Community Organized Relief Effort, the coronavirus-testing organization co-founded by actor Sean Penn, is offering private, for-profit COVID-19 testing services to film and television productions in Los Angeles.
“We are eager to offer private testing to film and television productions to not only help fund CORE’s programs that help vulnerable and underserved communities, but also to fortify California’s economy,” Penn said. “Enabling production companies to safely resume projects with testing will bring back thousands of film and television jobs to Los Angeles, and that’s a critical next step for restoring life in our city.”
CORE made the announcement Wednesday, saying it plans to expand services to other production hubs in the U.S. The organization, which launched its first free drive-through test site in Los Angeles on March 30, said it has administered 1.5 million tests across dozens of test sites across the nation, with a focus on serving low-income groups, communities of color, first responders and essential workers.
“CORE is offering private testing to productions first because they are highly contained and close-knit communities, and contact tracing and isolation wraparound support are natural extensions,” the organization said in a statement. “This gives the organization an opportunity to develop best practices that can be applied later at a larger public scale.”
CORE’s said its private testing is launching at an “extremely competitive” market price for state-of-the-art production testing services. CORE has been commissioned by the AFI Film School to provide testing services for their student film productions, and the organization is in discussion with several Los Angeles-based film and television productions.
Due to the lack of government funding for COVID-19 testing and relief, CORE said operations have been mostly dependent on private donations to fund free testing for vulnerable communities. In May, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey donated $10 million to the organization.
“We have expanded to private testing to help offset the amount of funding necessary to continue offering free testing and critical relief services for vulnerable communities who have been significantly – and disproportionately – impacted by the pandemic,” said CORE co-founder and CEO Ann Lee. “We could no longer wait for government agencies to respond by providing additional funding and support. This is a small step towards securing funds to keep our nonprofit operations afloat.”
In Los Angeles, film permit applications rose 40% in August over July as location production restarts in the Los Angeles area amid COVID-19 restrictions, permitting agency FilmLA reported last week. Daily intake averages around 27 applications per business day and overall activity levels have stabilized at 44% of what FilmLA would expect under normal summer conditions.
Producers can contact CORE at firstname.lastname@example.org