Normal People_Daisy Edgar-Jones Paul Mescal Photo Enda Bowe Hulu_hi res

Source: Enda Bowe/Hulu

‘Normal People’

Screen Producers Ireland (SPI) is drafting health and safety production guidelines ahead of a planned return to filming on June 29, but challenges remain around issues such as insurance.

Film and television production in the country received the go-ahead to resume shooting next month as part of the third phase of the government’s lockdown exit plan following the Covid-19 outbreak.

SPI, which represents Irish production companies, is now drawing up a guidance documentary for the industry to help define best practices around health and safety in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. These are expected by mid-June.

Screen Ireland’s Covid-19 sub-committee has been liaising with SPI, Animation Ireland, Visual Effects Association Ireland, Commercials Producers Ireland, Screen Guilds of Ireland, SIPTU and Equity to address the issues and further support measures that may be required.

But the national film body acknowledged that there are a wide number of challenging key issues that must be dealt with including insurance and travel restrictions, prior to production resuming.

Production in Ireland shut down in early March as quarantine measures were imposed and included Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, a period drama from 20th Century Studios starring Matt Damon and Adam Driver, which was being filmed near Dublin.

Mentorship scheme

Screen Ireland has also launched two new initiatives to support creative talent ahead of production restarting in the country.

Screen Skills Ireland, the skills development unit within the national film body, is to spearhead the first scheme, titled Screen Mentoring.

More than 100 Irish and international industry professionals from the film, TV, animation, VFX and immersive technology sectors have signed up to be mentors and will support 50 mentees throughout 2020. Mentors will include Lenny Abrahamson (Normal People), Cathal Gaffney (Brown Bag Films), Ed Guiney (Element Pictures), Lisa Mulcahy (Years and Years), Grainne Humphreys (DIFF) and Tom Conroy (Vikings).

Screen Ireland has also launched The Actor as Creator, an initiative to showcase Irish acting talent during a time when social distancing measures are affecting traditional production activity.

Developed in partnership with acting academy Bow Street, the talent development and promotion initiative will showcase 30 actors to create a short filmic work that expresses their creative vision. The scheme is open to experienced screen actors and successful recipients will originate, perform and produce the short filmic work.

Screen Skills Ireland will also be extending free online training courses until the end of July, having delivered around 30 virtual courses to more than 490 screen sector professionals over the last seven weeks.

Screen Ireland announced support measures totalling €4.5m ($5m) for the Irish film and TV industry during the pandemic.

Cinemas have been given the greenlight to re-open in Ireland from August 10 but have been told they must adhere to social distancing guidelines.