Maharashtra permits film, teleserial shootings to resume

Maharashtra permits film, teleserial shootings to resume

Mumbai, May 31, 2020

In a significant decision, the Maharashtra government on Sunday permitted resumption of shootings for films, teleserials, advertisements, OTT, and so on, with immediate effect, an official said.

The move follows several appeals from the film industry and a delegation of Bollywood bigwigs who called on Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in this regard last week.

Accordingly, along with the gradual steps initiated under #MissionBeginAgain, the state government late this evening issued a separate set of guidelines, paving the way for the film industry to keep the show going on.

For the purpose, those intending to resume shootings will be required to submit their applications to the Maharashtra Films, Theatre and Cultural Development Corporation at the Dadasaheb Phalke Film City, Goregaon, or at the district collectorates concerned across the state, said an official.

"After scrutinising the applications, the concerned authority will give the go-ahead for the shooting proposals. They will have to adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines issued separately for the purpose," an official told IANS.

The 16-page guidelines pertain to awareness among all stakeholders, managing coronavirus risks on the sets/studios and editing facilities, casting and artist management, production offices, trailers, tents, crowd control and physical distancing, handling of equipments, operations controls, actors and junior artistes, contestants for non-fiction shows, staffing, location departments, shoot management, art department, wardrobe, on-set communication, camera, video village setup, sound, electric/grip departments, catering, travel to be minimised with at least one month stay wherever possible and quarantine for 14 days after return.

The guidelines pertain to managing COVID-19 risks on sets and in edit facilities, and the utilisation of offices, tents, and trailers, as well as domestic travel to location of cast and crew.

Shooting has to be done in a completely locked down environment and adhering to government rules. The directive talks of the optimum crew that can be allowed on set, and also lays down medical and administrative decorum to be followed on set. It also lays down guidelines on handling of shooting equipment by crew.

The artiste and staff management guidelines stress upon the use of masks, gloves being optional, and the overall use of video and audio conferencing wherever possible. The directive also lays down protocols for location management, staffing, as well as norms to be followed by individual departments such as art, electric, wardrobe, camera, sound and catering departments.

In a nutshell, these are the guiding principles that will matter when filming activity resumes:

It is important to spread awareness of precautions and symptoms of the disease, besides the necessity of regular temperature and oxygen level checks. The notice stresses on handwashing, sanitation and respiratory hygiene.

It has been suggested that larger tents be used, and that there should not more than five people on a trailer. Proper ventilation at indoor locations is a must. Deliveries should be handled outside office space, and disposable plates and cups should be used. Sanitising wipes at printer stations, and the continuous disinfecting of light switches, remote controls etc has also been stressed upon.

It has been suggested that crew strength on any set has to be minimized to 33 per cent of what it used to be pre-COVID, and that all members should carry essential identification. Aarogya Setu app should be installed on compatible devices and floor markings will be essential for social distancing. The presence of ambulance, trained housekeeping staff and medical personnel on set has been stressed upon. Temperature and health check of all entering a set is a must.

There has to be special facility to deal with pregnant cast and crew members, as well as those above 65. No audience will be allowed on sets of fiction or non-fiction shoot, and all members on set have to wear disinfect gear during breaks.

The directive encourages Facetime, Zoom and Skype for remote casting sessions, and advises on the use of mobile phones to check in before entering casting areas. Social distancing during casting session has been stressed upon as well as, wherever possible, the use of face mask during auditions.

Actors can be encouraged to bring some wardrobe from home.

Shooting facilities have to be manned 24/7, and security guards have to be on duty to open and close doors, so that no pone entering or leaving a shooting facility needs to touch doors or door handles.

Lunch breaks have to be staggered. No elaborate sets such as marriage, markets or fight sequences are to be filmed till the COVID threat subsides.

Guidelines suggest the use of disposable palettes for make-up and the need to throw away paper scripts after use, and the need to disinfect hairbrushes and combs.

Temporary clear barriers between actors and alternate shots setups have been advised. In no case shall children below 10 years be allowed on set, and only one acquaintance can accompany a child on the set.

Proper and regular fumigation of shoot location has been insisted upon.

For non-fiction shows, camera placement and seating arrangements have to be done keeping in mind the norms of social distancing.

The directive also suggests that production facilitates accommodation of crew while shoot is on, to avoid threat of spread while travelling to and from work, and also suggests dedicated vehicles for those who do not live near studios.

Access between floors has to be controlled and studio space divided into sections for various production teams in the unit, to maintain isolation.

The directive also discourages use of others' phones, and encourages serving box meals, and encourages crew to bring their own food.

That apart, every member of a unit has to answer a questionnaire, pertaining to information on basics such as if any member of their family has been abroad recently, has local health authority advised quarantine, has anybody in the family had COVID, if the unit member has fever, cough or cold etc.

For television shoots, broadcasters have to obtain permission from local collector where shoot has to take place. For film, due permissions have to obtained by the producer.


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