Pandemic thriller Songbird, thought to be the first feature made in Los Angeles during the Covid-19 lockdown, has completed its shoot on schedule, with director Adam Mason reporting no positive virus tests and a “great creative experience.”
Employing social distancing, frequent testing and PPE (personal protective equipment) on set, “the safety aspect was a challenge,” confirmed Los Angeles-based UK film-maker Mason of the three-and-a-half week shoot. But, Mason added, “You knew when you went on set that everyone with you had tested negative that day and there was a lot of reassurance that came from that.”
“It was other elements - like filming in existing locations that had everyday people around - that had to be handled very delicately,” Mason added. The film shot in a converted warehouse in downtown Los Angeles and on locations including Mullholland Drive and the city’s Koreatown district.
From a creative point of view, said Mason, the shoot was “a lot more enjoyable than I thought it would be. In a way, the limitations led to very creative solutions.”
With Demi Moore, Peter Stormare, Craig Robinson, Paul Walter Hauser, Bradley Whitford and Jenna Ortega heading the ensemble cast, Songbird is a love story, written by Mason and Simon Boyes, set during a pandemic in 2022.
Invisible Narratives, the company headed by former studio executives Adam Goodman and Andrew Sugarman, is producing, along with Catchlight Studios and Michael Bay. ICM Partners and Endeavor Content are handling worldwide sales.
Asked whether his experience shooting Songbird provides any lessons for a Hollywood industry trying to get back into production, Mason said: “I come from a very guerrilla filmmaking background, so for me it was a very fluid transition from what I’ve done before. If people adopted that style of filmmaking things could get back to some semblance of normality. That’s the only way I can see it being done. You’re not going to make a Marvel movie at the moment with a crew of 200 people - it’s just never going to happen.”