Italy’s main film and TV industry organizations and labor unions have agreed on a set of production guidelines for filming as the country lifts coronavirus restrictions in the wake of Europe’s longest lockdown.
The production protocols, hammered out by Italian motion picture association ANICA, TV producer’s org APA, indie group CNA and other trade entities, still need a final green light by Italian legislators, though that is considered a formality that will be swiftly accomplished. Cameras will be able to start rolling on some shoots in June.
APA chief Giancarlo Leone, who has been negotiating the protocols agreement, hailed it as “an important step forward towards restarting TV and film productions,” though issues such as insurance coverage, soft money availability, and beefed up tax breaks to offset higher costs, estimated to rise by 10-30% due to security measures, remain unresolved.
The Italian sanitary security measures are similar to those being adopted in other European countries, such as France and the Czech Republic. These include having a trained coronavirus safety specialist and doctor on set; social distancing during catering; individual costumes for each talent, no matter how big their role is; as well as individual hair, makeup and microphone equipment.
Actors who can’t adhere to social distancing on set due to their roles will undergo swab testing for coronavirus before shooting starts and then repeat the tests at least once a week during the shoot.
However, some measures within the Italian protocols seem to stand out. Unlike France, Italy does not have any particular rules or indications regarding outdoor sets, vis-a-vis studio shoots.
Roughly 40 shoots — 17 feature films, 19 TV series and some shorts — were halted in March when Italy went into lockdown. These have priority under a national rescue plan for the Italian film and TV industry. Among them is season three of crimer “Suburra,” (pictured) the Netflix Italian original produced by ITV-owned Cattleya that in early March was days away from wrapping.
Production is also believed to be restarting soon on Lux Vide’s high-end “Leonardo” series, co-produced with Sony Pictures Television, which is expected to get rolling again in mid-June.
For new shoots, the situation is more problematic at the moment. Most projects that had not already started aren’t expected to go into principal photography until after the summer.