Hollywood unions advise members to avoid filmmaking in California

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The impact of Covid on filmmaking continues to be felt in 2021 already, with several US productions now facing shutdown.

Several of the industry’s most powerful guilds have released a message stating that their members should not currently be engaged in any Southern California-based production, due to the risks posed by the surging Coronavirus cases in the US state.

Whilst all of the major studio and streaming projects in production are on hiatus until the middle of the month, independent filmmaking has continued in California, despite the impact of the Covid crisis continuing to worsen.

Naturally, affording a lengthy shutdown can be far more problematic for a small production and as such, in some cases, filming has continued. Now, several of the industry’s most powerful guilds have combined to advise their members not to  return to work amid fears for their safety and concerns that film production could help to further spread the virus.

The Producers Guild of America, along with the Screen Actor’s Guild and a range of other organisations have told their members not to return to work in this part of the state.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, SAG-AFTRA president has stated that “Southern California hospitals are facing a crisis the likes of which we have never seen before.  Patients are dying in ambulances waiting for treatment because hospital emergency rooms are overwhelmed. This is not a safe environment for in-person production right now.”

The news will come as a further blow to independent production in the state, where films have already struggled to meet with the increased demands of production in the midst of a pandemic.

With insurance costs rising, plus extra production funds needed to ensure sets are Covid-secure, films made without the financial backing of studios, have struggled.

You can read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter, but with the pandemic steadily worsening in California, it seems increasingly doubtful that productions will resume in line with the industry’s targeted restart date.

Stay safe, folks.

Lead image: BigStock

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