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Lights, Camera, Cut? How the Pandemic is Affecting the Film Industry

When we woke up to the announcement of the Bafta TV nominations, it was almost as if, just for a moment, the last few months hadn’t changed life completely. The reality is, of course, that the film and TV worlds have effectively stopped turning – owing to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The production of major films and TV shows have been halted, and premieres pushed back by 6 months or more, reportedly costing the Box Office billions, as cinemas have been forced to close their doors. In Ireland, film production is due to restart at the end of the month, however, as in many other countries, the future is still unclear. To that end – Screen Ireland has announced support measures reportedly totalling €4.5m to keep the Irish film and TV industry afloat amid the fallout from the pandemic. 

Some of the films which have had their release dates postponed include Wes Anderson’s newest film ‘The French Dispatch’ which stars Irish actor Saoirse Ronan, the sequel to thriller ‘A Quiet Place’, and the latest James Bond instalment, ‘No Time to Die’. Ridley Scott’s latest picture ‘The Last Duel’, which was being filmed around Dublin, is just one of the many films which has had its production halted due to quarantine measures.

Many of the most anticipated TV shows of the year have similarly been delayed owing to the difficulties regarding travel, gatherings and social distancing. The third season of HBO’s popular comedy-drama ‘Succession’ has been delayed in the early stages of production. BBC’s ‘Line of Duty’ and ‘Peaky Blinders’ have been postponed indefinitely with no news on possible future release dates. Many Netflix productions such as ‘The Crown’ and ‘Stranger Things’ have suffered a similar fate.

However, the recent announcement of Bafta TV Award nominations feels like a glimpse of light at the end of the dark tunnel which has enveloped the industry. The awards are now due to take place on 31st July with a virtual ceremony, in one of the first industry events to take place since the pandemic took over the world. ‘Chernobyl’ and ‘The Crown’ have received the greatest number of nods with 14 and 7 respectively. Once again, ‘Fleabag’ has dominated, which starred Dublin-native Andrew Scott, with its 6 nominations. Lisa Magee’s Northern Irish sitcom ‘Derry Girls’ has been nominated for Scripted Comedy, alongside Irish actress, writer and producer Sharon Horgan’s ‘Catastrophe’. Finally, Trinity College graduate Aisling Bea has been nominated for the Breakthrough Talent Award for her acclaimed sitcom ‘This Way Up’. 

Despite the film and TV industry feeling the very real and damaging effects of the pandemic around the world, it does appear that we are edging back to some kind of ‘new’ normality.

 

Gemma Farrell – Reporter

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