The social distancing measures have given rise to creative thinking and new storylines that no longer rely on traditional filming methods.
I recently had the opportunity to watch a gripping Malayalam thriller titled C U Soon. Conceived in a coronavirus-ridden world, where shooting outdoors with a large crew has become impossible, the film unfolds through a series of events that take place primarily through video chats, emails, Messenger, and WhatsApp interfaces.
Of course, in recent times, there have been similar attempts by several regional and international filmmakers although the few that I have seen are either “art films” or shorts. C U Soon, by comparison, is a 98-minute feature with a dramatic storyline that would easily appeal to a mass audience. It is also testimony to the resilience of the human mind that has the fascinating ability to continuously disrupt and generate new ideas when faced with new scenarios – in this case, the Covid-19 pandemic.
New social distancing measures may have briefly unnerved us and forced us to stay at home. But that got many creative people thinking and new storylines have emerged that no longer rely on traditional filming methods.
Solution providers have simultaneously risen to the occasion by offering remote solutions that ensure minimal human interaction and allow for good productions to take place. A recent example of this is the Arabic version of Come Dine with Me.
ITV Studios Middle East, which produced the show for OSN, licensed a remote production system from Ionoco, which allowed their production and content chiefs to supervise the entire shoot in Dubai from Beirut. A truly collaborative, cross-country effort!
Some articles in this issue talk about how different networks have been thinking differently to keep the content coming.
In the meantime, there’s no denying the power of face-to-face meetings. As a result, we have decided to move the ASBU BroadcastPro Summit and Awards to February 2021, in the hope that we can meet without social distancing measures and together celebrate the industry. We will, however, host the MENA OTT and Anti-Piracy Virtual Week from November 3-5. Open to all industry professionals, the event will feature panel discussions, regional research findings as well as presentations. See you online.