Intimacy coordination is the management of scenes of an intimate nature during pre-production, shooting and post-production in film, and for casting, rehearsals and performance in theatre.
Similar to the role of stunt coordinators, intimacy coordinators are specialised professionals who elevate the director's vision by collaborating on the creative vision and choreography of scenes while facilitating safety on set, protection to cast and crew and helping to achieve a more authentic and inclusive portrayal of sexuality.
Intimacy coordinators provide a head of department role and are hired by productions to help plan and film scenes with intimate content, working closely across various departments- including facilitating conversations between producers, directors, actors and wardrobe.
The role of Intimacy Coordinator requires a strong and nuanced understanding of all positions on set and how those departments interact with intimate content.
Intimacy coordinators' come from varying backgrounds, however, as a head of department they must have established experience on a film set, knowledge of acting processes, awareness of directing needs and how to apply physical body and movement work.
Intimacy coordination demands a strong sense of empathy, sensitivity and excellent communication skills.
They should also be trained, but not limited to, certification in the following fields:
Mental health first aid
Bullying and harassment
Equality, diversity and conflict resolution
Working with minors
Some of the organisations currently training and certifying intimacy coordinators are: Safe Sets (South Africa), Intimacy On Set (UK). Intimacy Directors and Coordinators (USA), Intimacy Professionals Association (USA), Intimacy for Stage and Screen (UK) and Theatrical Intimacy Education (USA).
The entire IntimAct team holds the above qualifications certified by Safe Sets.
Up until now, the responsibility for intimate scenes and managing nudity has been left largely to the directors and actors, often lacking the space and time to discuss, rehearse and shoot these scenes. On the other hand, when it comes to action and stunt scenes, accredited professionals are always on hand to choreograph the scenes, ensuring the protection of the actors, the crew and the coherence of the story. As a result of this comparison and a demand for better working practices, several professionals in the U.S.A and U.K began to devise working methodologies to manage intimate content using fight choreography as a springboard for intimate choreography, resulting in the recent position of the intimacy coordinator.
The advent of #metoo highlighted the need to have these professionals on film sets to prevent unwanted situations and give space for the artists' consent and agreement. Moreover, the social and cultural changes of recent years have called for the need to reflect a diverse and inclusive sexuality in our stories.
In recent years this new figure has been more than consolidated thanks to professionals such as Ita O'Brien and her acclaimed work in well-known series such as "Sex Education", "I May Destroy You" or "Normal People", Amanda Blumenthal in "Euphoria" and Alicia Rodis in the recent "Secrets of a Marriage".
Are minors involved in intimate scenes of any kind in the script? Are there scenes in the script that require nudity and/or simulated sex of any kind? Do these scenes contain a high degree of physical sexuality or touch, and do the scenes include simulated genital contact, either over or under clothes?
When it comes to scenes with intimate content, it is highly recommended to have an intimacy coordinator present during filming, both for the peace of mind and comfort of the production, as well as for the safety and confidence of the actors in the process.
There may be other situations where this need is less apparent, but it is also recommended, for example if the scenes have a low level of intimacy, involve minors or very young actors, or if non-professional actors are used as part of performing the scene. If you have any questions, please contact us. If you would like to use our services for your production but your project doesn't have enough budget, get in touch and we'll see how we can help you.
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