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Filmmaking in Quarantine

Isabella Yanguas and Martina Isaksen, 12°

The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in more than one industry being severely affected. Hollywood and the film industry were not an exception. Due to the health guidelines and the strict codes of social distance that the whole world has been put under for the past eight months, directors and film crews have had to come up with creative solutions to continue their tight schedules despite the challenges that quarantine presents.

Netflix was the first to find a way to continue film productions once the quarantine had been imposed. The ease in which they were able to quickly adapt to the new restrictions meant they were able to transfer some of their previously filmed movies directly onto the platform, as well as begin filming on a completely new series called “Homemade”. This series was a collection of quarantine snapshots and short films made by well-recognized actors and directors during the first months of lockdown. Similarly, the BBC series “Staged” was a quick hit that was made entirely through zoom and documented the challenges that Michael Sheen and David Tennant had faced due to the Covid situation. It even had brief cameos from film legends such as Judy Dench and Samuel L. Jackson.

As Covid restrictions and regulations started to ease up, and it became possible to find other solutions to the situation the film industry was facing, productions started to happen in a hybrid like way. Such was the case with short films like “I’m Fine”, which was produced using a variety of techniques to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the shoot. Director Emma Dixioadi was quarantined in Athens, Greece at the time of the shoot, while the lead Pauline Chalament along with a small crew of three quarantined together in a small apartment in New York. They discussed the challenges of filming in a short interview for the release of the film and mentioned that they had to find many creative solutions as they filmed because Emma Dixioadi was thousands of miles away, and only able to direct her film through a zoom call. When asked, they mentioned that the restrictions and challenges presented by this quarantine allowed them to adapt to what has been often called “the new normal”.

“Malcolm & Marie” is a film produced during quarantine, as opposed to most of the movies filmed during this time it was not filmed through zoom. As for the film shoot, everything was practically normal except for the two-week quarantine the actors and crew members were forced to have priorly to filming. Once the quarantine was finished, no one was allowed to leave the premises, no food delivery was allowed and social distancing was required whenever possible. This seems to be a very common tactic used among those who decide to film during quarantine, as it ensures both the safety of the actors, crew members, and the quality of the production.

Adjusting to the new reality can seem very challenging as this new lifestyle is new to us, but it's very reassuring to know that the entertainment industry is taking a different approach to filmmaking. As for the public, this gives us a sense of reassurance that even in the worst of times we can still count on amazing productions and entertainment. The film industry is evolving and adapting to these new circumstances and we couldn't be more relieved.

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