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Film Free or Die



As the industry finds remote production alternatives during Covid-19, Mr+Positive founder Peter Grasse hopes that when the crisis subsides the industry will remember the creative importance of travel and adventure

Film Free or Die

Egad! I’ve been reading the news. It’s dreadful. They’re suggesting to replace directors with remote robotic cameras. They’re advocating hiring only locals instead of the best.

Is this the future of production as we know it? If so, then rip off the mask and take away the soap! I can’t go on. 

With countries shutting their borders and flights dropping like flies, we might see our wings clipped for the time being, but does that mean we should give up the creative magic of production travel for good? Perhaps not. 

We might find ourselves shut down or in quarantine, but let's not allow that to turn us into shut-ins for ever more. Without the impetus of impassioned production, all will most certainly be lost. 

The unique perspective of a foreign eye revealed through provincial tools and labour. The producer who’s seen and conquered the impossible. The driven director that transforms our every day into exceptional excellence. Without these positive personas, my life as a line producer would simply not be worthwhile. 

Production only just survived the bean-counters. Technology didn’t derail filmmaking but, instead, the craft of filmmaking motivated technology. Year after year, we continue to tell stories through commerce, and our appetite to make more keeps this art alive. Now they want us to give up rubbing shoulders with the best? No. Never!

Mind you, the poor players that strut and fret their hour upon our local stage can continue to forgo the trip. The wanna-be business class hacks dreaming of sushi will never be better than our own and should stay home. 

Yet, the fun geniuses, the inspiring special people…The Kuntz’s, the Hoytema’s, the Traktor’s, Kefali’s and Wright’s. They need to travel to new landscapes far and wide to open our eyes and enliven our hearts. They help us locals to be our best and entertain the world in return. Not to mention the stories, the wisdom, and spirited good-natured camaraderie… we wouldn’t give it up for the world. 

And so, the world should not give up! A life lived in fear is a life half-lived, and future is bright! Many places are back on track, and when the crisis passes - which it will - filmmakers will have a renewed energy eager to nourish audiences hunger for real, raw, mind-expanding content. The stuff that robots and remote controls cannot make.

Besides, you can’t fake Tokyo in Toronto! And why would you? Like many locations, Japan is open for business. Spring and pre-production are already in the air. Tokyo experienced the initial bog-roll panic, now gripping the rest of the world, and put a lid on it quick-smart to produce a speedy recovery. Now low on the global list, and looking to the Olympics, Japan has risen back to being the safest, cleanest, and friendliest production place on Earth. 

So, rather than kowtowing to fear and trying to sell production some soft remote solution, let’s support our top talent to get back on the horse and create work we can all be proud of. The resulting interactivity is what sustains our future and gladdens us all. 

Peter Grasse is founder of awarded production service company, Mr+Positive Tokyo. 

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