International productions are looking to return to Europe following the European Union’s decision to reopen borders to citizens from 15 non-EU countries, including Canada, Morocco and Australia.
However, borders have not yet been reopened to the US, Brazil or Russia.
The decision not to include the US, which has been struggling to contain the virus, is potentially worrying for the film and TV industry, as several US projects are set to begin filming shortly in hotspots including Hungary, Czech Republic, Serbia and Bulgaria.
However, the EU’s decision is not legally binding, and several of these countries have already confirmed they will make exemptions and still welcome US cast and crew, as long as they meet Covid-19 safety requirements.
Hungary is one such country; it is set to welcome back several major projects in the coming weeks, including Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune, starring Timothée Chalamat, Rebecca Ferguson and Javier Bardem. Additional filming will take place in August at the Origo Film Studios near central Budapest.
The UK is still within the Brexit transition period and so is subject to the EU ruling. At present, international film crews have to adhere to a 14-day quarantine period on arrival in the UK but UK bodies are similarly lobbying the government for exemptions for film and TV workers.
Filming of Universal’s Jurassic World: Dominion is set to get underway soon.
The “safe travel destinations” are China (subject to a reciprocal agreement, still pending), Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
EU officials say the decision was based on a number of scientific factors:
- Ensuring that the Covid-19 infection rate in the country was low enough (where nations had fewer than 16 in every 100,000 infected)
- That there was a downward trend of cases
- That social distancing measures were at “a sufficient level”
Each country will have to announce when it intends to start readmitting citizens from some or all of the countries.
The EU list will be updated every two weeks.
This story was originally published on Screen’s sister publication KFTV.