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INDUSTRY / MARKET Sweden / Denmark

Sweden and Denmark to resume shooting while adhering to new rules

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- The new rulebook, compiled by production company Hobby Film, offers an insight into life on set in the wake of COVID-19

Sweden and Denmark to resume shooting while adhering to new rules

Things appear to slowly be returning to normal in Sweden and Denmark, the latter following Marvel’s timeline and currently eyeing “phase 2” of the country’s reopening, set for 10 May, after already resuming “regular” film production on 14 April. However, as pointed out in Hobby Film’s detailed, if slightly typo-prone, Nordic Film Guide, based on local legislation and official recommendations, there are quite a few things to keep in mind.

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Predictably, production companies must enable social distancing at all costs. “This means leaner crews and planning to ensure departments can work sequentially. It will cause a small decrease in productivity – we estimate this at about 10%,” it points out. Ensuring proper hygiene, as well as information on how to maintain it, is also a must: “Production is responsible for frequent cleaning of contact surfaces: door handles, surfaces, bathroom fixtures and any equipment handled by more than one person. Any workstation used by more than one person needs to be cleaned between users.” Call times should be orchestrated to prevent crowding upon arrival on set, and it’s deemed “irresponsible” to execute crowd scenes. Nightclub scenes, a church congregation or a political demo are no-goes, although “smaller group scenes are permitted – for example, a dinner”. Interestingly enough, there are no official rules regarding kissing, sex scenes or scenes requiring actors to touch someone else’s face, other than a requirement to sanitise hands before and after.

If a scene is filmed in a small space (under 20 m2, it is stated), only the camera operator, focus puller and sound recordist are allowed access, with remote viewing capabilities provided for other people. Casting should also be done remotely, and for the casting of families (expected to interact physically on screen), real families should be used whenever possible. Anybody at increased risk of illness following infection – in other words, those in the “high-risk group” category – should not be cast until further notice. “Although we do not want to discriminate on the basis of age, this will, in effect, mean that we cannot cast anyone above the age of 70,” goes the clarification. While it’s permitted to film in public spaces in Sweden, with 50 people allowed on set, the Danish police have been asked to provide approval regarding this matter, as there is a limit on gatherings of more than ten people in public, unless it is for work-related purposes.

On a sad note, buffets are not permitted, as “all meals must be served as single serving portions and distributed in such a fashion as to avoid surface contamination”. Coffee stations with self-service facilities and even fruit that isn’t individually packed are also getting the can. As far as on-set grooming is concerned, hair and make-up should be reserved for featured cast only, if possible, and applicators are not supposed to be re-used on different people. “This includes mascara and lipstick.” Assisted styling is allowed for featured cast only, too, with all background talent encouraged to wear their own clothes. In case that’s not possible, production must provide appropriate dressing facilities where social-distancing rules can be adhered to.

As if that wasn’t enough, sometimes it’s also worth going the extra mile. “In addition to the government requirements to limit the spread of COVID-19, we would like to take a couple of extra measures to ensure that we are doing everything we can to ensure that the risk of infection is minimised on set,” it is noted. “Although masks are not mandatory at this time, we will provide masks for all people on set and strongly recommend their use for interior spaces, where social distancing can be difficult to maintain consistently. At the time of writing, we will supply three-layered surgical masks, with clear guidance as to how to put on and remove them in a way that isn’t counterproductive. To minimise the risk of infection due to aerosol particles, we will prioritise the ventilation of all interior spaces.”

These guidelines are only applicable to Sweden and Denmark. You can find the full list, to be regularly updated in accordance with the new guidelines, here.

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