10 March 2014

A film’s health and safety plan has been recognised with a trophy at an awards ceremony in London during the National Film and Television School (NTFS) Show 2014, with the film’s young producer and production manager receiving cash prizes for their contribution to occupational health and safety during the making of The Escapist.

Miranda Ballesteros, the 25-year-old film producer, was awarded a cash prize of £700 from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) for her commitment to protecting her cast and crew during the filming of The Escapist. The judges said she had used health and safety to produce a “creative, action-packed film, with impressive stunts”.

The film’s 24-year-old production manager, Sile Culley, scooped a cash reward of £300 from the Institution and was said by judges to have demonstrated that health and safety enhances a production, keeping a cast safe while ensuring the “wow factor” still exists, when shooting the film.

The film tells the story of a young, talented escape artist during the 1920s, Sidney Knight, who was destined for greatness, but then robbed of his dreams by a tragic accident.

Commenting on the awards, Miranda Ballesteros said, “A film crew can really become like a family and it’s important to have mechanisms in place to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and safe. This does not mean ‘not taking risks’ or ‘playing it safe’ at all, but just being aware of the risks and putting in place mechanisms to control them as far as possible.”

She added, “Our lead actor hung upside down from an A-frame, escaped from chains and from a straight jacket underwater. All of the stunts could have threatened the safety of the actor and the crew, but as well as considering safety we needed to ensure what we were filming looked believable. We… carefully analysed each location, assessing their risks and special needs.”