German producers have urged the government to stop shooting immediately based on health dangers around the current coronavirus pandemic.
While the current crisis has forced a number of television and major film productions to shut down, producers are forced to work or face major financial difficulties. As it stands, shooting is still permitted as long as it takes place in private studio premises.
While some German cinema funders have put together a care package to help protect some of its major film companies, many producers face financial ruin amid the current pandemic.
X Filme Creative Pool, a longstanding Berlin-based collective, has issued a statement urging the German government to enforce a ban on filming and to roll out financial protection to the many production companies who are currently risking their health to continue working,
“(As) long as it is not legally prohibited, we as German producers are not in a position to cancel ongoing productions on our own initiative and liability without damage in the millions and thereby endangering the survival of the company,” X Filme said in a statement.
The statement has been fully supported by all filmmakers in the country and filmmaker Markus Goller issued an open letter to government leaders and health authorities backing X Filme’s message.
“Please stop all shooting permits in Germany IMMEDIATELY! If the authorities do not immediately put a stop to it, all producers who are currently filming will find themselves in an absolute moral and existential disaster,” the letter reads.
Actress Katja Riemann, who has come out in support of producers, took to social media to share a joint industry statement backing calls for the band: “Word has finally gotten around that it is insane to continue shooting while the first cities and towns are already implementing stay-at-home orders,” she said.
“I pray that politicians will finally cancel all filming nationwide that does not serve to inform the public so that producers can let their employees go home to their families and (practice) #socialdistancing.”
As Variety points out, the Federal Film Board has announced its plans to roll out a care package to offer support for filmmakers suffering from the coronavirus pandemic. “The effects of the corona pandemic pose an unprecedented threat to the German film and cinema industry,” said FFA president Bernd Neumann. “The consequences for cinemas, production and distribution companies — and thus for all the people in this country who work in film — are unforeseeable. In this extreme situation, the industry must stand together; the federal government, the states and the FFA must find and implement solutions together as quickly and unbureaucratically as possible.”
The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease was first officially identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei in China. As of March 23rd, more than 342,410 cases of COVID-19 have been officially confirmed but the actual number is thought to be much higher due to substantial under-reporting of cases.
With more than 14,762 people having died from the virus, COVID-19 has now spread into more than 180 other countries—including mainland Europe, South America and North America. Given the exponential growth in cases in countries like Italy and Spain, the WHO have now stated that Europe was the current centre of the pandemic.