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UK Media Protocols


November 2015 edition

Film Distributors’ Association (FDA) has prepared the following set of five generic protocols for media and other parties attending film previews in the UK. They have been updated most recently following requests from journalists and distributors for greater clarification on key issues as they evolve.

1). Standard UK embargo policy for journalists and other media review film releases.
2). Admission and security procedures for journalists and others attending previews.
3). Film premieres code of conduct for media covering the events.
4). Media screening procedures for all media, distributors and publicists.
5). Media screening code of conduct for everyone attending media screenings.

Overall purpose: These protocols are intended constructively to help journalists cover the full range of theatrical releases in a timely, professional manner and to avoid misunderstandings. Given the sheer volume of new releases – often 12-14 per week in the UK – a system of basic procedures and benchmarks is self-evidently essential. Please accept, support and co-operate with the protocols in the best interests of all parties.

General conditions applying across all five protocols

  • The Standard UK Embargo applies (see protocol No. 1 overleaf) unless otherwise specified by the UK film distributor;
  • Journalists are expected to attend screenings specially arranged and designated for their professional sector
  • Films seen for review purposes should be watched on a cinema screen wherever possible as they were intended to be experienced; screeners or online links (where available) should be used rarely and only as a last resort.
  • People invited or accredited to attend any preview screening are responsible for any guests or colleagues they may be permitted to bring along.
  • Anyone attending a screening is expected to comply with the Screening Code of Conduct (protocol No. 5).



For Distributors:-

1. ALL screenings have to be managed from start to finish.

2. People attending the screenings should be advised in advance of the COVID precautions which will be           available or in place.    (For example, the availability of hand-sanitiser;   the actual capacity of  the             screen, etc).

3. A list of ALL people attending the screenings MUST be compiled and include contact information for               everyone present.   This list should be readily available and, as a further precaution, also should be forwarded to FDA within 24 hours of the screening taking place. (Please forward to     screenings@fda.uk.net).  Please note;  attendance lists will be destroyed after 21 days.

For Reviewers

Distributors are pleased to be able to offer reviewers the opportunity to attend preview screenings of forthcoming releases once again.   We are sensitive to concerns in relation to reviewers returning to screenings and would like to provide reassurance that practical measures will be in place to ensure that hygiene and social distancing guidelines are observed.

1. In order to safeguard everyone’s’ wellbeing  it is imperative that any one attending a preview ensures              that the  host  company or PR has registered their attendance and that up-to-date contact details are        provided.

We further request that attendees allow contact details to be shared with FDA for safeguarding        purposes only.  Information will be retained for 21 days and then destroyed.

2. Reviewers should NOT turn up to screenings in the absence of confirmation from the distributor  and              should NOT be accompanied by guests.

3. Face Masks MUST be worn from August 8th onwards.   It is a recommendation in the interim.

4. Any reviewer who experiences coronavirus symtoms or lives in the same household as someone who            does,  MUST advise the screening host AND FDA (screenings@fda.uk.net) as soon as possible.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are as identified by the NHS are

  • high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
  • For more information, please see https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/        

Please note that this is in addition to the obligations imposed by the NHS.

5. Where such a report is received, the distributor and/or FDA will immediately communicate information to        everyone else who was present at the relevant screening to enable them to put in place the appropriate   precautions. Thank you