The 33-year-old British actress wrote, co-directed and starred in “I May Destroy You,” a 12-part drama about a young writer who tries to rebuild her life after being sexually assaulted.
At the ceremony on Sunday, the critically acclaimed HBO series won the award for Best Miniseries, with Coel also taking home the gong for Best Actress.
In her acceptance speech, Coel paid tribute to the show’s intimacy director, Ita O’Brien, and acknowledged her for making possible the filming of the series, which addresses the issues of consensus, attack and trauma.
“Thank you for your existence in our industry, for making the space sure, that you create physical, emotional and professional boundaries so that we can work on exploitation, loss of respect and abuse of power without being exploited or abused,” said Coel.
What is an intimacy coordinator?
The role of the intimacy coordinator is to assist the actor with every intimate act on the set, such as B. Contact kissing, physical touch, and simulated sex. They plan, choreograph, and often work with actors and the production team to ensure that the people in front of and behind the camera are comfortable and secure in every aspect and phase of the process.
There are several training organizations around the world including Intimacy Directors and Coordinators in the US and Intimacy for Stage and Screen (formerly IDI-UK) in the UK.
And in April of that year, the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced plans to establish a registry and provide accreditation for intimacy coordinator training programs to help create an industry standard for the role.
O’Brien told CNN in an email that intimacy coordinators must have in-depth knowledge of the actor-director process, understand power dynamics, and be trained in theater and film pedagogy and intimacy coordination.
They must “have physical and choreographic skills, as well as body awareness and anatomy, so that they can bring clarity to physical dance,” she explained.
After completing the basic training, they enter a mentoring program that enables them to put the training into practice in their job prior to accreditation.
Why did studios start using them?
The #MeToo movement and increasing awareness of abuse of power in film and television have created a demand for intimacy coordinators on the set.
SAG-AFTRA said in October 2020 that in the years since the actions of Weinstein – one of the most powerful people in the entertainment industry – it had worked to create “safer working conditions for members and the industry at large”.
O’Brien said she believes the “role of the intimacy coordinator is key to protecting artists when creating intimate content”.
She told CNN: “Our process ensures that a safe and professional structure is created in which open communication and consent is agreed at all times, in which everyone can bring the best of their professional acting skills to the scene.”
Create a safe space
“With the concept of consent that we work with, of course, if at any point someone says, ‘Oh, you know, I don’t want this,’ they never will,” she said. “And it’s also my job to go in front of any director or producer and say, ‘Hey, you know, like they’re not comfortable with that.’ I’ve been really fortunate to work with great directors and producers so this has never happened before. ”
“It was so great because it felt safe and fun: you choreograph it like a stunt or a dance,” she said.
“It’s crazy to me that (an intimacy coordinator) hasn’t been there in the past,” said Dynevor. “I’ve done sex scenes before that I can’t believe: It was only five or six years ago, but now it wouldn’t be allowed.”
CNN’s Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.