The Production Guild of Great Britain (PGGB) has announced the winners of the 2020 PGGB Innovation Awards, in association with Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden.

Commended productions include ‘First Day: On Set’, ‘Jurassic World: Dominion’, ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘The Pursuit of Love’

The Awards celebrate the achievements of PGGB members working in film and High End TV who have shown “exceptional resilience and resourcefulness in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020.”

Four Awards were presented in tonight’s online ceremony which is now available for members and non-members to watch on the PGGB YouTube channel.

 

Producer and ScreenSkills Head of Film & Animation Gareth Ellis-Unwin, Line Producer Georgette Turner and Production Coordinator Marco Calabrese win the PGGB Innovation Award for a Production Team, sponsored by Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, for First Day: On Set. Made with a stereoscopic 360 camera, ScreenSkills’ First Day: On Set is an innovative VR film that showcases the variety of roles available on a film and TV set, designed to be experienced on Oculus Rift/Go VR headsets and free to watch on YouTube. Since launching on YouTube in June, it has had over 25,000 views. The film was supported by the BFI with National Lottery funds and made with assistance from EON Productions and Pinewood Studios who provided stage space and MBS Lighting and MovieTech who donated equipment.

 

Jury Chair, Producer and PGGB Chair Alex Boden said: “First Day: On Set uses technology in a compelling way to unravel the mystery of production. It’s a truly engaging and accessible film that explains what each department does. Available free to anyone, anywhere in the UK, who is interested in entering the industry, it will help ensure that much-needed new entrants from all backgrounds continue to choose to work in Film and High End TV.”

 

A special mention in the PGGB Innovation Award for Production Team category is also made for season two of War of the Worlds (Urban Myth for Canal+ and Fox TV). The first High-End TV production to resume in the UK after lockdown, War of the Worlds restarted filming on 13th July in a Newport studio and on location in South Wales and Bristol. The production team had spent 12 weeks putting plans in place, with changes on set including temperature checks, PPE, regular Covid testing, distancing between departments and partitions between make-up and costume areas that were previously communal spaces. The eight-part second series, which wrapped in October, is expected to air in Spring 2021.

 

Andy Hudson, Film Laboratory Manager at Cinelab London, receives the PGGB Innovation Award for an Individual, sponsored by Netflix. Known as a ‘Film Superhero’ by his team, Andy ensured the Laboratory could stay open despite almost all of its 28 employees having to work from home when lockdown hit. Drawing on his 25 years’ experience in the film industry, Andy took on all of the physical film lab and scanning work that could not be done remotely, continuing to deliver a high quality service which led to the company receiving hundreds of additional projects from clients around the world. Andy implemented new working guidelines, whilst rostering work and also keeping staff updated and personally checking in on vulnerable team members at home.

 

John McVay OBE, Chief Executive of Pact, and Hakan Kousetta, Pact Council Member and COO Television of See-Saw Films, receive the PGGB Innovation Special Recognition Award, sponsored by MBSi for their extensive work with Government to put into place the £500m Film and TV Production Restart Scheme. From early stages of lockdown, the pair made a compelling case to the Chancellor that in addition to comprehensive Covid-safety guidelines, Treasury intervention was also needed, to cover Covid-related insurance costs if domestic productions were going to be enabled to restart. McVay went on to Chair the industry working group on insurance for the BFI’s Screen Sector Task Force which worked with Government to inform and shape the scheme. It’s expected that the scheme, which opened on 16th October, will support more than 40,000 jobs by ensuring planned productions can proceed after a period of disruption due to the pandemic.

 

Jury Chair, Co-Producer and Financial Controller Andrew Noakes said: “Hakan and John at Pact absolutely stepped up to the mark and have done an incredible job in achieving the Production Restart Scheme with a £500m insurance fund, underwritten by the Government. This is a vital part of the UK film and TV industry’s recovery, it’s providing the safety net domestic productions need to get back up and running whilst also helping future productions to plan how to proceed amidst this pandemic.”

 

The Jurassic World: Dominion UK production team wins the PGGB Innovation Award for Special Contribution to the Industry. The first major studio feature to get back underway in the UK after government gave the greenlight to restart production, Jurassic World: Dominion’s crew included 27 PGGB members* including Alexandra Derbyshire (Executive Producer), Tim Wellspring (Unit Production Manager), Simon Mills (Production Supervisor), Tom Ormerod (Production Coordinator), Matt Jones (Unit Production Manager – Malta), Tom Asquith (Covid Manager), Camilla Stephenson (Supervising Location Manager) and Jon Duncan (Financial Controller).

 

After production halted on 14th March, the team researched and devised a host of complex safety protocols, ranging from temperature testing, Covid-testing and PPE, to sanitation, fogging and perspex screen use. Consulting with studios, unions, Guilds and industry bodies including the British Film Commission, they produced a 119-page document outlining how to proceed safely during the pandemic which was approved by Universal. By early June, the production team were back at Pinewood Studios, and less than a month later on 6th July, filming recommenced with a 1,000-strong workforce including cast, crew, construction and craft departments. A second unit also overcame restrictions to travel to Malta. The blockbuster wrapped filming on 7th November after a multinational shoot which required a total of 40,000 Covid tests and cast bubbling together for four months.

 

Samantha Perahia MBE, Head of Production UK, British Film Commission says: “The Jurassic World: Dominion team were genuine trailblazers. The worldwide production community was watching as theoretical COVID-19 protocols were put into action. Their real-time experiences were invaluable in helping inform and refine industry Covid-Safety guidance. Their work paved the way for other major features and the team fully deserves this special recognition.”

 

A special mention in the PGGB Innovation Special Contribution to the Industry category is also made for The Pursuit of Love (Open Book and Moonage Pictures for BBC One and Amazon Studios). The Pursuit of Love production team overcame a raft of challenges to become one of the first High-End TV projects to resume production in the UK after lockdown, including deciphering early sanitary protocols, coordinating location shifts and holding on to in-demand talent. Filming for the three-part mini-series successfully restarted in July on location in the Bristol and Bath area and at The Bottle Yard Studios, before wrapping in October.

 

The Awards’ In Memoriam section remembered the life of Producer and long-standing PGGB member Willy Wands. PGGB Chair Alex Boden said: “Willie was a proud champion of the Scottish film and television industry and a highly valued member of the Production Guild of Great Britain throughout his career. As 1st AD, UPM and Producer, he worked with some of the greatest directors in the world including Mike Figgis, Shekhar Kapur, Guy Ritchie and Terence Davies, always finding time to guide and mentor trainees and junior crew members. There are many in the industry today who owe their careers to Willy. He is sorely missed.”

 

Professor Lyndsay Duthie, CEO of PGGB says: “There’s no disputing that 2020 has been the toughest year in UK production history. Tonight’s awards have given us the welcome opportunity to celebrate some of the positive and inspiring achievements of our members. Congratulations to all our winners, whose outstanding resourcefulness has helped keep UK film and High-End TV moving throughout the pandemic.”

 

photo credit: John Wilson/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Jon Creamer