Coronavirus impacts film, television production in Virginia

Television Shoot Virginia
Posted at 1:38 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 17:09:47-04

VIRGINIA - Virginia's rich scenery and history offers the perfect palette for storytellers and filmmakers. "The Walking Dead," "Mission Impossible," "Lincoln" and "Harriet" are just some of the many productions created in the Commonwealth.

"We have everything from the beach to the mountains, history, contemporary and everything in between," said Andy Edmunds, Director of the Virginia Film Office.

Edmunds says the industry pumps more than $800 million into Virginia's economy annually and employs more than 4,000 people. But the industry has come to a halt, and productions taking place in the state are forced to pause for the pandemic.

"There were several underway -- 'Walking Dead: World Beyond' and an Apple production," said Edmunds.

Workers who pump thousands of dollars into local economies are now forced off stages and sets.

"They touch parts of the economy, everything from buying paper clips to renting helicopters," Edmunds explained. "They really are like super-tourists."

Edmunds says these actors, writers, directors and producers are eager to get back to the action. "The demand for content is growing globally," he said. "This is a space we can really excel in because of that demand. In times of isolation and in times of crisis, people seek TV and film out to escape."

He believes the mechanics of filming will be safe once they get the green light.

"It is a very close-quarters, collaborative process," Edmunds said. "Buffet lines will go away, departments [will be separated] to keep everyone safe. People in this industry are adaptive -- it's like disaster management, so they are equipped to handle this."

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