Key Intimate Scenes receives SAG-AFTRA accreditation

KIS founder and director, Michela Carattini (centre) with KIS employees Adeeb Razzouk (left) and Akala Newman (right).

Intimacy coordination company Key Intimate Scenes (KIS) now boasts an internationally recognised training program, having achieved accreditation from the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) in the US.

Launched last year, KIS’s curriculum is designed to combine international standards with Australian law, union best practices, and state industry requirements.

It is one of only eight programs to be included in the SAG-AFTRA Intimacy Coordinator Accreditation Program, joining entries from the US, UK, and Canada.

KIS founder and director, Michela Carattini, told IF it was a “great honour” to be part of the list while noting her company stood “on the shoulders of many who are not named”.

“It can be tricky to support minimum qualification standards in order to reduce harm, while not supporting gate-keeping models that favour advantaged identities – but it seems SAG-AFTRA have a thoughtful approach, with a flexible, community-consulting model that requires programs to balance disadvantage and demonstrate their inclusivity,” she said.

“We are absolutely dedicated to Australia shaping its own voice in the industry, and are equally honoured by our First Nations and local endorsements, but we recognise the importance of having a seat at the international table, and of having that voice be heard.”

SAG-AFTRA first announced intimacy coordinator accreditation and registry programs in April 2021, as part of an ongoing effort to normalise and encourage the use of intimacy coordinators.

This followed SAG-AFTRA’s 2020 introduction of Standards and Protocols for the Use of Intimacy Coordinators, which outlined the responsibilities of intimacy coordinators at every stage of production, showing how the role allows productions to operate more efficiently, provide a safety net for performers, and establish specialised support that empowers both cast and crew.

Similarly, the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) published Australia’s inaugural set of intimacy guidelines late in 2020, encouraging the use of intimacy coordinators.

The guidelines, which the industry consulted on for 18 months, aimed to establish new processes for work involving nudity, intimacy, simulated sexual activity, and sexual violence so that actors were best prepared and supported.

Carattini was part of the panel which drafted the guidelines, having worked in the industry for more than 20 years as an actor, choreographer, and producer, while also being on the core committee of Women In Theatre and Screen.

She used her experience to spearhead the KIS training program, which incorporates on-the-job practical experience alongside classroom learning.

The company has provided intimacy coordination services to 10 screen and stage productions since the launch of the program, including feature film Birdeater and stage production Breathing Corpses, while staging workshops, educational talks, and interviews for the industry.

Carattini has also co-founded the Australiasian Intimacy Coordination Network, together with Melbourne-based 5 Bedrooms intimacy coordinator, Steph Power, of Intimacy Coordinators Australia, in order to provide a forum for the ANZ intimacy coordination community to communicate and consult with each other.

She said KIS would be looking to expand its training capabilities in the future alongside “an increase in trainers and industry demand for intimacy coordinators”.