HomeSchool of Arts and SciencesMaking Movies in the Age of COVID

Making Movies in the Age of COVID

Lisa Marie Tedesco, a senior in the Department of Communication, Media, and Screen Studies, recently finished principal photography on her third independent film entitled “Spin,” with filming taking place on the Southern campus. While doing an independent study for her major, Tedesco combined her skills on set, her production company, her producing knowhow, and her writing/directing capabilities to safely execute a full-scale movie production on the Lyman Center stage during a global pandemic.

Using Lyman as the central location of the film, Tedesco transformed the theater into her own personal Hollywood sound stage; enlisting the help of a full production design crew to design and build a set.

“I knew I had the itch and the need to get back on set,” Tedesco said. “But I also wanted to make sure we could effectively put a production on with a smaller budget and also keep everyone safe during the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

Tedesco’s initial shoot dates were placed on hold when a Covid scare within her cast thwarted her plans. Luckily, the individual’s test result turned out to be a false positive, and shooting resumed two weeks later. “We took a chance and that chance has this consequence. I will always take the safety and health of my cast and crew seriously,” said Tedesco. “So I did what I had to do and shut it down immediately.”

Once cast and crew were re-tested, with negative results, there was no stopping Tedesco in completing her independent study with “Spin.”

Cast and crew of "Spin," on the stage in Lyman Center
Cast and crew of “Spin,” on set in Lyman Center

She says she wrote the screenplay in a couple of hours. “I knew I wanted to make something Shakespeare-voice-over heavy that also included a queer storyline,” Tedesco said. “I represent the LGBTQ community in every little thing I do. Representation Matters, and I wanted my third film to have that thrust upon the screen. My other films are also queer and it’s very important to have authentic stories for people in our community to identify with.”

“Spin” is now in post-production and is set to make a limited film festival run before heading to streaming services. The IMDb description of the film reads: “When the curtain descends on their final performance of Romeo and Juliet in drama club, high school seniors Abigail and Sky bid a fair adieu to the stage they love while letting their deepest desires for one another surface at the cast party.”

Tedesco’s earlier films include shorts House of La Reine (2018) and August in the City (2017). She is also the founder and producer of Lady Film Media, a production company that “wants to help in the endeavors of strong women around the world reach their full potential in the film and media spectrum.”



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