In response to the immediate impact of COVID-19 on the New Zealand screen industry, the sector has today announced the formation of the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group and a screen-specific online information hub.
While the indeterminate hiatus of a number of large international line productions has already resulted in job losses, many essential New Zealand productions continue to strive to keep cast and crew safe at work, whilst ensuring their productions remain operational.
Now, more than ever, the screen industry needs to work cohesively for the benefit of the sector at large. While progress continues on the Screen Sector Strategy 2030, the Strategy Facilitation Group has acted quickly to establish the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group to address the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry. This pan-sector team comprises many key screen industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders.
The www.screenindustrynz.co.nz website will act as a one-stop hub to assist screen producers and industry workers find screen-specific health and safety resources, wage and earning subsidy assistance and information, key updates on COVID-19 as well as relevant news and updates from screen guilds and industry organisations.
Currently, the key focus for the wider industry is the health and safety of those working on domestic productions and it is vital that all productions in New Zealand adhere to Government advisories and safety measures. Currently, the key focus for the wider industry is the health and safety of those working on domestic productions and it is vital that all productions in New Zealand adhere to Government advisories and safety measures. ScreenSafe, the industry’s health and safety advocacy group, has added two documents on the website, Covid-19 Health & Safety Policy and Covid-19 Contact Declaration Form*. These documents are intended to give production companies and heads of departments guidance and forms to manage COVID-19 on a working production.
The local screen industry eco-system right now is very fragile, and the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group recognises the importance of keeping domestic productions operational where possible, or ready to gear back up as quickly as possible should an increase in New Zealand’s COVID-19 Alert level necessitate work stoppages.
The other key priority for the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group during this initial phase of the COVID-19 crisis is working closely with key stakeholders, including funding bodies and financiers, to explore the various ways in which the domestic screen production industry can be supported in order to continue working safely during these uncertain times.
Beyond this acute response, the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group will also be looking at funding mechanisms and networks to facilitate training and development opportunities for affected businesses as well as individual crew members, performers, writers and directors.
These unprecedented times call for calm and proactive decision-making in order to protect the local screen sector and to ensure that when recovery happens – and it will – the industry is ready to operate at maximum capacity again for our domestic productions and so that international line productions can return as soon as it is viable.
*Documents created with thanks by Health & Safety Officer Robert ‘Gibbo’ Gibson and Producer Rebekah ‘Bex’ Kelly.
About the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group
Established in mid-March 2020 by the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 Facilitation Group, the Screen Sector COVID-19 Action Group is a pan-sector team, made up of representatives from many key industry guilds and organisations, as well as major stakeholders.
While the work of finalising the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 continues, the Screen Sector Facilitation Group felt it was essential to urgently establish a working group to address the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Screen Sector and to ensure that when recovery happens – and it will – we are all ready to gear back up and get the screen industry in Aotearoa humming again.
A key finding of the Screen Sector Strategy 2030 is the desire for a pan-sector unified voice and while that pan sector body is some time away still, it is evident that now, more than ever, our industry needs to work cohesively and it is with that in mind that this working group has been formed.
The group’s members and stakeholders are as follows:
SCREEN SECTOR COVID-19 ACTION GROUP - MEMBERS
Alice Shearman New Zealand Writers Guild
Brian Finn Weta Group
Felicity Letcher Main Reactor
Grant Baker Auckland Screen Alliance/Film Auckland /Images & Sound
Hineani Melbourne Ngā Aho Whakaari
Kelly Lucas Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand
Matthew Metcalfe General Film Corporation
Patricia Watson WIFT NZ (Women in Film and Television)
Peter Clews NZ Advertising Producers Group
Richard Fletcher SPADA / Libertine Pictures
Sally Campbell South Pacific Pictures
Sandy Gildea SPADA (Screen Production & Development Association)
Sioux Macdonald Screen Industry Guild of NZ /Filmcrews
Tui Ruwhiu Directors & Editors Guild of NZ
SCREEN SECTOR COVID-19 ACTION GROUP - STAKEHOLDERS
Domestic and international screen producers & productions
Screen funding bodies:
Regional economic development agencies:
Regional Film Offices of New Zealand