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19th October 2021

ScreenSafe has been seeking clarity about the practical implications of Alert Level 3 (Phase 3) in Auckland.

We have done an in-depth comparison of the available public guidance compared to the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Protocols and have also sought WorkSafe and Legal advice.

See information here.

Ngā mihi,

Kelly Lucas

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

5th October 2021

Please find the links below and pdf’s attached to the revised ScreenSafe COVID-19 Protocols, including a cover letter outlining the key updates, revised departmental roles and alert levels.

As you have seen from recent events, government guidelines, both for private and business situations, will continue to change as we adapt to a life with a mostly vaccinated population. However, the ScreenSafe Protocols remains a strong and vital source for best practice screen work during this pandemic. They have been through both NZFC and peer review, and should be followed for all screen industry work.

In regards to yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister – like us, you might have found it more confusing than enlightening, as it spoke more to personal situations than controlled work sites, and did not yet contain clear timeframes with practical relevance to the screen industry.

However, it referred to Phases 1-3 within the current Alert Level 3, and in the past we’ve been considered alongside Hairdressing, Hospitality and other close contact work which looks like it may be allowed at Phase 3. We have reached out to WorkSafe for additional clarity around Phases 2 and 3 – and will pass that on as soon as they get guidance from government.

In the meantime, Auckland and Waikato based productions should continue to follow ScreenSafe Level 3 guidelines, with the key restrictions still being:

  1. No Close Proximity Work
  2. Limited people on set, particularly in confined spaces with limited or poor ventilation.

Finally – this is a great time to get vaccinated if you feel comfortable doing so. It is the best way you can protect yourself, your family and your colleagues.

And it may be the road map for our country and industry to fully open up again. https://bookmyvaccine.covid19.health.nz/

If you have specific questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us or any of your regular safety officers.

Below are the links to the current updates:

ScreenSafe Cover Letter

Updated ScreenSafe COVID H&S Protocols

Updated ScreenSafe Alert Levels

Revised Department Roles

I would like to thank the ScreenSafe COVID Health and Safety team for reviewing these protocols and a special thank you to the New Zealand Film Commission for funding the review.

Ngā mihi,

Kelly Lucas

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

7th September 2021 – SCREEN INDUSTRY DISTRIBUTION

Kia ora koutou katoa to all in the Screen Industry, hoping you are all staying safe in your bubbles!

Please note the ScreenSafe COVID-19 Health and Safety team is currently looking at what Protocols need to be reviewed, particularly in light of the new Delta variant.

For now, please refer to the ScreenSafe website – https://screensafe.co.nz/covid-19-coronavirus/ – particularly the Protocols and Summary Guidelines around L4, L3, and Level 2.

These are still a really great guide for what is allowed at each level.

You can download today’s update in PDF here.

For the avoidance of doubt, please note the following:

Level 4: NO filming is possible/other than registered news organisations and essential programming.

Level 3: Very limited production activities may be possible. Please carefully assess whether your activities can be postponed to L2. If not, please carefully assess each action and whether it complies with the guidelines and works to minimise risk at all points.

The key issue to consider for Level 3 is physical distancing. For instance – location scouting, with appropriate PPE, and in controlled circumstances, can be undertaken – depending on the ability to minimise contact / risk / avoidance of breaking bubbles.

Any activity needs to be able to adhere to physical distancing guidelines. This limits both prep and filming activities – e.g. close contact between crew such as a camera team who cannot be physically distanced, or performers and makeup/hair. Please see L3 guidance for full details.


Yesterday the government made some more changes to the COVID-19 rules. The below changes will be
reflected in the updated Protocols, but since we know a lot of you are preparing for filming in Level 2, the below will hopefully answer your most pressing questions for Level 2 filming.

Level 2 / Mask Wearing

Mask wearing is now mandatory for anyone aged 12+ in indoor public places like shops, malls and public spaces: https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-levels-and-updates/alert-level-2/#work-and-business.

For screen work, ScreenSafe highly recommends mask wearing at Level 2. And some productions may require it.

Level 2 / Restrictions on Gatherings

Gatherings (social gatherings, concerts, hospitality businesses, etc.) are now restricted to 50 people for indoor venues and 100 for outdoor venues.

However, work sites like film productions do NOT adhere to number restrictions, PROVIDED they are a working in a fully controlled environment (with contact tracing and health questionnaire for everyone on site, and with all necessary hygiene and PPE measures in place).

Note: Due to the aggressive nature of the Delta virus, productions are advised to take careful consideration before filming with extras and/or large crew numbers during Level 2.

Level 2 / Physical Distancing in Public Spaces

Physical distancing in public places, e.g. retail stores, libraries, gyms and museums will be 2 metres.

However, for work sites like film productions the physical distancing requirement is still 1 metre, PROVIDED they are a working in a fully controlled environment (with contact tracing and health questionnaire for everyone on site, and with all necessary hygiene and PPE measures in place).

Note: Close Proximity work (work within 0-1 metres) like hair and make up are still allowed for, and for screen work is specifically addressed in the Close Proximity Environment sections of the Screen Industry COVID-19 Protocols.

Travel Out of Auckland – Current

While Auckland remains in a higher COVID level to the rest of the country, essential workers traveling out of the Auckland region will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test from the last week. Note: Only news and media outlets are classified as essential work, so for most of Auckland screen workers regional travel is not allowed until Auckland is in Level 2.

Delta / Other Likely Updates to the Protocols:

As per the updated Government guidance – some recommended guidelines are now mandatory or should be applied in all circumstances, namely:

Check-In/Contact Tracing – while everyone seemed to be doing well on this before, it is now mandatory in all circumstances for all sites, so ensure this is very closely adhered to.

Risk Minimisation – e.g. Hygiene Procedures, Airflow, Contact Minimisation. Look to assess your pre-production, shooting (when allowed), and post production, around how you can increase hygiene and minimise contact. From wearing PPE, to limiting numbers and increasing airflow. These are all our tools to help minimise the risk of exposure and spread.

Testing/Vaccinations/Privacy & Health Concerns – our revision is also likely to contain further guidance in this area. Until clarification is provided, please follow current MBIE guidance and ensure that human rights and privacy rights are respected at all times.

Registration with ScreenSafe – please also ensure every production continues to register with ScreenSafe –
https://screensafe.co.nz/covid19/registration/.

Any specific queries or concerns, please reach out to ScreenSafe at info@screenguild.co.nz or your industry organisation.

Ngā mihi,
SCREENSAFE NZ

ScreenSafe banner

18th August 2021

The Auckland and the Coromandel region has moved to Alert Level 4 for the next 7 days. This came into effect at 11.59pm on Tuesday 17th August.

The rest of New Zealand has moved to Alert Level 4 for the next 3 days. This came into effect at 11.59pm on Tuesday 17th August.

Alert level 4 information here.

Please see the latest updates at COVID.govt.nz and details of current alert level.

At Alert Level 4, it is likely COVID-19 is not contained.

Risk assessment

  • Sustained and intensive community transmission is occurring.
  • Widespread outbreaks
  • Delta variant

Range of measures that can be applied locally or nationally

  • People are instructed to stay at home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement.
  • Safe recreational activity is allowed in local area.
  • Travel is severely limited.
  • All gatherings are cancelled and all public venues are closed.
  • Businesses are closed except for essential services – for example, supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics, petrol stations and lifeline utilities will stay open.
  • Educational facilities are closed.
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities is possible.
  • Reprioritisation of healthcare services.

What all Alert Levels have in common

At all Alert Levels, essential services including health services, emergency services, utilities and goods transport will remain up and running. PCBU’s must continue to meet their health and safety obligations across all levels.

At all Alert Levels, if there is another emergency, follow normal emergency procedures. Emergency evacuation orders will override COVID-19 Alert System requirements to stay at home.

 

We realise that the unexpected shut down can cause emotional, financial concern, and / or stress. 

Below are three links you may find useful. Mental health support, Coping with financial stress and WINZ:

  1. For mental health support see link here.
  2. If you are experiencing money concerns please see the link here
  3. If you have been affected by COVID-19, WINZ may be able to provide financial support. You may be self-isolating at home, or your work may be affected.

https://workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/

The Government is going to announce financial measures to help people through this crisis so be aware of the announcements in the coming days and see how this might help your situation.

We will share more information as soon as it comes to hand.

Ngā mihi nui

Kelly Lucas

EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand

Call : +64 9 8899522 From ANYWHERE in NZ – ALWAYS Dial (09)  | www.screenguild.co.nz

Promoting professional standards in the NZ Screen Production Industry

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Scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday to catch up on industry news, a Stuff article caught my eye. “Can Aotearoa make the screen the next primary industry?” the hook headline blared.

Diving into the article, I read that SIGANZ President Brendon Durey believes the “constrained” rebate doesn’t go far enough (the rebate offered to international productions shooting here) as other countries like the United Kingdom and Canada offer higher amounts. A white paper put together by educational outfits YooBee College of Design and UP Education calls for more Government money and resources to go into creativity education. And new Wellington outfit The Granary gets its marketing video promoting the use of LED technology backdrops showcased. Multiple handclaps to all three for getting their PR into Stuff.

My hat does go off to the educational outfits and The Granary, though, because they both promote the idea of local IP creation, with YouBee and Up giving a big plug to the possibilities with local stories and within the New Zealand gaming sector, while The Granary seeks to give Kiwi content creators a way to bring Hollywood tech pizazz to local production in an affordable manner.

One of the key reasons Aotearoa has a massive opportunity on its doorstep, journalist Andre Chumko tells us in the article, is that our sector “struggles to keep up with an unprecedented glut of production born from the Covid-19 pandemic.” I would suggest, however, that that glut isn’t going to continue unabated.

As the whole sector was wrestling during our first lock down with how to get back into production, I was having calls with the Directors Guild of America about what we were doing. NZ’s Screensafe COVID protocols were written up and out while the US guilds were still wondering what to do. Although slow to get their protocols in place, American production has for some time now been operating both domestically and internationally amidst the pandemic with strict guidelines that are keeping on-set infections low. Now, with the vaccine rolling out, the sleeping U.S. behemoth of backlogged productions and a year of new shows developed by showrunners and writers locked up in their homes is going to start hitting.

Will Aotearoa get a slice of that pie? Undoubtedly. As will Australia, which is seen as just as safe as New Zealand by Americans, but with more crew, facilities, and perhaps most importantly, onscreen talent that can pull international financing and audiences. Canada, Eastern Europe, and other countries will also benefit as the American juggernaut gets rolling.

The idea that we are going to be awash in streamer and other international production until the Apocalypse, however, is a little far-fetched in my view. A lot of American production will again take place in the U.S. and Canada, just like it always has. A strategic approach and well managed tactical implementation will I believe see New Zealand continue to benefit long term from production coming in from overseas. But the real opportunity I maintain lays in “constrained” local IP generation, and not just with identifiably Kiwi content.

Putting our culture on screen is vitally important, and we must continue to do so. Māori content cuts through in the global marketplace. Indisputable. But it’s the lack of investment in our screen content that is constraining us, whether it’s identifiably New Zealand or not.

NZ On Air, TMP and NZFC are still essentially operating on the same levels of funding they were receiving 10 years ago. COVID funding, though, has shone a spotlight on local IP.

Depending on which whisper you listen to, there were somewhere between 50 and 150 applications for the one-off $50 million Premium Fund. That’s a lot of local IP vying for, in the greater scheme of things, not a lot of money. There would definitely have been more than one pie-in-the-sky idea thrown in with no chance of success. But even if only 10 per cent of the proposals met a key criteria of being high-quality productions that tell New Zealand stories for global audiences at a scale and ambition not previously possible, that’s a clear indication of how much viable, untapped IP is out there.

Our local screen industry needs more investment to take advantage of global content opportunities:

  • More annual funding for NZ On Air, TMP and NZFC
  • An annual Premium Fund
  • More support for New Zealand’s gaming sector

A massively stimulated local industry will provide more than enough employment for current and future crew, and work for suppliers, with the added benefit of generating export dollars and actually creating and retaining IP here. International serviced production will then become a nice-to-have rather than a must-have for the New Zealand screen industry to survive and prosper.

 

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director