The set of the television series <em>Heartland</em>, in High River, Alberta. The producers had to stop the filming of the episodes because they did not have insurance policies in place before the COVID-19.
11 jun 2020 20: 00
Shooting delayed because of insurance problems
The Canadian Press
TORONTO — crowd Scenes reduced. Less people on the plateau. Screening tests of the COVID-19. Of hand-washing stations.
What are some of the protocols of health and safety as envisaged by the canadian producers of film and television for their projects, since some provinces, including Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columbia relax the restrictions against the pandemic that has crippled this sector in mid-march.
But despite these measures, many independent producers have not yet set date to turn on their cameras due to a key problem: insurance.
According to the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA), the insurance companies that serve the area of film and television, exclusive of their new production policies coverage against the COVID-19 in the future.
This means that a large number of canadian productions that do not have insurance policies in place before the COVID-19 — including the series Heartland, which aired for more than 10 years — can not take the financial risk to start only to see the virus force the termination of the project.
The CMPA has recently developed a proposal with a “market-based solution” to the problem, asking the federal government to serve as a safety net.
Under the proposal, producers would pay a premium to access coverage for the COVID-19, which would go into a dedicated account to pay for potential claims. The government would also contribute financially, through a safety-net proposed: $ 100 million if the funds generated by the sale of the policies were insufficient to cover claims.
“Everyone understands that it is extremely urgent to resolve this problem, said the president and chief executive officer of the CMPA, Reynolds Mastin, during a telephone interview. We have had good discussions with the government.
“They are asking a lot of very good questions and do a very thorough analysis of our proposal, and we are therefore working together to find the best way forward as quickly as possible.”
Producers from all over the country are working with the government, the guilds and unions to develop guidelines and best practices for return to the production.
But without the cover against the COVID-19 in a policy of insurance or government assistance, many independent producers are not able to pay for the cost of stopping a project because an actor or a member of the production team would have contracted the disease, or because of a second wave of contagion.
There may also be additional costs of production during a pandemic due to periods of shooting longer to meet increased security measures, cleaning additional on the plateau and the establishment of facilities of protection of health and safety appropriate.
“What is it that passes me by the head when I think of a second wave? My brain explodes”, was illustrated by the producer for toronto-based Amy Cameron, who was in pre-production on the next series of CBC Lady Dicks when the COVID-19 has struck.
“The financial impact is huge, the logistics is enormous, and there are so many complications.”
Ms. Cameron, who is coproductrice delegate, has indicated that they have obtained insurance for the tv series in the vicinity of the closures of the pandemic. The policy has many exclusions about the COVID-19, but it covers up to 10 players, and includes therefore at least there is a certain degree of safety.
It is in the process of drafting guidelines of the health and safety of the production in order to begin the preparation for the filming at the beginning of July if the government rules allow.
The producer Tom Cox had insurance policies in place for two series before the closing of the pandemic — the shooting at Calgary, Wynonna Earp, including the broadcast of the fourth season is scheduled on CTV Sci-Fi, and the upcoming drama the world of Vancouver Family Law. He is now preparing for the resumption of the production of these two broadcasts.
However, it can’t go forward with the filming of the 14th season of another series, Heartland, which aired on CBC, because he has not yet insurance for this project.
“We really can not take the risk associated with the start-up of production in circumstances with an insurance policy that has exclusions for the COVID, said Mr. Cox, of Calgary. So we are waiting. And we’re certainly not alone. The major part of the canadian industry is in the same boat.”
Some studios may be able to proceed on the basis of self-insurance, explained Mr. Cox, but many independent production companies in canada do not have the resources to do so.
The producer Kyle Irving, of Winnipeg, had taken out insurance for the movie Esther, who was in pre-production before the pandemic.
Using the protocols of health and safety for film and television for the COVID-19 that he helped to write for the whole of the province of Manitoba, it expects to begin to turn the cameras to the feature film in August.
However, the partner at Eagle Vision says that all of their other productions, including Burden of Truth CBC, are delayed indefinitely until the issue of insurance is resolved.
“If there is no safety net for the responsibility of a producer in the event of a new closure, how can we work with our trade union partners to share the financial risk of another closure? asked Mr. Irving. It will take everyone to make compromises for this to become something which, from a commercial point of view, is tenable.”