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I do hope everyone had a restful and restorative Christmas and New Year’s break, because here we go again.

Like 2021, a false sense of security across the summer has been ended this year, quicker than last, with COVID bashing down the doors once more.Thankfully, production has been rolling in Auckland since the move to Orange and a number of shows are in production or have completed. We are all wiser about how to operate in a COVID environment, but the new strain means new adjustments for all.

The Government gave up on the elimination strategy last year and we are now faced with having to live with COVID in our personal and work lives.

At the Guild, we have conducted our risk assessment for the office and our events, which were severely impacted in 2021. A number of our workshops require close proximity between actors, whether it be Rehearsal & Performance, Directing In the Intimate Zone, or Rehearsal Dynamics. Others we are able to conduct in an online environment—not ideal but possible—like the Directors Masterclass, Director’s Toolkit, Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator, and the Table Reads that we do with NZWG.

We have reviewed all of these and our other one-off events and will be rolling out our Omicron-adjusted workshop and event programme from February. Keep an eye out for a new series of workshops that will look in detail at our template film agreements for directors (under development) and editors (already available), so that you can better understand and negotiate your contracts.

In the meantime, we all need to prepare for home isolation with the Omicron variant of COVID. If you haven’t already done this, you’ll find the Government’s information page on how to prepare your household for COVID here and the updated guidelines for life at Red here.

For those contemplating production, ScreenSafe continues to provide a comprehensive set of guidelines and advice for productions here. Continue to check regularly as this will update with Omicron and Rapid Antigen Testing.

We could well see for NZ productions the introduction of strict Zones on set with Omicron. If you want to understand what shape this could take, see the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters document on COVID protocols on set, including how their Zone system works.

As always, the guilds are always contactable and ready to assist in these trying times. If you are having an issue, need some advice or assistance, or require some help, as members you can reach out to me or the ED of the organisation that represents you. So don’t hesitate.

Although we continue to be challenged by the pandemic we can still count our blessings that Aotearoa New Zealand hasn’t yet been as severely impacted as many other countries. It’s still summer. And with the acceptance that COVID is here to stay, we have more freedoms than in past systems used to control the spread.

Stay safe, stay well, and enjoy yourself wherever and whenever you can—it’s good for your wellbeing.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

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What a horrible bloody year it’s been for the New Zealand screen industry.

Lockdowns interrupting domestic and international production here. Local films having their releases shortened or delayed. The New Zealand International Film Festival cancelled in Auckland. The LOTR TV series moving to the UK. Cowboy Bebob cancelled after one season. The list of woes goes on.

At the Guild, COVID has impacted significantly on our professional development programme, although we have managed to do some talks and workshops online. At least we have still been able to make progress on members’ rights, the Screen Industry Workers Bill, and the Reform of Vocational Education amongst other things, but it’s fair to say we, and I’m sure many others, are Zoomed out.

A lot of us have gone to the wall mentally, emotionally and financially in 2021. And as we close out the year we have the threat of the Omicron variant to prolong our COVID concerns. But as the US, the UK and Europe face massive rises in infection rates and increases in deaths, I believe we can still consider ourselves fortunate. Yes, some things could have been done better here in the face of this pandemic, but with our now close to 90% nationwide vaccination rate for those 12+, we seem to be in good shape to square off against the viral uncertainties of 2022.

Christmas and New Year are almost upon us and the festive cheer in some ways has never been more welcome.

It was any eye opener for me, having been isolated to the rural outskirts of Auckland for the last few months, to be in Ponsonby for Xmas lunch yesterday with the DEGANZ team. Aucklanders are out. Dollars are flowing into businesses and out into the regions, hopefully unaccompanied by COVID.

Film and TV production is back up, with crew looking to be busy as the year ends and through the summer.

NZFC told us today that a good bunch of our films—features and shorts—have had international success this year. Further, domestic production will be way up next year, thanks in part to the Premium Production Fund, and the level of international production spend forecast in NZ for 2022 looks set to match the average of previous years.

As you all hopefully take a restorative and enjoyable break across the weeks ahead, I’d like to thank you for your ongoing support of DEGANZ, whether as a member or collaborator with us in the guild’s purpose and activities. We couldn’t do it without you.

Meri Kirihimete!

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

14 December 2021

The Traffic Light system is designed for living with COVID-19 in the community. This is of course a huge mind-shift for everyone, but it is built on the foundation of one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Overall, the intent of the new system appears to be:

  • Encourage everyone to get vaccinated so that we can safely reopen the country
  • Reduce stress on the health system and protect the vulnerable
  • Ensure certainty and business continuity by incentivising businesses that use the vaccination passport system

The Traffic Light System will offer businesses much more flexibility and more certainty in regards to business continuity. COVID-19 restrictions within each level of the Traffic Light system are designed to encourage businesses to use vaccination passports, where only vaccinated staff, contractors and customers are allowed into a business or work site.

For productions using vaccination passports there are no restrictions on numbers on a work site. And Close Proximity work (make up, stunts, actor interaction, etc.) can happen at all levels, although with increasing risk minimisation tools (PPE, hygiene measures, testing, etc.) in place when moving to the higher levels.

Productions choosing NOT to enforce a vaccination passport system may have restricted access to some council and private locations, and some locations may not be available to those productions. Close Proximity work is only allowed in the green level.

We STRONGLY urge you to familiarise yourself with the new protocols. And in the next week we hope to also publish department specific guidelines for the new system.

Thank you to the NZ On Air and the New Zealand Film Commission for funding the review of these protocols.

Full release here of the key updates.

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols Review – Traffic Light System Documents:

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Protocols for the Traffic Light System Guidance – updated 14th December 2021

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Standard

These documents need to be read and utilised together. These documents are intended to give Production Companies and HOD’s guidance and forms to manage Covid 19 on a working production.

Vaccination Passport Productions Traffic Light System Guidance – updated 14th December 2021

Non-Vaccination Passport Productions Traffic Light System Guidance – updated 14th December 2021

Surveillance Testing information sheet here updated 14th December 2021

Each production is required to register with ScreenSafe – please read about these requirements carefully in the Protocols.

ScreenSafe Production Registration link

ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Department Roles (these will be updated in the coming week – 14th December 2021)

A very big thank you to the ScreenSafe COVID 19 Health and Safety Group for all of your hard work putting these documents together.

Ngā mihi,

Kelly Lucas
Executive Director
Screen Industry Guild Aotearoa New Zealand Inc.
(Previously the NZ Film & Video Technicians’ Guild Inc.)

Red traffic light against clouds in the sky

Friday 3 December 2021

Hi and welcome to the Traffic Light system!

The following areas are currently in the RED level: Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki districts, Gisborne district, Wairoa district, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu districts

And these regions are in ORANGE: The rest of the North Island (Waikato, Taranaki, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and Wellington), as will the entire South Island.

Note: The Auckland land and air boundaries will remain in place, so until 15 December 2021 people will only be able to travel out of Auckland for permitted reasons. From 15 December 2021, restrictions at the Auckland boundaries ease and personal travel will be permitted for any reason for travellers who have a Vaccine Pass or have a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of travel.

The Protocols are currently out for legal and peer review. We were hoping to publish the revised protocols today, but we are still waiting for legal sign-off. Hopefully we will be able to publish in the next few days.

The new Protocols are very similar to the draft guidance provided on 17th November. But for now, the main things to keep in mind are:

  • Make a CLEAR decision whether you are doing a vaccination passport job or not.
  • Discuss your requirements with your safety office prior to commencing work and make clear guidelines to share with your crew.
  • If you need a film permit from a local council or film offices, please get in touch with them. Like everyone else, they are working hard to create clear guidelines for the new system.

Remember to get your My Vaccine Pass if you are double vaccinated or you have an official vaccination exemption. And productions should download the NZ Pass Verifier if you choose to use a vaccination passport on your production.

Finally – be nice to each other. It’s a strange new world for everyone, whether you are vaccinated or not. And it will take a while for everyone to adjust.

Kia kaha!

Sincerely,
The ScreenSafe COVID-19 Group
Email: info@screensafe.co.nz

Download this update in PDF

24th November 2021

As per the governments announcements on Monday afternoon, please note the following:

New Zealand to Enter the New Traffic Light System on 3rd December

The whole country will be moving into the new system at 11.59 on 2nd December (effectively from Friday 3rd December):

  • Auckland will enter at the RED level
  • Other regions will start in the ORANGE or RED level depending on regional vaccination levels
  • No regions will go directly to GREEN

Auckland Hair Dressers and Barbers to Trial the New System

Hair dressers and barbers in Auckland will be allowed to open from Thursday 25th November to trial the new vaccination passport system. This is a trial of the system for this industry only, so unfortunately it does not mean that we can do hair & make up on set yet.

PS! Once we enter the new traffic light system on 3rd December, it is expected that all productions that use vaccination passports will be able to do Close Proximity work (although with appropriate PPE and hygiene measures in place).

Revised Screen Industry Protocols for the Traffic Light System

ScreenSafe are working hard to revise the Screen Industry protocols in line with the new Traffic Light System. Since we are still waiting for further government guidance about the new system, including the new legislation in regards to workplace vaccinations, the final protocols may not be ready by the 3rd of December. However we aim to issue enough guidance so that productions will still be able to operate safely from the 3rd of December.

Your Vaccination Passport

If you are double vaccinated you are now able to get your vaccination passport. You must have this in order to attend a vaccination passport shoot.

For more information, please go to this link: https://mycovidrecord.health.nz/

NZ Pass Verifier App

This is the official Ministry of Health phone app to verify if someone is fully vaccinated (or has a medical exemption). It is now available to download on any Apple or Android phone.

You can find more information HERE.

Sincerely,
The ScreenSafe COVID-19 Group

Link to full release here in PDF.