We have been closely monitoring the news about COVID-19 and the impact it is having on the wider world as well as the screen industries and various international events.
We care deeply about the health and well-being of all, including citizens in the UK, the global screen industries and beyond. We are regularly consulting guidelines from the World Health Organisation, Government and the NHS to ensure that we are correctly responding to this matter.
With regards to production, up to the end of last week, it was largely business as usual, with filming continuing across the UK. Since then we became aware of US studios and UK companies implementing their own policies and guidance, which resulted in the pausing and postponement of filming and an overall slowdown of production.
Film London remains absolutely on hand to support production and infrastructure throughout this difficult and unprecedented time. However, we need to be highly cognisant of the health and welfare of the workforce and we have been closely monitoring the situation and following all guidance issued by the government.
As such, following the Cobra meetings we are now following the latest advice about avoiding unnecessary social contact with others. We urge all clients and productions to do the same.
We are also continuing to work very closely with our public and private stakeholders, our industry partners, together with local and national government, sharing concerns and raising issues with regards to the screen industries and the workforce, consulting with them on our response as this situation develops.
With regards to the London Games Festival, delivered by Games London, in light of the global situation and questions about events and public health, we have recalibrated the core of the festival programming content to focus on delivering online video meetings for delegates. The festival is switching its Business Hub and Games Finance Market events to purely online events and games professionals will have the chance to conduct meetings online via video calls on a new digital meeting platform. Studios can pitch to investors while a range of experts on a variety of topics, including how to contingency plan in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, will be available for video calls. Games London also remains committed to its programme showcasing BAME video games talent: it will launch the 2020 edition of Ensemble on 26 March, ahead of its public exhibition and more activity planned later in 2020.
We are also engaging with our funders with regards to the ongoing delivery of activity around cinema exhibition, screen archives, talent development, training and artists’ moving image. We are aware of the challenges faced across the sector and are working to ensure that we are ready to face these alongside our partners.
From an organisational perspective, we remain fully operational, continuing to deliver for the industry whilst operating a home-working policy for all staff as of this morning, and planning for every ongoing eventuality.
We will continue to monitor and pass on the latest official UK government guidance to our clients and stakeholders, remaining absolutely committed to continuing to work with and support production and the industry at large.
As we collectively navigate these unprecedented times, I wish you all the very best and urge you to contact us with any updates, queries and concerns, which we will endeavour to assist with, allowing for the circumstances.
Adrian Wootton OBE
Chief Executive, Film London and the British Film Commission