As New York makes progress on its laborious reopening plan, the city’s entertainment chief expects to see content production return in a significant way by September.
Anne del Castillo, commissioner of the powerful mayor’s office of media and entertainment, said he was hopeful TV productions would return to soundstage and studio facilities by September. A few major projects with small crews – 10 in one case and the other under 25 – have given lenses to the city in recent weeks, but they were a rare exception.
“We are looking forward to a stronger return in September,” Del Castillo told Variety. Veteran indie film and nonprofit executive waxed up in April 2019. After the coronavirus lockdown hit in March, he was in regular contact with networks, studios and producers to make sure the camera was ready to roll as soon as it all came clear.
Del Castillo said, “It’s very difficult to see these industries that are really so defined for New York City that it’s just (fighting) to find a way forward,” Del Castillo said. “We are trying to help them move forward in the face of all the limitations caused by the health crisis and the economic crisis.”
The focus has been on developing its own guidelines on how the largest distance entity will work in terms of social distances sets and locations. After industry teams on both coasts last month created white paper to keep the COVID-19 safety protocol, producers and others are working with the guilds on fine plans for everything from temperature screening to individually wrapped parts at craft service tables.
“Everyone was waiting for instructions,” he said. “Now we’re really talking about how and when and where we want to come back to TV series and film (producers). We’ll see some activities start soon but most of it will actually be back in September.
Filming locations on the streets of New York will probably be farther away – in part because many restaurants are taking up space for outdoor dining on the streets and sidewalks, he said.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the city had 35 active non-news TV series filming. It will be slow to get back to this level. “I don’t think we’re going to roll up 35 of them together – it’s going to be challenging enough,” Del Castillo said.
The city will monitor the situation as producers start backing up to make sure safety protocols are being followed. Not to mention the film and TV productions alone account for about 60 60 billion a year in economic activity, tax revenue and about 100,000 jobs for this city. There must be a hole in the coffers of the city to lose it for four months.
Del Castillo said, “We’re trying to make sure things are moving forward and they’re safe,” “Once it’s started, it’s important that it really continues.” We don’t want to see any further shutdowns. “
Even in the current situation, New York City will be able to see TV productions better than Los Angeles. Del Castillo is his boss, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Governor. Andrew Cuomo was credited with leading the way that helped New York understand the importance of social distance systems.
“I think people really took segregation seriously,” he said. Both hammered the needs of the masked man. And the slow pace of reopening, as difficult as it was for many, has helped save it from a terrible second wave of deadly cases.
“New Yorkers are truly committed and determined to make a strong recovery,” he said. “I think we are a model of how we can communicate with other people to reopen.”
(Image: Wax Commissioner Ann del Castillo)