A few days after the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) along with film technicians and other workers’ associations urged the Kerala Government to grant permission for film shoots, Chief Minister Pinnarayi Vijayan on Saturday said that film shooting will be allowed in category A and B areas of the state with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.
The state has been divided into categories based on the Test Positivity Rate (TRP). While areas with an average TPR below 5 per cent and low spread of infection are clubbed under category A, localities with average TPR between 5 and 10 per cent and moderate spread of infection are clubbed under category B.
Addressing the reporters during a media briefing, Vijayan also noted that only those who have been administered with at least the first dose of vaccine will be allowed to enter these areas.
Though permission for shooting has been granted, various film bodies have decided to release a set of mandatory Covid-19 guidelines to be followed at shooting locations. According to a report in The Hindu, the Kerala Film Producers Association and the Kerala Film Chamber held a meeting on Sunday to discuss a set of guidelines. Among the proposed guidelines are mandatory Covid negative RT-PCR test certificates for everyone on set. The association also noted that the shooting location has to be turned into a bio bubble and outsiders will not be allowed to enter the premises. A detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is expected to be issued by Monday evening.
It may be noted that the shooting of films and television serials was suspended in the state on April 29, following the second wave of Covid-19. On June 22, permission to resume shooting of TV serials was given by the Chief Minister. However, no respite was offered to the film industry.
Due to lack of clarity on when permission will be granted to resume filming, around seven Malayalam film shootings shifted outside Kerala to shoot, a recent statement from FEFKA said. This includes Bro Daddy, featuring Mohanlal and directed by Prithviraj, that started filming in Hyderabad recently.
In its statement, FEFKA added that several daily wage workers, such as light operators, production assistants and several others, have lost their income during the pandemic.
As permission was granted for shooting on Saturday, FEFKA’s general secretary B Unnikrishnan thanked the Chief Minister and the state government for understanding the concerns of the film industry.
On Sunday (July 18) Kerala reported 13, 956 new Covid-19 cases and 81 deaths and the Total Positivity Rate stood at 10.69%. There are as many as 1,25,041 active Covid-19 cases in the state.