Bans relaxed for dynamite stuntmen

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 February, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 February, 2000, 12:00am

Film stuntmen will be allowed to import detonators and charges 'for their own use' under plans to relax controls over use of explosives in films.

Bans on powerful explosives will also be lifted and stuntmen will be empowered to monitor the delivery and storage of explosives.

The Entertainment Special Effects Bill, to be gazetted tomorrow, aims to simplify controls and create a licensing system for stuntmen, who will be classified into three grades.

Sixty-eight stuntmen have taken training courses run by the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority. Twelve have Class II qualifications and seven are undergoing Class I training of handling more dangerous explosives.

Application procedures will also be simplified.

At present, a film-maker must apply to up to five departments for licences to shoot a scene involving explosives.

The bill seeks to set up a new licensing authority to screen stuntmen and issue permits for use of dynamite for film stunts.

The film industry has until now used apprenticeships, with newcomers learning from a 'master'.

Under the bill, a licensed stuntman does not need to obtain a supplier licence if he imports a small amount of explosives for his own film stunts.

The stuntman can also supervise the conveyance of explosives by a vessel.

More powerful devices, like detonators, detonating cords and shaped charges, which were previously banned for making films, will be permitted.

Hongkong Kowloon and New Territories Motion Picture Industry Association chief executive Woody Tsung Wan-chi welcomed the proposals but feared high licence fees could drive many operators out of the field.

The Government has not fixed the fees, but the cost of a six-member team to administer the scheme is estimated to cost at least $5 million a year.