Without Kisses on Screen: The Seventh Art and the Coronavirus Pandemic News and analysis from Europe DW


If Clark Gable and Vivian Lee as Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara weren’t allowed to touch, would Gone with the Wind have had the same success and become a world film classic?

For weeks, workers in the seventh art industry in Germany, who had to stop all photography because of the pandemic, have been discussing how to restart work on their new projects. During the isolation, filming was not banned, but due to the threat of infection, it turned out to be practically impossible. Only a few studios continued to work on their productions, including evening series.

Proximity is key

Actors play with their bodies, they are often close to each other, not only in romantic scenes, but also in the staging of

scandals, fights and others. “It would be a pity if there were fewer erotic scenes in the future. This also applies to other situations: human intimacy is what we describe. It is impossible without it,” says screenwriter Sebastian Andre.

The industry is following the example of the Bundesliga. “We learned a lot from the players, their situation is similar to that during the photos: there are teams in front of and behind the camera, for which different rules apply.” If the distance in one scene cannot be maintained for more than a minute, the actors will have to be quarantined. “All workers need to be tested regularly for coronavirus,” said film producer Nico Hoffman.

Quarantined actors lose their next projects

According to actor Hans-Werner Meyer, more attention needs to be paid to how actors can be financially compensated. “Those who have to be quarantined during the photos have no right to see their families and make other commitments.”

The costs of the set have also increased, says Nico Hoffman: “Temperature measurement, maintaining a protocol with the contacts, strict observance of hygiene measures. “Working hours increase by up to 20%, thus increasing costs,” he explains.

All professional groups working in the film industry face similar problems. “Projects are constantly being postponed,” Mayer said. Often there are only empty promises without real contracts.

The authors’ fees are paid in installments, usually the last and largest amount is received on the first day of filming. TV channels have paid the money, although productions have been postponed, says screenwriter Sebastian Andre. It is far more difficult for films and especially for small productions, which are otherwise made with minimal resources.

Actor Hans-Werner Meyer has raised the issue of financial compensation in the industry

With us, the intensive writing continues, because sooner or later it will be filmed again and material will be needed. “Besides, writing is the least dangerous part of a film. We work from home anyway,” the screenwriter said.

There is no insurance for Kovid-19

What will happen if an actor or actress becomes seriously ill on the set and needs intensive treatment? The most pressing problem for workers in the industry is that no insurance covers termination due to a coronavirus case.

So a few weeks ago, more than 100 workers in the industry sent a letter to German Economy and Culture Ministers Peter Altmeier and Monica Grueters. “Every filming turns into a time bomb,” they wrote, urging the creation of a fund to be used in the event of a shutdown. “The Producers’ Union is in talks with Monica Gruters about such a fund so that productions can be secured and continued,” says Nico Hoffman.

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