- Andrew Pritzker, Qikfinger Films
The Curious Case of Covid-Age Filmmaking
Multiple ingredients are needed to make a movie before adding PPE and vaccine shots to the list but it would be unconscionable for low budget indies to disregard safety guidelines. Safety should be the number one responsibility of producers and directors. Cast, crew, and vendors need not and should not be exposed to Covid or suffer injuries on the set. If the Guilds and Studios agree that Vaccination Passports be required for employment, then it’s show your vaccination proof or go home. Beyond movie sets and locations, this requirement might also apply to auditions, post production, stunts, even the recording of a film score.
It’s possible that airlines, cruise lines, sports venues, and theaters will soon require proof of vaccination before allowing people to travel or join crowd events. Again, it comes down to insurance liability. Of course verifying everyone's proof of inoculation will add to costs as well.
NO SHOES, NO SHOT, NO SERVICE
Should indie producers require proof of vaccination before hiring? There is also the safety of producers to consider. Covid is an equal opportunity infector. Everyone is at risk. Everyone bears responsibility to protect those around them, family, friends, and coworkers. Vaccination helps to create that protection.
There are however producers who evade responsible filmmaking, ignore safety protocols, and expose people to harm. It's a money vs safety equation. These productions existed before Covid and there's no reason to assume they will stop now.
There are other professions that require vaccination. In most states, grade school teachers are required to be inoculated against TB. School children are required to be vaccinated against chicken pox, polio, and diphtheria. The US Military requires its recruits to be vaccinated against hepatitis, mumps, and rubella among other illnesses. In December of 2014, Disneyland workers were required to show proof of measles inoculation when an unexpected outbreak struck the park.
HESITATE OR VACCINATE?
Variants to Covid-19 already exist. Vaccination will serve to control the virus but it may not defeat it completely. Minimizing risk is the responsibility of all filmmakers. Stunts must be carefully planned and executed. Set construction must be securely built. Locations must remain free of damage. Lighting arrays must not fall on people's heads. Life is not without risk. When we can minimize danger, we should. When we can protect people, we should. A Vaccination Passport may soon become a part of the new normal. It makes sense for people working so closely together. It will, of course, be up to the individual to choose to vaccinate. People still have rights, right? No one is forcing you to make a film. You can still stay home.