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Hollywood production springs back to life with new COVID-19 measures on set

One of the first productions, “7th & Union”, began filming after being approved to proceed by acting union, SAG AFTRA. The filmmakers claim the production is one of only two to get the green light.

“We’re one of the first to go filming here in Los Angeles and it’s been kind of a trial and error,” said the film’s producer Christopher Acebo, adding “SAG AFTRA has been wonderful to work in terms of the process but we’ve had to set up various guidelines and safety based on the guidelines that came out, maybe, two or three weeks ago from the state of California.”

“It’s been a learning process, obviously. We have a situation where we are making a movie and also having to wear masks, also having to stay six feet away from each other, as well as adhere to a variety of safety protocols and temperature checks in the morning and also everybody on set getting tested for COVID,” Acebo said.

The filmmakers deliberately drew up their production schedule to leave extra time for anything unexpected and also kept scenes as simple as possible.

Acebo said “Part of what we are doing right now is we are doing a lot of the smaller scenes, the scenes that require the least amount of cast members at first and then we’re in open space and open locations so that’s also been really, really helpful in terms of the shape of the film and how we’re able to keep safety and how that shape of the film is working.”

The safety protocols aren’t the only thing that have changed on set; the new power hierarchy means safety monitors who patrol the set have final say in ensuring everybody is working to the guidelines.

“Right now our safety monitors have the power to stop our filming. If someone doesn’t feel safe, if someone doesn’t feel that someone else is complying with the rules that have been set up, they can speak with the EMT or the COVID manager and we have to stop and deal with that issue as it comes up, so they kind of do have ultimate authority on the space that we’re occupying right now,” Acebo said.

“7th & Union”, which is an immigrant story about an unlikely friendship, is aiming to wrap production within the next fortnight with the film completed by October.

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