Production houses, event organisers await post-MCO guidelines

by NUR HANANI AZMAN/ pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

FILM and television (TV) productions globally pushed the emergency stop button due to the Covid-19 pandemic, risking thousands of workers their jobs.

Various jobs in front of and behind cameras, as well as those linked to the industry are affected.

“Business as usual” may not exist now, but several production companies are forging ahead and doing their best to produce videos, animations and contents for brands.

South Korea, for example, has postponed several film releases including the highly anticipated black-and-white theatre version of Bong Joon-ho’s film “Parasite”, which won four Academy Awards in February.

Production schedules are also affected where a few films scheduled to shoot overseas have changed production plans.

Radius One Sdn Bhd director and producer Shahrulezad Mohameddin said his team is currently on a stand-by mode, waiting for the government to update on what other sectors will be allowed to make a comeback.

He said before the Movement Control Order (MCO), his production house was working on two drama series for two different TV channels.

“It is too early to predict. We do not know when we can resume shooting, but I will definitely obey the government’s instructions.

“We are ready to seek the guideline and standard operating procedures from the Health Ministry. Perhaps a health screening or Covid-19 test needs to be done on each crew member before we start shooting,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Earlier in April, The Guardian reported that film and TV shoots resumed in China as Covid-19 restrictions eased.

According to China Global Television Network, a branch of the state-owned TV network China Central Television, studios have reopened in Ningbo, Shanghai, Qingdao and Xi’an, and TV series such as “Legend of Fei” and “Like a Flowing River” have resumed production.

High-profile film productions, including Zhang Yimou’s “Impasse”, are also reported to have begun filming again.

These followed the country’s attempts to lift restrictions and restart the economy, which include reopening cinemas and tourist attractions, and allowing schools to reopen.

However, cinemas were abruptly closed soon after, along with other entertainment venues, amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Meanwhile, local event organiser Fast Track Events Sdn Bhd is planning to resume its events in 2021 to ensure people’s safety.

In the meantime, Fast Track Events will be expanding its business to focus on digitalisation.

“If an event is to be held in the near future during this period, we will be working closely with our clients on the precautions to be taken and seek government advice.

“Some basic precautionary steps that we will take into consideration include limiting the number of people which depends on the size of the event space to ensure social distancing,” it said.

The company added that temperature checks and hand sanitisers will be provided at entry points.

“As we are in uncertain times, nothing will be set in stone. We will tailor the rules according to the need of the event,” it added.