Press Release

DIRECTORS UK PUBLISHES COVID-19 UPDATE TO DIRECTING NUDITY AND SIMULATED SEX GUIDELINES

20 August 2020

Today, Directors UK has published Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19, an update to the previously published Directing Nudity and Simulated Sex best practice guidelines for directing intimate scenes. 

Scenes involving intimacy – of any nature – have always required skill and a craft-led approach to ensure that everyone feels safe. The suggestions offered in the new guidance lay out a plan of action for directors that begins with working with the script, right through to preparation, rehearsals and shooting. By creating a framework within which we can convey intimate scenes in creative ways and continue to tell world-class stories, directors can help to support the safe recovery of the film and TV industry. 

Compiled in consultation with Directors UK Board Members Bill Anderson and Susanna White, alongside intimacy coordinator Vanessa Coffey, the new guidelines offer creative ways to overcome some of the obstacles presented by filming in a COVID-safe environment, and form best practice for preparation and shooting as the industry returns to work. 

Speaking today, Bill Anderson said: “During the COVID-19 lockdown, audiences consumed content like never before. We need to restart filming to continue to deliver the vivid and wide-ranging content that audiences value. Directors have a pivotal role to play in ensuring the film and TV industry restarts as safely as possible. Now more than ever we need to delight audiences hungry for the intimacy of connection, and contribute to a creative culture that has proven so valuable to us all during this pandemic.” 

Susanna White said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new set of challenges for us to navigate. Directors are inherent problem solvers, and we can’t wait to get back to work. One of the effects of social distancing has been to appreciate and re-evaluate physical contact as never before. The simple act of hugging has taken on a value no one ever dreamt of. It has made us really mindful of the power – both positive and negative – of touch and we need to carry over that mindfulness into the workplace. We’ve always used our craft to convey intimate stories and relationships on screen, and now, we must do that more creatively than ever.” 

Speaking at the launch of the original guidelines last November, Directors UK Campaigns and Engagement Manager Natasha Moore said: “We created these guidelines to encourage directors to think twice about the environment they create in auditions and on set. Directors can use their influence to nurture a safe working environment for all, and this is keenly felt when rehearsing and filming vulnerable and sensitive scenes. The guidelines equip everyone with everything they need to do their job without concern, and it is in this spirit of collaboration that we can all make our best work.

The best practice shared in our guidelines published today encourage directors to consider their responsibilities when making sensitive work, particularly as they return to work under the health and safety guidelines imposed by COVID-19. With the director at the beating heart of the production, the guidelines equip the director to consider every eventuality before telling intimate stories safely.  
 
Intimacy in the Time of COVID-19 is available to download from the Directors UK website. 
 
More information can be found at directors.uk.com/campaigns/directing-nudity-and-simulated-sex. 

    About Directors UK 
    Directors UK is the professional association of UK screen directors. It is a membership organisation representing the creative, economic and contractual interests of over 7,500 members – the majority of working TV and film directors in the UK. Directors UK collects and distributes royalty payments and provides a range of services to members including campaigning, commercial negotiations, legal advice, events, training and career development. Directors UK works closely with fellow organisations around the world to represent directors’ rights and concerns, promotes excellence in the craft of direction and champions change to the current landscape to create an equal opportunity industry for all. 

    About Directors UK’s Directing Nudity and Simulated Sex guidelines
    Directors UK published the Directing Nudity and Simulated Sex guidelines in November 2019. The Directing Nudity and Simulated Sex guidance provides best practice for directors working with producers, writers, performers, casting directors, wardrobe and makeup, agents and intimacy coordinators. It covers rehearsal techniques, directing scenes of sexual violence, planning shots so they adhere to individual contract clauses, and finding creative solutions to challenges that occur on set. The guidelines were produced in consultation with Directors UK member directors, industry bodies and with professionals from across the disciplines to ensure standardised best practice throughout the industry. The guidance is supported by BAFTA, BFI, the Casting Directors' Guild, Equity and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain as well as industry advocacy groups ERA 5050 and TIME’S UP UK. The Directing Nudity & Simulated Sex guidelines are available for download on the Directors UK website. 

Download the press release (PDF)
Author

Charlie Coombes

Communications Officer

ccoombes@directors.uk.com

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