How Two Productions in Australia and Iceland Are Handling COVID-19

Credit: Lilja Jons for RVK Studios
Here's how two different international productions are moving forward during the pandemic.

Late last year, Netflix announced a new eight-part series from director Baltasar Kormákur (of Everest fame), which would film in Iceland. That turned out to be a boon for the production. Kormákur would be staying local, and this year, when COVID-19 hit, Iceland saw fewer cases and easier access to testing.

These factors have allowed Kormákur to proceed with the series, Katla, with additional precautions in place.

A recent article from the New York Times outlines how teams on Katla and a remake of Children of the Corn are continuing production in a world where Hollywood has been largely sidelined.

Kormákur saw his production briefly shut down, but came up with a system of color-coded armbands to keep different groups apart. Yellow armbands can be around the camera. Red armbands have to stay in video village. Cast, makeup, and costume team members have black armbands and stay separate.

There is rigorous daily testing and cleaning, and most on set wear masks. Craft services create individual boxed meals, rather than the normal buffet or grab-and-go situation.

Film set
Credit: Vancouver Film School

In the case of Children of the Corn, the entire cast and crew quarantined together in a small Australia town in order to keep working throughout the pandemic. Team members were also divided by roles, tested regularly by on-set medical professionals, and everything on set got a thorough cleaning.

According to the New York Times, actors dressed in neoprene suits to provide protection during a scene that required close contact.

Producer Lucas Foster acknowledged that this was an expensive choice. It has added 20% costs to the film's $10 million budget.

It seems bloated budgets and extended shooting schedules are some of the main hurdles to overcome during this difficult time, but with supportive producers or studios, productions might start ramping up again.

Are these precautions enough? Are you ready to get back on set? Let us know in the comments!

What's next? See more on pandemic productions

What do you think of Steven Soderbergh as leader of Hollywood's COVID-19 committee? Check out ideas from producers Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Chris Ferguson on how to create safe sets. And we consider what Hollywood might look like at the end of all this.     

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