy coordinators.

The issue has been in the news recently as “Game of Thrones” star Emilia Clarke, whose role required a great deal of nudity, said in an interview on Dax Shepard’s podcast that she would “cry in the bathroom” before certain scenes.

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“The director, as the creative lead on a production, should set the tone for a professional and respectful on-set environment,” said Susanna White, Directors UK’s film committee chair and a BAFTA-winning director whose credits include “Generation Kill” and “Parade’s End.” “We are all here because we want to tell compelling and impactful stories, and no member of a cast or crew should ever be put in a position where they feel unsafe, exploited or mismanaged – especially when making sensitive material.”

White said that she has seen through her career “how vitally important it is to know how to approach sensitive content with professionalism.” She added that the guidelines “will help to foster a safe working environment for everyone on a film or television set.”

The guidance is being supported by BAFTA, BFI, the Casting Directors’ Guild, Equity and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, as well as industry advocacy group Time’s Up UK.

Natasha Moore, the Directors UK campaigns and engagement manager, said these guidelines were created to “encourage directors to think twice about the environment they create in auditions and on set.”

“Directors can use their influence to nurture a safe working environment for all, and this is keenly felt when rehearsing and filming vulnerable and sensitive scenes,” Moore said.

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