Social isolation. Nothing to do and a lot of time to do it in. Worries about survival and whether you’ll be able to see your loved ones again.
Sounds like life during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also matches the themes from “Cast Away,” the 2000 stranded-on-an-island film starring Tom Hanks that dozens of recently housebound Vermonters will be remaking this summer, one scene at a time.
The project is the idea of the Vermont Access Network, an organization of 25 regional community media access centers operating more than 80 cable channels statewide. Dubbed “Crowdsourced Cinema VT,” the project is based on one started five years ago by Northampton Open Media in Massachusetts.
As of Wednesday, 33 of the film’s 39 scenes had been claimed by wannabe filmmakers, said Gin Ferrara, community engagement manager for RETN at the Media Factory, one of the member organizations of the Vermont Access Network. Scenes ranging from two-and-a-half to six minutes are due to be completed Sept. 18, with musicians contributing soundtracks by Sept. 25.
The scenes will be assembled at the Media Factory in Burlington into a complete film that Ferrara said could be screened in October. Participants are asked to adhere to the script but can take liberties with production, from employing puppets or Legos to having one person portray multiple parts.
“There’s something so sweet about seeing a whole bunch of different versions of the story put together,” Ferrara said.
Ferrara said scenes don’t have to be from the perspective of Hanks’ middle-aged white male character who’s struggling to find his way in a new world that’s similarly disorienting to the pandemic world we find ourselves in now.
“That’s kind of where we are. We’re all trying to figure out our next path in life,” Ferrara said. “A lot of people can put their own personal challenges into that role.”
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Valerie Lodish and her husband, Chaim Lodish, have spent much of the past four months at their home in the New North End of Burlington with their three sons, ages 15, 12 and 9.
“We’re looking for just about anything to keep us doing stuff. My husband and I are both teachers so we’re hanging out all summer with our boys,” Valerie Lodish said. “(‘Cast Away’) sounded like a lot of fun.”
No one in the family is a filmmaker, but Valerie Lodish considers herself “craft-y” and is a technology integration specialist at Hunt Middle School in Burlington, so she’ll be able to put her tech knowledge to use. (Chaim Lodish…