As countries across the EU begin lifting lockdown restrictions, European film and TV producers are busy hammering out national physical production safety protocols with local authorities, unions and insurers.
The Brussels-based European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN) is gathering these single EU country production protocols and posting them on their website as part of an ongoing effort to provide guidance in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and help co-productions and pan-European film production resume.
The umbrella group for Europe’s film commissions last week issued a baseline set of safety rules called the “Ten Commandments of Safe Filming,” as revealed by Variety. Though based on a common EU safety directive, these do not have legal value since each European country must draft national protocols tied to local legislation. However, they can help Europe get on the same page.
Centralizing country-specific protocols, as they are approved, serves the same purpose.
“There is no common European protocol for filming during this global emergency,” says EUFCN’s manager Angelica Cantisani. “But being a large network of 94 film commissions from 30 European countries we decided to gather all the different guidelines adopted by our members.”
The EUFCN website on Monday launched the “Filming Europe in Safety” section of its website, providing safety guidelines for shooting that have emerged from the Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Germany (not translated) and Spain, besides the “Ten Commandments,” which were drafted by the Czech Republic’s European Institute for Health and Safety in the Film Industry, whose guidelines are also the protocol for the Czech Republic’s Audiovisual Producers Association.
From coronavirus testing of cast and crew to protective equipment and on-set space organization, the safety measures in the single protocols are very detailed and vary within European countries. But several measures are becoming de rigueur across Europe, one being: “appoint or hire an infection control officer,” as the Norwegian Film Institute protocol puts it.
Another common concern, as stated by guidelines from the Audiovisual Producers of Finland, is: “shooting intimate scenes should be avoided. The actor has the right to refuse close contact with other cast members, e.g. kissing.”
Northern Europe has the most detailed protocols since physical shooting is actually taking place in Sweden and Norway, as well as Iceland.
In Spain, which on Monday eased restrictions and allowed shooting in some areas, in order to avoid transmission between people and to minimize risks, the protocol recommends that “the shoot is attended by the minimum number of people necessary to carry out the filming,” according to the rules of the Spanish Association of Advertising Producers.
“In these difficult times, EUFCN wants to do its best to help the film industry have an overview on where and when it is possible to start shooting again,” said EUFCN President Truls Kontny, head of Film Commission Norway, in a statement.
“The economy in most European countries is suffering badly,” he noted. “The fact that the film industry involves many other industries while shooting can help to kickstart the economy again. We, as film commissioners, will do what we can to be there and help guide the producers when they are ready to shoot abroad again.”