As COVID-19 guidelines for safe filming are being struck by governments, entertainment guilds and labor unions, stalled live-action TV shows and movies are gradually returning to life. Production protocols in harder hit regions, such as the UK, France and US state Georgia, have been drafted, while measures for California and Canada are expected in the next two weeks. Despite the progress, producers are now grappling with a number of financial and legal uncertainties as they decide how and when to bring back shows and features.
The clock is ticking particularly fast for live-action kids projects because producers rely on the short summer season to work with child actors while they’re out of school. What would happen if kids productions missed this all-important window?
In this series, Kidscreen checks in with producers and broadcasters to hear more about their live-action filming plans.
New pandemic-themed episodes of Italian kids series Jams will bow in June. The special 5 x 25-minute season is being filmed according to the federal government’s COVID-19 safety measures, with three separate sets allowing for parallel filming and no more than two actors on the same set at any time to allow for social distancing.
Co-produced by Stand By Me (part of Asacha Media Group) and pubcaster Rai, Jams follows the lives of four friends in middle school as they deal with serious issues affecting kids today. In addition to the upcoming special season, a full-length season of the show was also picked up, and will air at a later date.
Jams launched as a 10 x 25-minute miniseries examining sexual harassment in March 2019, and the show returned for a second 20 x 25-minute season in March 2020 with a focus on cyberbullying.
The upcoming special season will be available on Rai Ragazzi and the digital platform RaiPlay, and will see the characters’ lives turned upside down by COVID-19 and quarantine. The show is filmed using a “constructed reality” technique, with the cast improvising from an outline of each script.
Jams was created by Simona Ercolani, with the new special season written by Ercolani with Angelo Pastore, Mariano di Nardo, Josella Porto and Elizabeth De Grassi. The series is directed by Emanuele Pisano.
This launch marks the pubcaster’s most recent effort to keep kids entertained during the COVID-19 crisis. In early March, Rai released new animated and live-action kids content across its channels and partnered with athletes to share educational messages about health and safety with children. Later that same month Rai lined up its first co-pro, teaming with Italian comic publisher Sergio Bonelli Editore to produce the animated series Dragonero.
Italy has reported some 231,000 confirmed cases since the COVID-19 outbreak began, with more than 33,000 deaths across the country. Following a two month-long lockdown, Italy began to ease restrictions earlier this week with everything from museums to sit-down dining reopening for business.
Tune in tomorrow for part three of our series on live-action summer filming strategies.