26 Nov 2020 4:40 PM

Despite two lockdowns and unprecedented issues for film and TV productions, I am delighted and not a little amazed to be reporting that 85 per cent of all productions in the UK, including inward studio productions are currently up and running.  These include the new Batman and Harry Potter movies.

This is a very rosy picture compared to back in March when £1bn worth of productions were closed down.  The success of getting productions up and running is down to the hard work by all the constituent film bodies in the UK including the Government, led by the British Film Institute (BFI).  A newly created task force of around 100 people set up new protocols and guidance for film making.

These protocols include exemptions for talent and key crew to isolate when arriving in the UK.  The productions that they are working on must be certified by the BFI for tax relief.  When arriving in the UK, the talent and key crew are restricted to being based at their home or accommodation and the shooting location during quarantine.  They cannot travel anywhere else.  The above exemption has put a strain on BFI to pass the cultural test for productions to be able to go ahead.  Anna Mansi, Head of Certification at BFI related an interesting story during a seminar at this month’s American Film Market.  She told of an urgent request for certification to allow an actor to arrive in the UK – the request was submitted two hours before the plane was due to land! It goes without saying that they did it in time.

So much of the leisure and hospitality sector has been disrupted this year.  It is a testament to the outstanding achievement of the industry’s leading regulatory bodies that the majority of the media’s working people are doing what they do best – making great Films and TV Productions. Great news for us all!