British Film Commission commences consultation on Production Protocols for Inward Investment TV and Film industry to aid recovery

Tuesday May 5 2020

British Film Commission commences consultation on Production Protocols for Inward Investment TV and Film industry to aid recovery

• Consultation on draft production protocols commenced by British Film Commission working group to ensure film and high-end TV production can restart as soon as it is safe to do so
• Proposed protocols include best practice on set, on location and by department
• Consultation to reflect views of producers, studios, streamers, unions and UK-wide industry bodies
• Proposals intended to be scalable, to be relevant to domestic production and major US productions alike
• The British Film Commission is part of the BFI Screen Sector Task Force working on COVID-19 recovery

The British Film Commission, as part of the wider BFI Screen Sector COVID-19 Task Force, has today begun a consultation on a draft set of protocols for inward investment film and TV production, to ensure the sector can restart scripted production as soon as the Government’s COVID-19 lockdown measures are eased.

As a partner in the BFI’s COVID-19 Taskforce, the British Film Commission (BFC) has convened a Recovery Group to lead on the inward investment TV and film industry’s recovery efforts, with recommendations incorporated into the Taskforce’s Sector-wide proposals to Government.

The Inward Investment Recovery Group has drawn from the BFC’s own National Advisory Board, overseen by BFC chair and producer, Iain Smith OBE, as well as co-opting additional UK-wide industry expertise. The group features three ‘Task and Finish’ working groups: Business & Legal Affairs; Visual Effects & Post; and Physical Production. The main focus for the Physical Production sub-group has been to devise draft Production Protocols, the purpose of which is to:

• Present UK Government with a comprehensive and realistic vision of how the inward investment TV and film industry can mobilise once lockdown measures are eased; and

• Provide the inward investment TV and film industry with a framework to enable mobilisation in a co-ordinated and, above all, safe manner as soon as it is appropriate to do so.
Working to align with the latest Government and Public Health England guidance, the draft Production Protocols cover best practice on set, on location, and by department, incorporating health and safety advice and more. The intention is for the proposals to be relevant to domestic production and major US productions alike.


Adrian Wootton OBE, Chief Executive of the British Film Commission, said:
“Like many of the UK’s sectors, COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to combat it risk profound and potentially long-lasting economic impacts on film and TV production. There will need to be modifications to the way film and TV shows are made.

“We are working with Government and industry to develop a set of protocols that address the Government’s five tests, and are ongoing, adjustable, pragmatic and common-sense, with proposals scalable to be relevant to any size of scripted production. That will allow the film and TV industry to get back up and shooting as soon and as safely as possible, and playing its part in restoring the health of the UK economy.

“While ideally, production would start again as soon as it is safe to do so, that timetable is up to the Government. But we need to be ready to restart as soon as the restrictions are lifted.”

Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, said:

“We are determined to ensure the UK is ready to resume production as soon as possible, and the inward investment group has been working at pace to produce practical and scalable production protocols and processes. I am full of admiration for the huge amount of work that has gone into producing these comprehensive production guidelines.”

Once consultation closes on 15 May, the aim of the finalised Codes of Practice is to help the physical production industry to protect crew and cast by adopting a safe working environment and practices in light of COVID-19 related risks; and to understand and recognise the changes they need to make in order to achieve this. The proposed Protocols will be shared with the BFI Task Force, and presented to government for endorsement as part of a package of measures that are currently being formulated across the sector.

The DRAFT Codes of Practice have been co-ordinated by the BFC’s Physical Production Sub-group, drawing on a number of resources, both public and commercial, UK and international, and have been consulted on by the BFC’s COVID-19 Inward Investment Recovery Group that comprises diverse representation from across the UK and US TV and film industry. Today’s launch will see the consultation sent to the BFC’s key US and UK production clients, UK nations and regions’ screen agencies, public stakeholders, private organisations, trade bodies, industry and unions.

The BFC is additionally partnering with other members of BFI’s COVID-19 Taskforce to address potential Government interventions to assist with recovery and feeding into Pact’s work around production-related insurance. Neither of these areas is addressed within the draft Codes of Practice. The BFC continues to work closely with ScreenSkills, who provided both financial support and expertise in the formulation of the draft Codes of Practice, and who are adapting and developing training initiatives to support the industry’s recovery efforts.

Closing date for responses to the consultation on the draft Production Codes of Practice is Friday 15 May 2020.


For further press information, please contact:
Lauren Preteceille
M: 07778 607 855


Notes to Editors:

1. About the British Film Commission
The British Film Commission (BFC) is the UK Government’s national organisation responsible for international film and television production in the UK. Funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Department for International Trade and the BFI, the BFC leads on:

• Maximising and supporting the production of major international feature film and high-end television in the UK;
• Strengthening and promoting the UK’s film and television infrastructure;
• Liaising between the Government and the film and television industry on policy issues that impact on production.

The BFC has industry sponsors who form the membership of the agency’s innovative public/private partnership: Angels, Disney, Harbottle & Lewis, HBO, Movie Makers, Netflix, Pinewood Studios, Saffery Champness, Warner Bros, 3 Mills, BBC Studios, Double Negative, Elstree Studios, Framestore, MPC, The Bottle Yard and Working Title.

The BFC is the national division of Film London.


2. About the BFI
The BFI is the UK’s lead organisation for film, television and the moving image. It is a cultural charity that:
• Curates and presents the greatest international public programme of world cinema for audiences; in cinemas, at festivals and online
• Cares for the BFI National Archive – the most significant film and television archive in the world
• Actively seeks out and supports the next generation of filmmakers
• Works with Government and industry to make the UK the most creatively exciting and prosperous place to make film internationally
Founded in 1933, the BFI is a registered charity governed by Royal Charter. The BFI Board of Governors is chaired by Josh Berger CBE.


3. The BFI COVID-19 Task Force, which has cross-sector partners, is looking specifically at recovery plans for independent film, the exhibition sector and for broadcast. BFI and partners will provide updates on all these areas over the coming days, weeks and months.


4. The Government’s five tests ahead of easing the lockdown restrictions are:

1. Making sure the NHS can cope;
2. A sustained and consistent fall in the daily death rate;
3. The rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels;
4. Ensuring supply of tests and PPE can meet future demand; and
5. Being confident any adjustments would not risk a second peak.

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