British producers denounce the ‘horrible’ cost of Covid protocols | New
The “horribly expensive” costs of applying Covid-19 protocols to film sets have been criticized by three of the UK’s largest independent producers.
Tim Bevan, co-chair of Working Title Films, said the costs associated with coronavirus safety measures were “horribly expensive and that needs to be reduced.”
Working Title, the production company behind Darkest hour and The theory of everything, shot Joe Wright Cyrano and Lena Dunham’s Catherine, called Birdy during the pandemic and is in production on Matthew Warchus’ Mathilde and Sally El Hosaini Swimmers.
Talk to Screen and Broadcast ‘s Restart the conference Wednesday, May 19, Bevan said: “Our production department is probably busier than ever because of the Covid protocols and there are all these new experts on the sets, who seem to be very expensive… That means he has it was very difficult to get the little films made.
“You have to believe that someone somewhere is making a lot of money thanks to this pandemic, especially around movie sets. But you have to keep everyone safe and you don’t want Covid to stop you.
Iain Canning, Deputy Managing Director of See-Saw Films, agreed and said, “It’s incredibly expensive. We couldn’t have done The King’s Speech during this period. The difference in Covid’s costs on top of the budget would have taken the full value of production out of production.
See-Saw’s is working on drama series, including Slow horses and The Essex Snake for Apple TV + and Heartstopper for Netflix and is in post-production Jane Campion’s The power of the dog and John Madden’s Operation Mincemeat.
“It’s a very, very complicated time for independent films that have a certain scale or a certain ambition for them… It’s our biggest concern at the moment.
Alison Owen, founder of Monumental Pictures, whose credits include Elizabeth, Save Mr. Banks and Suffragette, said Covid protocols added around 20% to the cost of creating features and between 10-12% on TV.
“The challenge is figuring out who is going to pay for it, because the people you sell to in a marketplace won’t pay extra for a movie or TV series because you’ve covered your Covid costs,” Owen said.
“He’s trying to sort the checkbox out of common sense that’s irritating… I find movies frustrating because you know it’s not really 20% and there are ways to reduce that. But most of the time with studios you are not allowed to do that because it has to follow a certain formula that someone in California has decided which limits it.
Monumental, who filmed the third season of the BBC comedy Ghosts during the pandemic, made a crime drama series based on the novels by ML Longworth titled Murder in Provence. “We had a movie that was bypassed because the costs of COVID got too expensive,” she revealed.
During a previous panel at the Restart conference, location manager Mike Fantasia revealed that Martin Scorsese The Flower Moon Killers had employed a Covid security team of 75 to 100 people for the original $ 200 million Apple movie.
Challenges for new voices and distribution
The panel also expressed concern that new UK writers might struggle to break through due to challenges for independent films, which include a migration of talent to TV projects. “There aren’t a lot of opportunities for individual director voices because a lot of directors come through working on TV shows,” Bevan said. “The Loachs and the Frears. Are we going to have filmmakers like this in the future who really express themselves on individual films from a young age? “
Owen agreed and added, “Future writers are something that really needs an eye… Because we share a language in America, there is no natural protectionism you could get if you were there. France, Germany or the Scandi territories, where there is always a desire to protect the local culture. I think we have to be really careful to protect author directors like Ken Loach or Stephen Frears and not have their voices watered down by the Americanization of culture.
As to whether he would prefer a box office hit or the label of Netflix’s most popular TV show, Bevan said, “The box office hit, without a doubt. With streamers, any project has a fairly short lifespan, whereas a box office hit movie goes up for quite a long time, stays there long enough, and then stays for years and years.
“Did we do Love in fact as a streaming movie and sold it to Netflix, you would kill yourself every Christmas as they re-show it and give you nothing. Whereas because it was a movie, it isn’t.
But Canning has expressed concerns about theatrical distribution of independent films, as theaters reopen this week after months of shutdowns.
“Movie chains have had their toughest times and are going to have to fill theaters with blockbusters to make money,” said the joint managing director of See-Saw, whose drama Ammonite was released this week by Lionsgate, after being made for the first time. available through premium online rental.
“We have the impression that there is a small window for the Nomadland‘s and in ammoniteand then the cinemas will have to make money… There will be no room for certain independent films for a while.
“The model has changed forever,” added Bevan. “The pandemic has accelerated the future… With the big studios looking to SVOD being the engine room rather than the theater, who knows what the global fallout will be in the years to come… We come back to a very different landscape in terms of cinema Go.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how the consumer reacts and how many return to the cinema, but also how the new economic models work… Ultimately, it will come back to the economy. This is how you can get the most money out of it, unfortunately.
The full video of the session will be available on Screendaily.com later this week.