Gov. Newsom meets with TV, film industry leaders about COVID-19 plan

California Connection

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Business leaders in the TV and film industry met with Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday to discuss how production companies are navigating the coronavirus pandemic.

Newsom virtually met with film and TV leaders like Hollywood director Ava Duvernay and Netflix executive Ted Sarandos.

Sarandos said Netflix has productions underway in South Korea and Iceland and those countries are paving the way for the future of production protocols.

“In places like Sweden, we’re not doing testing but they are doing voluntary quarantine in the weeks leading up to and throughout the production,” said Sarandos. “In Korea, anyone with a symptom is immediately tested and production is shut down until you get the results.”

Actor Jon Huertas said this is a frustrating time for American middle-class actors.

“The middle-class actors have side hustles, that other job that they have,” explained Huertas. “And a lot of them are in the restaurant industry, so they’ve lost jobs on two fronts. So, of course, people want to get back to work now because we have to work in order to sustain ourselves.”

Union leader Danny Stephens raised concerns about the necessary but high cost of making productions safer amid the pandemic. He suggested California consider more incentives to keep productions in the state.

“Someone needs to pay for all of this,” said Stephens. “And so, there’s a very fine line in the middle of all this of having as safe protocols as possible to keep everybody as safe as possible but also keep it in the constructs of financially feasible.”

Duvernay asked Newsom the question lingering for so many industries.

“But I think the question I’m hearing from a lot of crew members and just all of us that work is when are we going to be able to shoot?” asked Duvernay.

Newsom said Monday he’ll release more guidelines for some counties meeting requirements for further reopening, including TV and film production, but said Hollywood’s county is likely not included for now.

“The challenge is LA proper, the county. They’re seeing some good signs but it remains a challenging part of the state for us still,” said Newsom. “We are concerned they will be a few weeks behind everybody else.”

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