New Zealand feature film Poppy resumed production on Friday 29 May after responding to the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown announcement on March 23. At the time, the film was three hours into the final week of shooting. Poppy is the first local film to resume production since the country moved to Alert Level 2.
Produced by Robin Laing and Alex Cole-Baker, Poppy is the debut feature for writer-director Linda Niccol, telling the story of a young woman with Down syndrome who refuses to be defined by her disability and decides to take control of her life.
The final six days of shooting will take place in a single private location on the Kāpiti Coast and will include only three key cast and reduced crew numbers to allow for social distancing and minimised interaction between departments. Almost all the original shooting crew have returned to complete the film.
The filmmakers spent their time in lockdown working out how best to recommence production once the government deemed it safe to do so, working closely with their Health and Safety Officer as new information came to hand and COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols were drawn up. The production continues to monitor the development and updating of protocols so they can revise practices as necessary.
Poppy is supported by the New Zealand Film Commission’s 125 Fund, a bespoke fund launched in 2018 to celebrate New Zealand’s 125 years of universal suffrage. Other support for the production comes from TVNZ, NZ On Air, IHC Foundation and private philanthropic funders.
Filming on Poppy will be completed on Thursday 4 June.