B.C. greenlights film industry restart
VICTORIA -- International filmmakers may soon be headed back to B.C. as the province has approved a restart of the industry amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Friday, WorkSafeBC (WSBC) released its reopening guidelines for motion picture and television production.
The guidelines include similar measures to other industries, including physical distancing, increased cleaning practices and establishing handwashing stations when filming.
WorkSafeBC is also encouraging the use of remote technology whenever possible, whether that be emailing scripts and schedules, holding remote casting auditions, scouting locations virtually or other similar measures.
According to Creative BC, a provincial organization that supports a range of creative industries, film and television series can begin production immediately.
“The province and WorkSafeBC support any type of production to prepare and restart operations by creating and implementing a WorkSafeBC-compliant safety plan,” said the organization in an announcement Friday.
“This includes commercials, domestic and international production.”
Besides creating a COVID-19 safety plan that abides by WSBC standards, Creative BC notes that Canada still has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone entering the country.
The quarantine, which requires travellers to present a “self-isolation plan” at the time of arrival, will apply to all actors and production crew members with no exceptions.
Creative BC adds that while B.C.’s ban on gatherings larger than 50 people may not apply in some workplaces – for example, in offices or grocery stores where more than 50 people can remain inside while still staying six feet apart– each production crew must assess their projects individually.
For example, filming outdoors may allow for more people to participate at once. If filming is taking place inside of a studio, however, crews must follow WSBC’s COVID-19 office guidelines.
B.C., and indeed Vancouver Island, is no stranger to the film industry.
Last month, Ric Nesh, a producer of a television series that is being shot in Victoria, said he was “very excited” about resuming the series, which had to suspend production due to the pandemic.
At the same time, on May 27, Northern Vancouver Island film commissioner Joan Miller said that demand for filming on the island remained high throughout the pandemic.
“Calls haven’t stopped,” she said. “And calls are continuing to come in.”
Nearly 2,000 people in Greater Victoria alone are employed by the film and television industry.
A full list of WSBC’s film restart guidelines can be found online here.