Covid-19 – Turn Off Cameras, Lights, Filmmakers Urged

Renowned filmmakers, including actors, directors and producers have urged their peers to adhere to Covid-19 regulations and restrictions and help curb the spread of the virus.

The call comes after some filmmakers saw the gap created by lockdown as an opportunity to resume shooting.

According to the Government, gatherings have been banned and hosting an event is prohibited. The ban also applies to a group of people filming at a location.

Some filmmakers have added their voice in support of the restrictions although the arts sector is currently facing what has been described by many as multi-faceted challenges, including limited opportunities for actors, producers, directors and content creators due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In interviews, film makers they said while everyone tried to remain positive and keep on hoping for the better, it was difficult to ignore the situation on the ground and urged people to stick to the health protocols.

Canadian-based Zimbabwean Nico Abote who is the executive director for Play Africa TV, said the Covid-19 is real and it neither chooses a special person or group, nor exempts an artiste or a film maker.

“We have to make sure we respect the call made by the regulators on how to go about our daily routines while trying to lower the curve.

“For those in my sector, it’s a tough period as we need to keep telling stories, but I would urge colleagues to protect themselves, respect the set etiquette on distancing, being in your zones, and wearing your PPE as and when necessary,” he said.

Abote said filmmakers should use the lockdown period to fine-tune their scripts, while waiting for the right time to shoot.

“As many are now stuck at home, maybe it’s the best time to write that story, develop the script, connect with fellow artistes over the virtual world.

“Be more ‘cyber’ ready and innovative. If anything, 2020 opened up new ideas of doing TV/film productions. Some Hollywood productions had to end their seasons with animated versions of the original, Trevor Noah’s ‘The Daily Show’ has had its production done from his apartment to keep it going safely,” he said.

Former “Wenera” series actress Fatima Makunganya said she has halted all the projects she was working on and is safe at home.

“I didn’t want to risk my life and my family. I had been shooting and working on several productions, and unfortunately this global pandemic is real.

“I have lost many friends and I am scared to go on social media because each time you go on various platforms, you read sad news.

“This lockdown I am safe at home with my family and I urge other actors to follow suit and observe the rules and regulations. It is better to be safer than sorry,” she said.

“Cook Off” film producer Joe Njagu said creatives should forget everything else and just concentrate on surviving.

“I know filmmakers especially get tempted to want to go and shoot stuff, but if you are not careful, it will be your funeral that will be shot.

“Stay home, sanitize and do extras like having taking ginger and lemon tea, steaming just to be safe.”

“It’s really scary. We are living in a pandemic, it’s all new to our generation too, so better be safe than sorry. It used to be just numbers when it started, but now it has names we know, so let us all be safe,” he said.

Film director and writer Eddie Ndlovu added his voice, saying that it is wiser to stay safe at home.

“This Covid-19 demon is real and if it has never got to you or someone closer to you, then you can never know how serious this is.

“If you are filming something that is part of essential services, please make sure you mask up all the time, practice social distancing and don’t trust anyone because you never know who is a carrier since most people are testing positive but without showing any symptoms,” he said.

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