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Effects of Covid-19 on the Film Industry

An Industry Goes Dark

Coronavirus is having a huge impact on the film industry, from movie theaters, filmmakers to just about everyone connected to the business. Whether major media conglomerates or independents, many see the coronavirus as the most serious threat the industry has ever faced with delays in production, postponing premieres, and cancellations. Almost overnight, film projects screeched to a grinding halt as hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people, lost their livelihoods. Some are finding creative ways to push their projects through to survive the crisis until the industry gets back on its feet. We’ve asked documentary filmmaker Sarah Moshman to share her perspective on the current crisis.

HOW ARE YOU, YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, COLLEAGUES ETC. DOING?

I work as a documentary filmmaker, speaker, and teacher, and my husband works in the beer industry as a bartender, so, for the most part, both of us are out of work for the foreseeable future. We are fine – safe and healthy and distracted taking care of our 2-year-old every day but stressed financially for sure like so many of us are. The entertainment industry is getting hit hard because so many of the workers are freelance, self-employed, and have no sick leave. It’s also quite interesting to see how many people turn to movies and television in times of crisis to make them feel comforted, and yet the people that make all of that content are struggling so much right now. I am trying to stay positive and present and be grateful for all that we do have, but some days it’s tough.

HOW HAS THE CORONAVIRUS AFFECTED YOUR LIFE, YOUR BUSINESS, ETC., AND HOW ARE YOU COPING?

I had just premiered my latest documentary, “Nevertheless,” about sexual harassment in the workplace. We had many screenings and in-person events planned and pending, all of which got canceled or postponed indefinitely. I also do a lot of speaking engagements and in-person workshops in the film industry, and all of that is on hold as well. On the positive side, it does seem like there is a huge need for virtual content, so for my film, we are pivoting with our distributor, Indieflix, and providing the film virtually to companies and schools with so many people at home right now. We designed a curriculum, a discussion guide, a quiz, a survey, and more to make sure the film is an active viewing experience. My dream would be for this film to be utilized alongside sexual harassment training in companies and schools around the world. We shall see, but I hope this is an unexpected blessing in all of this. All filmmakers are forced to think creatively right now about how to continue to create and push forward their projects.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OUR BUSINESS LEADERS AND GOVERNMENT?

I think the businesses that step up for their employees and their customers will be remembered and will be celebrated once this is all behind us. We need to be putting our health and well-being above capitalism and the economy as much as we can.

DO YOU HAVE ANY THOUGHTS, IDEAS, RECOMMENDATIONS, WISDOM, ETC., TO SHARE WITH OUR READERS?

I would say that kindness goes a long way in these trying times. I hope we can be gentler with ourselves and with each other as everyone is going through something in a different way right now. We are all suffering. Kindness is free and makes everyone feel even an ounce better. How can you be kind to someone today?

HOW DO YOU THINK THIS EXPERIENCE WILL IMPACT OUR LIVES AS WE MOVE FORWARD?

This pandemic will impact us in so many ways, moving forward. So many of us didn’t even know this was possible and how quickly we’ve had to adapt to this new normal. I don’t imagine we will be able to forget this, and that will show up in many forms. Perhaps more virtual events will stick around; we will have to take a potential pandemic into account in all of our contracts and tickets for events or travel. We will hopefully be more conscious about germs and how they spread, and in my world, I’m sure the film industry will reflect this time back to us in the movies, documentaries, and TV shows we watch next year. It’s hard to see this from the other side until we get through it, but I hope amidst all of the fear and sadness, there is light and growth too.

An Unfolding Drama

It may be some time before the film industry recovers as many struggle to stay afloat. After the coronavirus threat passes, the scope of damage to the film industry will be challenging to assess. But for now, film companies that are able to, are placing their focus on the people that make their business – it’s the right thing to do. As for the rest of us, we are thankful to watch their work on TV and streaming services to pass the time and bring documentaries and entertainment into our locked down homes. Learn more about Sarah Moshman on Throomers.com.