BEFORE CHRIST. film industry ready to start again, with new guidelines for coronavirus security


In 35 years as a film and television costume designer, Lorraine Carson of Vancouver has seen a lot of clothes.These days, she adds a few items to her wardrobe: gloves, masks and face shields.

Indeed, many industry players are gearing up to go back on the shelf now that WorkSafeBC has formulated safety guidelines in the event of a coronavirus pandemic.

“I think every precaution we can take should be taken,” said Carson. “Everyone is excited to be back at work and hope we can do it very soon. “

Lorraine Carson on site for the pilot of Siren, a drama directed for the American channel Freeform and filmed in British Columbia. (Lorraine Carson)

Creative B.C., a provincial organization that supports a range of creative industries, has estimated that film and television production represents more than $ 3 billion annually for the provincial economy.

Industry workers say they are ready to adopt the new directives and get back into action.

Community activity

The WorkSafeBC instructions leave many details to individual departments on filming and individual productions, but there are universal guidelines.

It is advisable to limit the gatherings of actors and the team, as well as the narcotic departments working on the set.

WorkSafe recommends the use of two-way radios and mobile phones to limit in-person communication. Outdoor shooting is preferred for additional physical distance.

Trailers should be disinfected before being assigned to a new artist, and the use of supplements should be limited, whenever possible, and they should supply and wear their own clothing.

Phil Klapwyk, sales representative for IATSE 891, a local union representing 14,500 artists and technicians, said creativity will be required.

Many cinematographic activities are collective and require close proximity. Increasing physical distance and hygiene will be the challenges.

Some productions rewrite scripts to limit contact between actors, for example.

“We have a lot of situations where artists are at risk, where you ask them to kiss,” said Klapwyk.

“They don’t know each other, so they really do an act of faith when you do that. “

Lorraine Carson, below, assists actor Steve Zahn in costume adjustment for the 2019 National Geographic Valley of the Boom series. Carson said that when the local film industry resumes work, many aspects will change, particularly to limit close contact between the artists and the crew. (Lorraine Carson)

Provincial health worker Dr. Bonnie Henry said she had not seen WorkSafe’s advice for the film and television industry, but noted that the issue of non-essential workers looking to traveling to Canada will need to be addressed.

In British Columbia’s four-phase restart plan, film and television production featured alongside hotels, resorts, parks and theaters as part of the reopening of phase 3.

Blockbuster 2020

According to Klapwyk, the province’s film industry was on track for a 2020 blockbuster, but it all stopped after someone from the WB Riverdale series was exposed to a COVID-19 patient and the production of the series was stopped on March 11.

Dr. Bonnie Henry said the issue of international travelers will need to be addressed when the film industry revives. Many of the productions shot in British Columbia involve Americans, in front of and behind the camera. (Mike McArthur / CBC)

By March 13 – “a day that will fall into infamy,” he said – all productions were over.

“It was really amazing,” he said.

Before mid-March, about $ 15 million in weekly wages were paid to IATSE 891 members, said Klapwyck.

Now it’s only $ 24,000 to $ 25,000 and unemployment in the field is about 95%.

“There are a lot of unpaid mortgages. It’s a lot of rent and groceries, “he said. “We were on the right track for our best year ever. ”

The new standards are good news, said Klapwyk. He is already receiving calls from producers who are eager to resume filming once they have plans in place.

Carson said that she already had a costume job for August 1, but in the meantime, she had meetings and prep work on video chats.

“Lots of Zoom meetings,” said Carson. “I did really well. “

If you have a story related to COVID-19 that we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at [email protected]


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