German Association Calls for Nationwide Drama Production Ban Amid Coronavirus

Babylon Berlin
Courtesy of Beta Film

Small- and big-screen producers worry about health and financial risks if the government doesn't introduce a blanket ban on drama productions across the country.

Germany's national producers association and one of the country's largest regional bodies have called for a country-wide ban on drama production during the new coronavirus pandemic.

The German Producers Association and the Film und Medienverband NRW, a statewide group, say Germany's federal and regional governments should issue legally binding orders forbidding any form of fictional film or television production until the current crisis is over.

The groups say official bans are needed to ensure the health and safety of employees in the industry as well as to protect companies from the financial fallout of the current shutdown. Without an official government ban, production companies may not be able to claim insurance covering a production shutdown or apply for government support.

Germany is currently under lockdown orders, with public gatherings of more than two people banned and the majority of nonessential businesses shuttered. The vast majority of TV and film drama production has been put on ice. Nonfiction production, including news but also entertainment programming, has continued though with reduced staff and without live studio audiences.

The producers groups are demanding immediate, nationwide regulations, allowing them to stop all current fiction production and to postpone upcoming filming. They said it was negligent of the federal and regional governments to shut down cultural institutions across the country but leave the decision on whether to halt the shooting of drama series or films up to individual production companies. 

The political situation in Germany is complicated by the country's federal structure where national, state and municipal authorities share responsibility and legal regulations can vary from state to state.