Low budget and independent movies have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic crisis, it’s been revealed.

Jean Prewitt, CEO and President of the Independent Film and Television Alliance in the US, has spoken out at a roundtable meeting to discuss the possibility of pandemic risk insurance. This would allow smaller scale film productions in America that don’t have deep enough pockets to endure potential shutdowns the means to continue producing their projects.

Without such a guarantee of risk-avoidance, Prewitt revealed just how many projects have have to shut down, decimating the independent and low-budget sector of the American film industry.

Over 400 projects have been forced to discontinue production, and the residual effect will of course impact cinemas for some time to come too. With blockbuster titles being repeatedly delayed so studios can maximise the returns on their hugely expensive outlays, cinemas are already starved of films. With the normally thriving US indie sector largely shut down too, it’s another bitter body blow to the already-rocky fortunes of cinemas everywhere.

Prewitt also remarked that high-budget projects were also operating under a sizeable degree of risk, citing The Batman, currently filming in the UK as a project now entering a second phase of shutdown, without pandemic risk insurance to protect it.

Noting just how difficult (and expensive) it is to purchase insurance covering government shutdowns and insuring against stars getting Covid-19 (as in the case of Robert Pattinson on The Batman), Prewitt said that it was all but impossible for lower-scale productions to do so. Only the very smallest productions that are so tiny they can afford to self-insure, or those that began production before March, are currently in production.

Whether the roundtable meeting (that also involved lots of other spokespeople from lots of other industries) will be able to advance the availability of pandemic risk insurance in America remains to be seen, but until it does, the US independent filmmaking sector looks like it’s in for a difficult period ahead.

You can read the full story at Deadline.

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