Movie sets |  The seventh wave is taking its toll

Movie sets | The seventh wave is taking its toll

More than ever, the pandemic is affecting televisions. During the last weeks, the cases of COVID-19 have forced to stop the filming of many series, such as Alerts, My mother, The emperor Y Indefensible.

Posted at 7:00 am

Marc-Andre Lemieux

Marc-Andre Lemieux

In June, producer Michel d’Astous was forced to suspend filming on the psychological drama. My mother when an actor tested positive for coronavirus. Expected in the fall on TVA, the series starring Chantal Fontaine paints the portrait of a woman who receives a diagnosis of bipolarity at the age of 58, while finishing a stay in prison.

Given the current rules that a comedian who contracts COVID-19 isolate for 10 days after the first symptoms appear, production was halted for almost a week. Even director François Bouvier (breakups, 30 lives) he fell ill.

This outage caused headaches for Duo Productions, the company behind My mother. Especially for a matter of money.

“Four days to resume, the bill goes up,” says Michel d’Astous, who also signs the texts of the telenovela with Anne Boyer. “One hour dramas for less than $40,000 a day, I don’t know many of them. »


filming of My mothernew series from authors Anne Boyer and Michel d’Astous

Fortunately, there is still the government fund that helps cover the costs of stopping filming a TV series or movie due to coronavirus infections.

Scheduling has also complicated Duo Productions’ postponement operation, especially in times of labor shortages. “I want to postpone filming, but our actors are engaged elsewhere afterwards. The technicians too… Last week, we brought in a pole vaulter from Quebec for two days because our pole vaulter had tested positive and no one was available in Montreal. It’s not easy,” testifies Michel d’Astous.

“It’s dropping like flies! »

indignant My mother, The emperor is also one of the series that had a forced hiatus recently. Michelle Allen’s new offer (Run away, The escape) to be broadcast by Noovo next winter, traces the rise of one attacker and shows how his victims fight for the truth to come out.

“I really had to stop filming for several days,” producer Sophie Deschênes (Sovimage) confirms by phone.


filming of the series My mother

The seventh wave of COVID-19 that hits Quebec greatly affects audiovisual production, comments Mme Deschenes.

“No production escapes him. There are so many cases everywhere. In my productions, it drops like flies! “, reveals who also has just managed the filming ofbefore the accident for Radio Canada andHotel for VAT

Anne and Arnaud, Alerts, Counteroffer Y IndefensibleTVA’s daily news also momentarily fell into the fray, says Nicola Merola, president of Pixcom.

The return of the mask

To curb this carnage, most growers have made it mandatory to wear a mask at work. Fabienne Larouche, Michel Trudeau and Guillaume Lespérance, who have just started shooting Conditionthe medical fiction that will triumph District 31 in September on ICI Télé, have notably adopted this strategy.

These are more restrictive standards than elsewhere since in the spring, the Quebec government removed all health measures.

Public Health no longer requires the use of a mask, but it is not realistic to think that we can ask 30-40 people to be together for 32 days without an outbreak.

Michel d’Astous, producer

“Outside life has resumed and the variants are clearly very contagious,” says Nicola Merola.

“If there were no masks, honestly, the outbreaks would increase quite exponentially, estimates Sophie Deschênes. Because in 2020 and 2021, people were going straight home after their day at work. nobody had a party weekend. No one wanted to get COVID because everyone was scared to death. Today, the spirit has changed. »

The worst to come?

The crisis that productions are currently going through makes us fear the worst for the fall, particularly due to the return to school.

Urbania’s senior director of original productions, Annie Bourdeau, recently finished filming a new fiction entitled seems to gothat Télé-Québec intends to present in January 2023. Although no interruption in filming has affected its series, the production company is concerned about the rest.

“I’m talking about it, and I’m not looking forward to it. This is a major problem right now. »

The same story with Myriam Verreault. Director of 5me Rangewho will take the reins in almost a month, recently contracted COVID-19 while shooting the short film with Brigitte Poupart Till we dieProduced by Voyelles Films.

“I did 120 days of filming in a pandemic without ever getting infected,” says Myriam Verreault in an interview.

It was my first session without a mask in two years. I was super happy to shoot without him. I had a feeling of freedom. But two days later, boom! i was positive

Myriam Verreault, Director

“It’s not the easy summer we expected,” he continues.

Uncertainty has not finished hanging over the television industry.

“Every morning, at 8:15, I think: ‟Oh Lord… Are we doing our day?” sums up Michel d’Astous. Currently filming a series is like playing Russian roulette. »

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