During this weekend’s pre-recorded services at London’s Television Centre, Michaela Coel’s critically lauded HBO drama – I May Destroy You, won the BAFTA TV Award for the Mini-Series & landing Leading star the show’s star and creator. In her recognition speech for the recent prize, Michaela shone a light on one of the project’s slighted heroes: I May Destroy You’s intimacy coordinator, Ita O’Brien. “I wanna dedicate this award to the director of intimacy Ita O’Brien,” the Chewing Gum star told. “Thank you for your existence in the industry, for making the space safe for creating physical, emotional, spiritual, and professional boundaries so that we can make work about exploitation, loss of respect, about power abuse, without being exploited or abused in the process.”
But the social distancing did not dampen the mood of Michaela Coel & Paul Mescal, who were among the big winners in the Bafta award. The casts of Sex Education, Anthony, Small Axe, and This Country also scooped some of the top prizes.
Popularized by the #Me Too movement, the call for intimacy coordinators, who work with productions to film scenes featuring sex or either depiction of sexual assault like “I May You Destroy You,” has become stronger over previous years, with SAG-AFTRA releasing a set of guidelines for the first industry-wide accreditation for IC programs this year. “I know what it is like to shoot without an intimacy director. The embarrassing, messy feeling for the crew, the internal devastation for the star,” continued Michaela. “Your direction was important to my show, and I believe essential for each production company that wants to make work travelling themes of consent.”
Later in their pressroom, the Black Earth Rising cast reflected on how the experience of filming with an intimacy coordinator makes shooting without one feel “thoughtless and “really inconsiderate” by comparison. “I’ve shot without intimacy directors, and I have shot with Ita and team members that Ita has trained and the confidence that it gives you to be able to tell a story that looks harrowing, that looks inappropriate while being appropriate while being protected, means that you’re able to tell that story properly,” she explained, according to Variety.