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  • Writer's pictureThe Feminist Times

Co-ordinating Intimacy

Not long ago, Bridgerton was released and made a place in our hearts while

giving us some well-choreographed intimate scenes and as much as we loved the

show, we can't forget to give the credits to the intimacy coordinator.

Well who are intimacy coordinators and why are they so important? An intimacy

coordinator ensure the safety and comfort of actors engaging in sex scenes or

intimate scenes in theatre, film and television production. They also choreograph

the scene prior to the shoot and keep in mind the actors concerns and boundaries.

While the concept of intimacy coordinators isn't new to the west, it is definitely a

step in the right direction for Indian Cinema considering the incorporation of

intimate scenes as a form of storytelling specifically on OTT Platforms.

Aastha Khanna is the first certified Indian intimacy coordinator also an assistant

director for production houses like Dharma Productions, Viacom 18, RSVP and

Netflix and for critically acclaimed films like Andhadhun (2018). While working

on a feature film, she realised how the Indian film industry lacked experts in the

field of intimacy leading to her getting training from Intimacy Professional’s

Association (IPA), being the first certified intimacy co-ordinator in India she

initiated a wave of change in the Indian Film Industry. Aastha Khanna in her

interview with Tweak India, shared how her job is same of that of an action

director. She in her other interviews also mentions the challenging part of her job

that is filming scenes of sexual violence as the scene can trigger the performers

and also a proper break down of the scene has to be given.

It all began when HBO made it compulsory to have an intimacy director on the

sets of its projects following the #MeToo movement. Apart from ensuring the

safety and consent of the actors performing the intimate scenes, she uses things

like crotch guards, body tapes, nipple pasties and donut pillows. All things that

guarantee a safe filming experience to the actors involved.

Well how is this good for the film industry? Many a times, actors have stepped

up and complained how they felt uncomfortable while filming a scene or are

asked to strip or indulge in things they do not feel like. This is where, the role of

an intimacy co-ordinator becomes crucial. They choreograph the scene prior to

the shoot with the actors keeping in mind their boundaries, consent and comfort.

After the choreography, the actors rehearse the sequence and later, the final scene

is shot. The co-ordinators also ensure that the scene does not trigger anyone.

Well, the work of an intimacy co-ordinator seems like an interesting job but

definitely not an easy one. like the job? Here’s how you can become an intimacy co-ordinator. While Khanna did her certificate programme from Intimacy Professionals Association (IPA). One can also learn about the craft of intimacy co-ordination from Intimacy Directors and Co-ordinators it also offers a number of workshops the institute is

based in New York. The job seems ideal for those who would like to become instruments of positive change in the film industry.

-Aadya Punj

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