Intimacy coordinator, a “niche profession” in search of professionalization

Intimacy coordinator, a “niche profession” in search of professionalization

Movies

It was in the wake of the #metoo movement, which encouraged the freedom of women to speak out about sexual violence, that the function of intimacy coordination appeared on American film sets. In France, this practice, which aims to supervise intimate scenes and ensure the well-being of actresses and actors, is still seeking to professionalize as shown by a study published in December 2023 by the national joint employment commission. and audiovisual training (CPNEF-AV).

Carried out by the Co&Sens firm and financed by the Entertainment Training Insurance (Afdas), this study provides an overview of what still remains a “niche profession” , uncommon in France. Four intimacy coordinators were identified, compared to eighty across the Atlantic. Activity is still low, even if several American productions filmed in France, such as the Netflix series, Emily in Paris , have already used these supervisors.

The CPNEF-AV is therefore working on the creation of a professional certification to encourage more vocations. And plans to train six people per year from January 2025. A job description has been established to integrate this practice into the collective agreement for the film industry. And pique the curiosity of professionals in the sector.

Filming deviations

Monia Aït El Hadj, intimacy coordinator, is campaigning for their presence to become systematic on the sets. “When we look at a script and discover that there is a stunt scene, we call in a stunt coordinator. The same should be true for intimate scenes. »

These intimate watchers intervene during scenes of kissing, sexual “tension”, physical or psychological violence, nudes or simulated sex. But also before and after filming. Their presence is part, more broadly, of a set of initiatives aimed at combating sexist and sexual violence and harassment (VHSS) in cinema. Several testimonies have recently shed harsh light on the excesses of filming in France. In April 2023, a Mediapart investigation gathered the testimonies of thirteen women accusing Gérard Depardieu of sexual violence on set – the actor refuted these accusations.

The use of harassment referents and compulsory training in VHSS, led by the CNC and Afdas, are other tools to prevent excesses. In the summer of 2023, actor and director Samuel Theis was exfiltrated from the set of his film I swear after a technician accused him of rape. Confined, the filmmaker, who refutes these accusations and speaks of a “consensual relationship” , continued to direct the filming away from the set.

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