Photo courtesy of Schott Productions.

The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 significantly impacted the film industry worldwide. All major film festivals around the world went virtual after March 2020. Most theaters were closed for up to six months and many have not yet re-opened.

Hollywood literally shut down for a full six months. Major studios are now slowly ramping up production, but the limitations of quarantines, social distancing, and testing, mean significantly increased costs and more lengthy production times. All of this while the majority of the world is hungry for new content.

Following last year’s release of their Dust Nuggets film, local production company, Schott Productions, is gearing up to shoot their next feature film, Le Bon Chef, later this year.

“Shooting a film during the pandemic has proven extremely difficult and prohibitively expensive, especially for large productions,” says producer Sue Lange.

“The major studios all but shut down production. We see that as an opportunity. Independent films are more nimble and require fewer people on set. While we hope that the restrictions of the pandemic are behind us by the time we shoot, we’re prepared to move forward while following pandemic protocols.”

Industry standard protocols for shooting during the pandemic are designed to protect personnel from activities that require actors and crew to work in close proximity with each other. The protocols call for extra personnel to help with sanitization and monitoring, extra shoot days for quarantining, cleaning stations, safety materials, and officers to ensure protocols are met, among other things.

“While the pandemic has made things more difficult and more expensive, we’ve also discovered that we now have more access to people in the industry who in the past were caught up in studio productions. This means there are some very talented actors out there who aren’t working,” director Tracy Schott says. “We’re excited that Le Bon Chef has attracted the attention of people in the industry who want to see the film get made!”

Le Bon Chef features a 50-something female chef at a top French restaurant going bankrupt as people’s taste slowly change to vegan, low-carb, and fusion — everything French food is not.

The film features a diverse cast of characters who bring their kooky life perspectives into the melting pot of Le Bon Chef. As with Schott Productions’ previous projects, Le bon Chef will be filmed in Berks County.

The film is currently in the development stage – bringing on production partners, securing locations for filming, and attracting talent for major roles. Eric Roberts and Robert Picardo were both featured in Dust Nuggets. Lange and Schott will likewise bring known talent to this project.

To secure seed money, Schott Productions held a crowd-funding campaign that raised $20,000. The money will be used to secure cast and legal personnel as well as start a social media presence online.

“Get ready Reading! If all goes according to schedule, we will be filming this fall!” states Ms. Lange.

This article is also available in: Español (Spanish)