As the boundaries are pushed, the need for clear guidelines is growing. With nearly twenty years of experience on set I provide protocol, integrity and encouragement for actors and crew working with intimate content.
INTIMACY COORDINATOR (IC) in film, TV & theatre choreographs, coaches and advocates for the safety of actors in scenes that contain intimacy, nudity, simulated sex and sexually charged (consensual or non-consensual) touching. The work can be compared to a stunt coordinator who deals with fight scenes; but here an IC choreographs scenes of intimate or sexual nature. Intimacy coordinator provides the actors as well as the crew, a safe working environment when working with intimate content.
INTIMACY can be any moment of contact by a Performer or between Performers appearing nude or semi-nude, during a scene or the context may be sexual (such as kissing, simulated sex, masturbation etc.), sexual violence (such as rape, sexual assault, BDSM etc.) or sensual and non-sexual (such as touch from a parent to a child or a carer to a patient etc).
CONSENT can only be freely given if the Performer has full knowledge of the action required beforehand. Any form of coercion negates the Performer’s consent. “Yes” means nothing if “No” is not an option. The individual has a right to their body and therefore consent is reversible. At the end of the day everyone should feel proud of the work created together. Consent should extend to all production crew including those working on post-production.
The work begins with breaking down the script, checking boundaries & nudity clause. This is followed by discussions with the producer & director and collaboration with Head of Departments. Together with actors and directors we create a physical structure for the scene which supports the storytelling. The aim is to provide safe, quick and fun way to create intimate scenes without crossing personal boundaries.
I regularly hold presentations and workshops in the industry and am currently in consultation with various projects in pre-production. This is a new area of work in film & TV and I’m happy to discuss things further over the phone or in person if you should be interested. Please visit also the website of the company I co-founded in order to raise awareness for best practice, Nordic Intimacy Coordinators (NIC).
The Finnish Film Foundation has published Intimacy guidelines for audiovisual productions in October 2020. I’m excited to have been consulted on these Guidelines-for-intimate-scenes.
RECENTLY IN MEDIA:
Finland’s largest cinema magazine Episodi featured intimacy coordination (5/21) and wrote a fantastic article here on the safety requirements and the creative input of the IC’s. In this article in the theatre industry magazine Teatteri&Tanssi+Sirkus, I was discussing the need for intimacy education across the performance arts. I was recently interviewed about my work at Finnish national broadcasting company YLE here and at Hufvudstadsbladet here, at Svenska Yle here as well as in the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat on the New Role in Film & TV: and in the current affairs magazine Suomen Kuvalehti: Finland’s first Intimacy Coordinator; in the arts & culture trade union paper Meteli: On Intimacy Coordinating: on Post MeToo in actor training on a UCA blog and on the Role of the intimacy coordinator in a Finnish newspaper Savon Sanomat.
My interview on illusions of intimacy with Katja Ståhl at Radio Nostalgia, now available here as a podcast.
Conversations about Intimacy Episode 6 on Intimacy Coordination (Intiimikeskusteluja) in conversation with Saara Kotkaniemi.
Visiting at the Helsinki International Film Festival Love & Anarchy and Yle/ Puoli Seitsemän in September 2020, watch this.
Listen here at Yle Vega where I’m visiting in July 2020 and talking about intimacy coordinating with Melissa Haga:
Visiting at Yle/ 8-minuuttia in July 2020 and talking about safety on set with Lauri Miikkulainen, watch this.
INTIMACY GUIDELINES WORLDWIDE:
AUSTRALIA: Here are Intimacy Guidelines for Stage and Screen by Equity Australia.
CANADA: Here is the Best Practices Guide by ACTRA Toronto.
FINLAND: Here are Guidelines for Intimate Scenes in Camera Work by The Finnish Film Foundation.
NEW ZEALAND: Here are Intimacy Guidelines for Stage and Screen by Equity New Zealand.
SOUTH AFRICA: Here are Protocols for Intimate Content in TV, Film and Associated Media by IPSA et. al.
UNITED KINGDOM: Here you can find a Guide for Working with Intimacy by Directors UK.
USA: Here are Standards and Protocols and resources for intimacy set out by SAG-AFTRA.
Here you can find Advice for performers by Intimacy for Stage and Screen (UK) and Intimacy on Set guidelines. Here’s a video with a UK intimacy practitioner Ita O’Brien demonstrating how an intimacy coordinator works with actors on set.
Article in HowlRound 01/2020 on The art and craft of the intimacy practitioner. Article in The Guardian 10/2019 on Intimacy Coordinator’s role: Safe sex on set; the Rise of the intimacy coaches. Article on Intimacy Coordination in VanityFair 08/2019: Intimacy Coordinators are changing the sex scenes for good.
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