Shorter shoots, less films out: PH film industry mull future post-lockdown
MANILA, Philippines – When the cameras begin rolling again after lockdowns in the Philippines ease further, workers in the film industry are expecting longer production times and possibly higher production costs as production teams adapt coronavirus safety precautions.
"I think we all concede to the fact na things will not be easy. Things are radically different talaga. We have to consider the safety of everyone, of all the workers, including the safety of the community kung saan tayo nagsho-shoot," Paolo Villaluna of the Directors’ Guild of the Philippines Inc. (DGPI) said during an online press conference Tuesday, May 19.
(I think we all concede to the fact that things will not be easy. Thing are radically different. We have to consider the safety of everyone, of all the workers, including the safety of the community where we are shooting.)
Villaluna and seveal of his colleagues from the Philippine Motion Picture Producers Association (PMPPA) called for the presser after they approved guidelines made by the Inter-Guild Alliance (IGA), a collective composed of various guilds in the entertainment industry.
"So yes, given all these safety protocols, walang lagari, bawal bumaklas, no change location, all these protocols, the working hours, ideally mas mahabang pre-production para everyone really prepares for everything. Yes, hahaba ang pagawa ng pelikula at yes, nakikita natin kakaunti ang pagawa ng pelikula," he added. The "lagari" system refers to the practice of film workers jumping from one project to another within a period of time.
(So yes, given all these safety protocols, no lagari system, no abrupt exits, no change location, all these protocols and working hours, ideally pre-production will take longer so everyone needs to be prepared for everything. Yes, it will take longer time for movies to be made and yes, we're seeing less films being made.)
The guidelines shared by IGA will cover different stages, from pre-production to post production. Among the rules they have suggested include:
- Physical distancing.This will inlcude virtual meetings, paperless or online transactions, and remote reviews are encouraged in ALL stages of the production process
- A production calendar. he calendar will be agreed upon by members of the production team that includes pre-planning, package fees from suppliers up to possible changes
- Maximum of 70 people on the set.
- Strict working hours and turnaround of 12 hours
- All booked staff and artists on the project will finish the shoot and cannot be replaced. The no lagari system must be enforced to avoid spead of infections
- For food on set, there should be no central water, food stations, or buffet style set-ups
- Actors are highly discouraged from having their personal glam teams on set. They can instead avail of the services in their respective homes before coming to work
- Crowd, intimate, and other close-proximity scenes are discouraged during this time
Productions must have a protocol supervisor or safety officer and a medic to check the health status of people on set.
The guidelines also required proper sanitation, and regular disinfection of areas. All staff, crew, and actors must also be tested for COVID-19.
Under the IGA guidelines, a pod system will be implemented during the duration of the production. With the pod system, the production team will work in separate units with color coded IDs.
Below is the copy of the working guidelines by the IGA, which members said are subject to change.
The guidelines are what the PMPPA will follow when entertainment production is allowed to resume.
On May 16, the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) released a set of rules under the Interim Guidelines on Safety Protocols for the Conduct of Film and Audiovisual Production Shoots to Mitigate COVID-19.
The PMPPA, however, pointed out that the guidelines released by the FDCP was not yet final.
While the post-lockdown situation might seem bleak, Villaluna said there might just be "silver linings."
"One, let us hope this is temporary, na there will be a vaccine soon. Pero habang wala, we have to do this. Number two, in a very tangential manner, it actually kind of professionalizes the whole film community din. These are protocols that we actually want to institute for a long time pero ngayon nabibigyan na tayo ng kaunting guidelines. So even after the vaccine COVID era, gusto sana natin isipin na some of the professional manners that we are instituting here ay magtuloy-tuloy pa rin. Kasi sa igaganda rin naman ito ng film community."
(Let's hope this is temporary, that a vaccine is developed soon. But while it hasn't been discovered, we have to do this. Number two, in a very tangential manner, it professionalizes the whole film community. These are protocols that we actually want to institute for a long time and it's only now that we have a few guidelines. So even after the vaccine and the COVID era, we'd like to think that some of the professional manners that we are instituting here will continue. This is for the good of the film community. – Alexa Villano/Rappler.com