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Cabin Fever – A Lockdown Movie Project

South African No-Crew Feature Film Completed in Lockdown.

Principal photography has wrapped on Cabin Fever, a South African feature film created under lockdown conditions, and the trailer has just been released.

The world’s first feature film to be created under lockdown conditions, Cabin Fever had no crew and used no specialist movie equipment. Filmed by the cast using only phones and laptops, the script was written in instalments as a series of video calls, messages and meetings, and was tailored to the locations and the props available.

In March 2020, South African filmmaker Tim Greene put out a call on social media for actors to join him in a unique challenge; To create and shoot a feature film without using any crew or any specialist movie equipment. Hundreds of actors responded, eleven were cast, and the script was written specifically for them, tailored to the locations and props available in lockdown.

Cabin Fever tells the story of Sarah Clayburn, played by Jenna Upton, a successful commercial artist living under lockdown, alone at the family home in Cape Town, and trying to hold together a dysfunctional and fragmented family, scattered across the globe. Set a year into the future, during ‘the second lockdown’, her husband Andrew, as played by James Cuningham, is trapped in Abu Dhabi, and going slowly out of his mind, while his three adult children struggle to cope with isolation in Australia, Wales and South Africa.

When Sarah learns that their mother, Andrew’s first wife Deborah, played by Michelle Scott, is dying of the Corona virus, she organizes an online family gathering in an attempt to facilitate reconciliation between the kids and their mother, who abandoned them to join a religious order when they were very young.

Keenan Arrison, Ndoni Khanyile, Skye Russell, Bonko Khoza, Tem Muller, Lesesgo Chabedi, Jessica Pietersen Scott and Angela Lieveaux, complete the cast of this feature.

Told through a succession of video calls, meetings and messages, Cabin Fever is a haunting and emotional story of a family flung to the far corners of the globe, reaching out across the void to find intimacy, understanding and eventually forgiveness.

The process of filmmaking under the lockdown, saw for quite possibly the cheapest feature film ever made, with a budget of nothing at all. Cabin Fever was possible thanks to the astonishing wealth of tools and applications available online. The project was announced and the cast assembled on Facebook. Over a month of shooting, the actors and director remained in close online contact over where scripted scenes were posted, read, discussed and revised.

The filmmakers are currently in negotiation to find a home for the film on a streaming platform.

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