The School of Film & Photography is dedicated to keeping the students, staff, and faculty safe during this unprecedented time.  Because the art & creativity of filmmaking and photography depend so heavily upon in-person production, the SFP has worked with Montana State University to create a set of guidelines for every student production. These guidelines (outlined below) come from the standard set by the professional industry. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with these guidelines and hold the students around you to the professional standard. 

 In order for productions to continue, the following MSU polices must be followed:

  • Students are required to write up a COVID plan for how they plan to safely make their films or conduct a photoshoot based on examples provided currently being used in the industry (SAG, cinematographer's union, film commissions, production companies, etc.). These plans will be approved by the faculty before shooting or filming can begin. The proposed plans will be archived in the Box Folder for SFP: Special Use Spaces by the School Director or designee. Plans will need to be emailed before production begins to Alexis Pike, Interim Director, at with the subject line: COVID SFP Plan & Your Name. (When attaching files, save your file as a PDF with your name, course number, and semester in the title ie: SassytheCorgi_FILM499_FA20.pdf) 
  • All film crews, cast, photographers, models and actors, regardless of MSU affiliation, will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of risk regarding their participation in student productions. Although crews and casts will do their best to limit potential exposure to COVID-19 through proper mask and distancing guidelines, the acknowledgement of risk will require signees to acknowledge the inherent risks in participating in film or photography projects where constant mask use and distancing measures are difficult to maintain throughout the production. Participants will assume all risk and liability for their participation in these productions and hold Montana State University and its' affiliates harmless. Printed and signed waivers must be delivered to SFP Interim Director, Alexis Pike before production begins.
  • All film crews, cast, photographers, models and actors, regardless of MSU affiliation, will have their temperature taken each day they arrive at the beginning of production, at least once during the day of production, and at the end of the day. If it is found that someone is running a fever or shows indications of any CDC outlined symptoms they will not be allowed to work on the production until they submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result. 
  • As available to the public, it is strongly recommended all MSU affiliated student crews and casts should be tested for COVID-19 before, during, and at the end of shooting/filming. These tests have been identified as currently available by appointment at Nova Health in Bozeman and as ordered by a physician for testing at Bozeman Deaconess Health facilities. The responsibility of verifying costs and availability lies with the student and not MSU. It is not required MSU students share their results with others, however, if they chose not to be tested or share their test results, the crew, and cast must take this into account when considering the individual's role during filming/shooting and the overall safety of the cast and crew. 
  • Models/Actors, who are not affiliated with MSU are strongly encouraged to show proof of a negative COVID test on a weekly basis while working with a photography or film crew, this includes being tested one week prior to shooting/filming and at the start of session/filming. If unaffiliated models/actors show symptoms and cannot provide negative test results per the schedule above, they cannot engage in projects. Anytime a formal invitation is made for a non-MSU affiliated model or actor to produce a photograph or film for an MSU project then the protocol above must be followed. 
  • Students on the film/photography crew and those in the cast agree to avoid events and environments that do not allow for social distancing or mask use when they are working on these projects. 
  • During shooting/filming, the actor/model can remove his or her mask for no more than ten minutes to be photographed/filmed. Social distancing will be practiced by the crew when the model/actor's mask is off. After shooting/filming unmasked actors, appropriate sanitization will be carried out on furnishing, materials, etc. situated within six feet of the model/actor during the shot. 
  • All Models/Actors will maintain appropriate social distancing in master shots that require more than a single unmasked actor.
  • Film & Photography students can utilize spaces in VCB for shooting their photos/films and will adhere to social distancing, mask use (excluding model/actor being filmed), and sanitize the spaces used before and after each activity.
  • Each member of the crew will be asked to verbally confirm that, to the best of their knowledge, they are free of typical COVID-19 symptoms before working with others on the project.
  • If a member of the film/photo crew does not feel well or has been exposed to someone who is positive for COVID-19, they will not be involved in filming/shooting until it is safe for them to rejoin the production.
  • Students who fail to follow the guidelines above are subject to a loss of filming and photography privileges. School of Film and Photography staff, faculty, and/or leadership team will follow through with students to make sure these guidelines are adhered to throughout the semester. Students who do not observe protocol will be reported to SFP Interim Director, Alexis Pike and Dean Royce Smith of the College of Arts & Architecture.

Additional COVID Resouces

"The Safe Way Forward"

  • This document is a joint report of the DGA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE and Teamsters' Committees for COVID-19 Safety Guidelines. It represents a path for employers to provide a safer workplace for their cast and crew members in a pre-vaccine COVID-19 world. 

Montana Film Office

  • The Montana Film Office outlined the specific guidelines for filming within Montana. Film producers and crews can operate in Montana while maintaining social distancing requirements and CDC/public health best practices.

Film LA - Covid Resource Center

  • Film LA provides information on the latest production stats within California, along with a list of COVID compliance requirements for resuming on-set work. They also provide a list of external resouces that provide COVID specific support, job opportunities, and funding for filmmakers. 

Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers

  • The Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Task Force (the “Task Force”) respectfully submitted these guidelines for consideration and adoption for the resumption of motion picture, television, and streaming productions in an environment that minimizes the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

The State of Georgia

  • This report, created by the State of Georgia, outlines the safety requirements for resuming film production. The Georgia Film Academy also provides free online certifications in COVID compliance.