Summer film season: Film industry members urged to get vaccinated

19 August 2021

Film industry bodies are encouraging members in South Africa to get vaccinated ahead of the busy summer film season.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the last two summer film seasons in Cape Town.

But there’s optimism that the upcoming season could turn things around.

Production companies as well as service providers in the value chain are gearing up for the new season better equipped with lessons from the previous two seasons.

Additionally, the circumstances have improved as South Africa’s COVID-19 response has ramped up over the last couple of months:

  • The vaccination programme is gaining momentum
  • The film industry has developed standard health and safety protocols
  • The industry has invested in remote filming technology
  • International travel into the country is open

Commercial Producers

South Africa’s foreign commercial season kicks off in October and presents the industry an opportunity to begin recovery.

“Our industry has learned a lot over the last 15 months and is ready to welcome international clients to our beautiful country,” says Bobby Amm, Executive Officer at the Commercial Producers Association (CPA).

“Although COVID is still part of our lives, we have developed very rigorous protocols for all personnel working on set and have also perfected the remote streaming option for those who want to make use of it.”

Amm says the association is rolling out quick turnaround PCR and Rapid Antigen testing on set to ensure a safe environment.

“Most importantly, all people are now eligible for Covid vaccines and we are encouraging everyone in our industry to get their vaccination without delay so they too will hopefully be ready for work by October.”

Safety remains a priority

While the vaccination programme continues, the South African Association of Stills Producers (SAASP) has emphasised the importance of COVID-19 safety protocols.

“It is critical, and imperative, that we as members of SAASP apply ourselves fully to creating a safe and secure environment for both our clients and our local crew to operate within,” says Gavin Levy, Director at SAASP.

“SAASP is currently preparing an accountability platform where all members will have to abide by the safety and health protocols stipulated by city, failing which, membership to the Association and the benefits thereof will be suspended.”

Levy says SAASP members have over the last few months ensured their databases and supplier information remains current and active.

Additionally, members have invested in bringing themselves up to date with available streaming and other remote shooting services.

Some have recently completed large scale fully remote shoots, an indication clients have confidence in their abilities.

Levy, who owns Cape Town Productions, says the recovery will be reliant on fundamentals which Cape Town is known for including:

Open for the international market

With South African borders open and international travel allowed, the film industry believes the eased restrictions will make it much easier to conduct business this summer film season.

Rudi Riek, CEO of FIVA, welcomed the news that several of our source markets have opened for fully vaccinated travellers without the need for quarantine, this includes France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Finland and several others.

This will prove extremely beneficial as our clients can the rest assured that they can travel here and back home without additional delays and associated expenses related to quarantine.

“Our hope is that specifically the UK will soon remove SA from its red list as they are basing their restrictions on incorrect data. The UK represents close to a quarter of all inbound service work.,” Riek says.

FIVA is the Film Industry Visa Assistance Program. Since 2014, it has issued letters to international personnel in the film and advertising industries, to help with the visa application process.

With a FIVA letter, the visa application process is significantly quicker and requires much less paperwork.

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