A shift in filming locations is up for a change as in a few weeks TV and film productions will no longer qualify for UK travel exemption. This is in effect from the 18th of January.
Television and film productions no longer qualify for UK travel exemption, according to the country’s government website. Those who travel to the UK for production must now self-isolate for a period of 10 days.
Under both the “Television production” and “High-end television production and film” categories, the website now reads: “This job no longer qualifies for an exemption as of 4am on Monday 18th of January 2021.”
The UK is currently under national lockdown orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply put, that level reads, “Stay at home.” Or, put more broadly on the country’s official website: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading fast. Do not leave your home unless necessary. One in three people who have the virus have no symptoms, so you could be spreading it without knowing it.”
Last December in Los Angeles, LADPH asked FilmLA to remind filmmakers that “travel for production purposes is currently not advised”, encouraging filmmakers to, “keep cast and crew close to home.”
Seemingly the last bastion of filmmakers is in Europe
The Hungarian government’s film commissioner, Csaba Káel, told earlier: “Special exemption can be granted for non-EU residents to enter Hungary without mandatory quarantine, international projects are being prepared, making it possible to restart production at full capacity. The pandemic has not shut down Hungary’s film industry, he said, measures have been taken in recent months to ensure steady work for 20,000 Hungarian motion picture professionals. Film professionals from the United States need to produce two negative Covid-19 test results before entering Origo Studios “, Káel said. “Crew members are tested at least once a week, but sometimes as many as three times a week, he added.”
Recently Adam Goodman, the head of Hungarian production services company MidAtlantic Films, has revealed that the “Borderlands” movie is one of the several productions beginning within the country. Disney/Marvel‘s “Moon Knight“ series will start filming in Hungary in a few days along with several other projects.
“We’re doing a Marvel project, which, for the usual security reasons, I can’t talk about,” said Adam Goodman, head of MidAtlantic Films, Hungary’s leading production services provider to THR earlier. “We’re basically fully booked for the coming cycle, until the summer, which, hopefully, will be the last cycle of shows we have to do under COVID-19 protocols.”
Hungary – the safe zone
What set Hungary apart was the speed at which local studios became “COVID-19 conform” and the unfettered support they received from the national government.
“Origo Studios was the first in Europe (and maybe the world) who introduced an effective anti-COVID protocol with heavy investments in infrastructure and human resources made it clear, that every production can be finished in time here,” says Mihaly Toth head of marketing of the Origo Studios, which installed a private COVID testing laboratory on location and contracted with a private local hospital to exclusively treat any infected crew members.
Quick shift coming?
While in the UK by the morning’s general update, which came at 4 a.m. local time (that’s 11 p.m. on Jan. 17 ET and 8 p.m. on Jan. 17 PT): “All travel corridors to close and you must self-isolate after arriving in the UK, even if you have tested negative. Most people travelling to the UK from abroad need proof of a negative coronavirus (COVID-19) test result. You need to have taken the test in the 3 days before you travel” in Hungary productions are granted permission to work.