On set experience informs update of Czech filming guidelines
Filmmakers returned to work on May 7 as soon as audio-visual production was given the go ahead by the Czech authorities under self-regulatory guidelines. Domestic projects were the first to return to set, and then in June several international projects began shoots.
Large international productions including Carnival Row (pictured right) with Orlando Bloom (Amazon Studios / Legendary Television) Margrete – Queen of The North and family film Hui Buh (Constantin Film) as well as a large number of foreign commercials.
As a result the self-regulatory guidelines imposed non set have been continuously updated based on these experiences.
The rate of COVID testing of Czech crews is 100%, on all sets body temperature is measured and recorded daily with testing taking place at least once a week. But for those in front of the camera, and the director, testing takes place more frequently usually every third day although some projects do test the entire crew daily.
The Covid department can number ten or more people on international projects, depending on the size of the project. This consists of a “COVID Supervisor” with several assistants; a "COVID Marshall", whose job is largely administrative connected with this new production department, including compiling reports; a “COVID Hygienist”, a “COVID Medic”, and the “COVID Security Crew”, who are deployed on set and in the base camp to oversee safe spacing and compliance with hygiene rules.
Luděk Herda, who works as COVID Marshall, describes his work: “The work of our COVID team is divided into several phases. Firstly, we must continuously obtain as much relevant information as possible on COVID-19, how it spreads, and how to prevent its transmission. It is important to update workflows based on the latest information. In cooperation with government hygiene officials, occupational safety workers, infectious disease specialists, and film producers, we then draw up detailed regulations for individual departments. However, the most important task for the COVID team is to get the entire film crew on their side. The moment the crew understands the need for all the safety measures, we’ve won at least half the battle. Automatic use of protective masks, maintaining safe distances, and constant disinfection guarantee a smooth shoot.”
Tomáš Krejčí, producer at the Czech company Milk & Honey Pictures, has gained experience during an ongoing shoot of an international project and says “First of all, I have to thank the whole crew - their discipline is the foundation of success, both on set and off. It’s not just about strict rules for the set, but also about how people behave in private.”
Projects currently in preproduction or production in the Czech Republic includes Wheel of Time (Amazon Studios), Transatlantic 473 (Netflix), Allmen (ARD), The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney / marvel Studios), and the third seasons of Haunted (Netflix) and Das Boot (Sky / Bavaria Fiction).
In order for foreign filmmakers to have the most beneficial conditions for their work in the Czech Republic and despite the continuously-changing conditions of various countries for cross-border transport, the Czech Film Fund, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, issues documentation confirming performance of economic activities in the interest of the Czech Republic, on the basis of which filmmakers can travel to the Czech Republic from countries more affected by coronavirus.
According to film commissioner Pavlína Žipková, filmmakers need to adjust to the “new normal” and continue to shoot without over-exaggerating the situation: “According to experts, the coronavirus will be present globally for another 2 to 3 years - audiovisual production simply cannot be stopped for that long. Producers must adjust to the fact that COVID can appear on their set and then deal with the situation when it occurs. If the rules are strict, as they are here in the Czech Republic, and the crews are divided into groups that do not interact, then the risk of a suspended shoot is minimal. And should it happen, the stoppage will last hours to a couple of days.”
The Czech Republic provides a 20% rebate on qualifying Czech spending as well as up to 10% rebate on qualifying international spend. There is no minimum expenditure levels and no cap per-project grant.
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