Hewlett High School graduate and Woodmere native Andrew Kevelson is an enthusiastic independent filmmaker who overcame the challenges of filming his latest short film during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2019 University of Southern California graduate shot the dark comedy “The Director’s Cut” at the Village of Valley Stream Court Building. Production began at the beginning of September and lasted for roughly three days. The film stars seasoned costume designer, Luca Mosca.
“I started writing this in January before Covid and I originally planned to start shooting in April,” Kevelson said. “By the end of February I had an idea that things weren’t going to go as originally planned. A filmmaker friend of mine is from China and he was telling me that Covid was coming to the U.S. and it was going to be bad.” This is Kevelson’s fourth short film project.
Despite filming during the pandemic, Kevelson said he was proud that everyone on set felt and stayed safe throughout production. “We took every single protocol seriously and we did everything to make sure everyone was safe,” he said. “We all got tested several times leading into the shoot. While on set, everyone was wearing a mask except for the actors when they’re filming a scene. Even when the actors are rehearsing for a scene, they have their masks on.” Kevelson added that there were an average of 10 people on set per day.
Justin Doyle worked as the producer on the project and has known Kevelson for roughly five years. He explained the difference of producing during the pandemic as compared to normal circumstances.
“Producing anything under Covid regulations is very challenging as the location we rented from, had to be cleaned and deep cleaned like it has never before,” Doyle said. “Let’s not forget all the PPE that is needed to keep the location, cast and crew happy, safe and healthy. Just right there before we get on set is an already added expense.”
Doyle noted Kevelson’s doggedness when it comes to putting together projects. “Andrew has such a strong vision and very interesting work ethic,” he said. “He sets a mark for the budget and then makes sure he makes that money to fund the project. As soon as he gets his mind set on something, he is like a train that won’t stop until he gets to that destination.”
Kevelson hopes that his film can encourage other filmmakers to feel safe to film during the pandemic. “A lot of people are understandably nervous about shooting during this time,” he said. “Not that we have the perfect formula for it, but I think it would be nice if people knew that there’s some structure to filming during these times and that it can be done safely.”