50+ Filmmakers Shoot Anthology Feature Film While In Covid19 Lockdown

By: Jun. 03, 2020
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50+ Filmmakers Shoot Anthology Feature Film While In Covid19 Lockdown

In early April of 2020 and in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic, 50+ filmmakers organized using their phones, text messaging and teleconferencing in 17 set locations, 13 cities and 2 countries to produce a feature film. The theme? The cardinal 7 sins and 7 virtues. All episodes were developed and filmed while in government-mandated isolation.

The main rule? To use only existing production equipment: smart phone, pad, computer or security cameras. No hi-end film cameras were allowed.

The 14 episodes Anthology titled Covid19... Sins & Virtues is the brainchild of entertainment executive Alex Mendoza. It is being produced by Mendoza and True Form Films: Yeniffer Behrens (The Way Back, Grey's Anatomy) and Mauricio Mendoza (Resurrection Blvd, Criminal Minds). Each episode is original. Filmmakers had the freedom to choose genre, story, style and runtime. The requisites: 1) It must have been filmed with assets at hand 2) The story must use COVID-19 forced isolation only as background 3) The episode must relate to the randomly assigned sin/virtue as the episode's central theme.

It took two days to get together 14 creative teams. No open call was ever issued. All episodes were written and developed in less than three weeks, with most episodes having finished principal photography as of May 15, 2020.

The episodes were all filmed simultaneously by 17 different crews. Some episodes had more than one set location working together, all self-contained and self sufficient on assets and talent. All episodes are finishing principal photography or are now being edited. The lead producers will finish and assemble the Anthology with the help of an additional editor and a post-production team. Episodes runtimes vary from 3 -12 minutes. A music composer is available for all episodes. Three episodes are being scored as we speak.

This Hollywood experiment was born out of creative boredom and the desire to "behave badly" while wondering what the end result would be. Faced with a tight schedule of only two months (as it was believed then) due to having set the challenge to finish principal photography while still in isolation, it was decided that creating an Anthology would be a way to shorten the production time of a feature length film. Not wanting COVID-19 to take center stage, a unifying theme was required to showcase the effects of isolation and uncertainty on human beings. All the good and the bad, all the Sins & Virtues.

The team behind Covid19... Sins & Virtues is a cross section of genders, races, nationalities, origins, film professions and experiences, all sharing a goal. From seasoned directors and producers to on-camera stars, all agreed to test the usual production stages required to produce a film. The Anthology resulted in an eclectic collection of psychological studies of human behavior under extreme circumstances, told with an equally eclectic collection of styles and approaches.

The Cooperative is open to alternative routes of exhibition and distribution and is already mulling about a sequel anthology film, COVID19... Sins & Virtues: The Second Wave, ...just in case.