Intimacy Coordinator Training

The National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), the Independent Producers Organisation (IPO) and Netflix jointly announced a collaboration to introduce training for Intimacy Coordinators in South Africa. The role of an Intimacy Coordinator (IC) – which has become important to productions around the world – is to keep actors safe on set during scenes involving nudity, simulated sex, and other types of intimacy work while also helping to realise the director’s and screenwriter’s creative vision. To date, those wanting to pursue this emerging specialist field as a career have had to travel to other countries and enrol in costly training programmes, resulting in South Africa having only three qualified practitioners in the field of Intimacy Coordination.

Through this internationally recognised training programme – South Africa’s film & TV community will have more professionals qualified in the field. The NFVF and Netflix will jointly fund the training programme being provided by a leading specialist Intimacy Coordinator (IC) company, Safe Sets, while the IPO -which represents some 70% of the country’s film, TV and digital content producers – will oversee the programme and will assist in placing IC’s on sets across the country.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS

Applications to be selected as a trainee are now open. Prospective trainees will be required to meet the criteria stipulated on the Safe Sets website (https://training-proposal.webnode.page/application-criteria2/).

Please apply by completing the application and providing a letter of motivation here: https://forms.gle/fnbBLvotNr8Wiqm4A

Applications close at 23:59 on 30 August 2022. No late applications will be accepted. Shortlisted applicants can expect a response by 10 September and should be available for interviews from 12-14 September. Should you not receive a response within one month, please accept that your application has been unsuccessful.

The organisations will be selecting 5 candidates from Africa and one from the Middle East, with priority being given to previously disadvantaged individuals who are preferably multilingual in indigenous languages, to ensure effective communication between the IC and performer in sensitive situations. Candidates will go through tutor-lead online training over 8 weeks, followed by 6 days rigorous in person training, plus additional courses giving qualifications in skills such as Mental Health First Aid and Sexual Harassment Awareness. 

The in-person course will be held either in Cape Town or Johannesburg, depending on where the majority of candidates are based. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered, and participation for those selected to receive the training is free.

Training is scheduled to commence from the week of 19 September. Once training is complete, trainees will be placed on professional production sets – on Netflix productions, NFVF-funded productions or IPO members’ productions. Under mentorship, they will complete a 30-day on set, after which they will officially graduate from the programme as fully certified IC practitioners.

While the industry has long had the practice of ‘closed sets’, (meaning only essential cast and crew may be on set during the filming of intimate scenes), after 14 months of industry collaboration, the IPO together with Sisters Working in Film & TV (SWIFT) last year introduced Intimacy Protocols to the industry, to provide detailed guidelines for producers, cast and crew when filming such scenes. Intimacy Coordinators on set ensure that best practice is carried out at all stages of production in line with the protocols, and maintain workspaces that respect the actors’ boundaries while serving the artistic vision

Says Allison Triegaardt, Netflix Manager for Grow Creative: “At Netflix, we’re committed to creating a respectful environment for cast and staff who work on our productions. That’s why we believe the role of an Intimacy Coordinator to be a vital one – and have included them in many of our shows including  Sex/Life and Bridgerton where intimate scenes are important for the show’s narrative. Training more ICs for Africa’s film & TV industry will go a long way towards reinforcing a respectful environment for our storytellers so they can continue to deliver their best work for our members around the world.”

Makhosazana Khanyile, CEO of the NFVF, adds:“In order to create a sustainable creative media industry, as the NFVF we recognize how crucial it is to ensure that we have an empowered workforce that is encouraged to perform adequately in any given environment. In recent years, we’ve borne witness to global movements that have caused the industry to pay attention to the way in which the vulnerable nature of intimate scenes has been neglected. On the South African front, it gives us great pleasure to address this issue practically and its greater GBVF implications through crucial training on intimacy scenes where sometimes the lines are blurred as to what is acceptable and what not only borders on but is indeed sexual misconduct and harassment.”

“And, as the IPO,” says a delighted Thandi Davids, co-Chair of the IPO, “we couldn’t be happier to be part of launching this programme in Women’s Month! Not only will this contribute to safe working environments for women in this industry, it will also increase the number of Black freelancers working at Head of Department level in the industry.”

“Recognition of the benefit the role the Intimacy Coordinator brings to sets is global.  For potential intimacy practitioners in South Africa, lack of access to affordable training has kept people from being able to enter this emerging field,” concludes Kate Lush co-director of Safe Sets.  “To be able to train intimacy coordinators in South Africa, for free, is everything Safe Sets has hoped for, and more!  We are so excited for this collaboration, to be able to facilitate this training and mentorship program and double the number of practicing Intimacy Coordinators across South Africa.

For more information on the programme, please visit IC Training Website.

For more information, please contact:

IPO:                 Trish Downing, Executive Director    trish@ipo,org.za

Safe Sets:       Kate Lush, co-Director       safesetsdrive@gmail.com