Film Producers Talk About Filming During Covid-19

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Film fans are wondering when it might be safe to return to a movie theater. But behind the scenes, film professionals are stumped by a larger question: how can we film new movies safely?

Finding Film Locations During Covid-19

Covid-19 rates vary widely around the world right now, and even places that seem safe from the virus may find themselves to be a hot spot later on. New Zealand got down to zero cases, and James Cameron has already resumed filming his Avatar sequels there.

But even New Zealand saw two new covid-19 cases in June when people traveled there from the UK in June. Spain, meanwhile, lifted its lockdown but had to reinstate restrictions when the virus surged again.

“Right now, everyone’s moving their pieces around the board, trying to find a place to shoot — Australia, Iceland, wherever,” Maxime Cottray of XYZ Films told The Hollywood Reporter. “And you have to be ready, if COVID strikes, to be able to move fast to find somewhere else.”

Film producers also have to keep in mind the challenge of flying cast and crew members to a particular location. Right now, American travelers are banned from traveling to countries in the European Union, for example.

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Insurance and Budgets for Filming During Covid-19

Another big challenge for film producers is obtaining insurance. Many banks are refusing to insure indie productions asking for policies with covid-19 exceptions. But if there’s a second wave of the virus, productions will have to stop.

Filming will also just be inherently more expensive with new safety and sanitation restrictions.

“There are additional costs to producing under the necessary hygienic measures, ranging from changes to the catering to having a hygiene advisor on set, but they vary from production to production,” says Martin Moskowicz, executive chairman at Constantin Film in Germany. “We are currently gathering experience and will then have a better idea of what the impact will be on shooting schedules and budgets.”

Financiers and studios will have to assume more risk than they usually do if any of these productions are going to move forward.

There could also be a silver lining to the risk of filming during covid-19: small indie films that don’t need as much prep or shooting time may be more attractive to studios and financiers. Maybe your movie idea has a chance!

In The Industry