In the Midst of a Pandemic The Magpie Film Company Makes a Case for Old School Filmmaking

Even with the limitations of filming during the COVID-19 outbreak, independent filmmakers still find ways to tell their stories.

Pasadena, CA, October 29, 2020 --( Skeleton crews. Small casts. Isolated sets. It’s something you would have seen in the heyday of 90’s indie filmmaking. But with social distancing and strict limits on crew sizes, things that once used to serve for budgetary reasons now serve for safety. Some organizations, like The Magpie Film Company, are using this to their advantage.

Filming has wrapped on the company’s first documentary, a partnership with Brill Productions entitled, "SHAKEN: THE GREAT SYLMAR EARTHQUAKE." The project is helmed by and stars KNX veteran Bob Brill.

Shot by, and coproduced by Edward Gusts, this is Brill's story. He lived through it and is determined to make sure that it is told right. Despite the trauma, the shoot serves as a reunion of sorts. If these were normal times, the interviews would end with hugs and perhaps a trip out for drinks. But, like their lives after the earthquake, the filmmaking landscape is forever changed.

In some of the shots, plexiglass partitions between filmmakers and crew are clearly visible; highlighting both the current state of emergency and the one the interviewees lived through. However, the camaraderie and joy at reunion reminds us that in many ways tragedies often bring communities together.

Magpie's next production "RIDGECREST," a piecemeal shoot scheduled for mid December, is far different. An indie film in the style of the heyday of the mid 90’s, the film focuses on character and internal struggle. It is doubtful to have been noticed if the world that we live in had not retreated into itself. With a skeleton crew and no scenes planned with more than three actors, intimacy and isolation feel like characters in their own right.

In basements and apartments, via zoom and handheld cameras, filmmakers are still finding ways to tell their stories.

For Gusts and others like him, this great slow down is a chance to tell personal stories that truly matter to them.
The Magpie Film Company
Edward Gusts