While studios and streaming platforms were shopping at the Sundance Film Festival last week, SAG-AFTRA announced new plans to protect the on-set safety and dignity of its members. The union’s new “Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators,” as it is now called, provides a framework for the use intimacy coordinators throughout the entertainment industry. These professionals help performers and productions navigate highly sensitive scenes that feature nudity and simulated sex, and they will be there to guide these clients and partners throughout the entire production process.
In a statement, the union added, “SAG-AFTRA believes that implementation of these standards and protocols will allow productions to run more efficiently, provide a safety net for performers and establish specialized support that empowers both cast and crew.”
The new standards and protocols were developed in collaboration with SAG-AFTRA member leaders and a community of experienced intimacy coordinators, including representatives from Intimacy Directors International and Intimacy Professionals Association.
“It has been powerful to collaborate with our industry partners as we work to standardize the protocols for industry coordinators. These protocols and guidelines will help to normalize and encourage the use of intimacy coordinators in productions therefore ensuring the safety and security of SAG-AFTRA members while they work. Intimacy coordinators play a unique role by advocating for performers’ safety and ensuring that a production’s creative needs are met,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.
“These guidelines directly address the problem of sexual harassment on sets,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White.
“This is a homerun for our members and the entire industry. Having Intimacy Coordinators on sets where simulated sex and other forms of intimacy are present, better protect SAG-AFTRA members and all other professionals involved in such scenes.
“These Standards and Protocols reflect input from the full community of Intimacy Coordinators working in the industry today. We are grateful for their input and for the feedback received already by industry allies and partners who have also worked with us, and who have expressed an eagerness for clarity around this important role. There is more work to be done by all of us in the industry, including standardized training and expanding the number of experienced professionals to serve in this role. These Standards and Protocols lay a solid foundation for this growth and for the continued, seismic change needed to eliminate the scourge of sexual harassment in our industry.”
“It is our hope that this process can be widely adopted for an effective and reasonable path for productions to work with a trained intimacy coordinator. With these protocols already field-tested by an ever-growing number of productions and studios, we believe we can make important and welcome industry changes,” said Alicia Rodis, Associate Director and Co-Founder, Intimacy Directors International.
“I’m excited about the release of SAG-AFTRA’s guidelines for intimacy coordination because I think it signals to the industry just how important it is to do what we can to make sets safer and to protect performers. Additionally, I think that these guidelines strike the right balance between describing the roles and responsibilities of intimacy coordinators while still allowing for flexibility from show-to-show so that the process can be customized to work with each unique production,” said Amanda Blumenthal, founder of Intimacy Professionals Association.
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