Pandemic-Themed ‘Antiviral Film Project’ Launches From Darwin Shaw, Will Hawkes (EXCLUSIVE)

Dave McNary

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The coronavirus pandemic has not deterred Los Angeles-based actor-filmmakers Darwin Shaw and Will Hawkes.

The duo has launched “The Antiviral Film Project” in recent weeks as a collage of 19 shorts made by 19 film crews from 19 global communities for 19 charities, leading to three films that will be produced in traditional fashion once self-isolation ends.

“The Antiviral Film Project aims to create a new kind of international motion picture anthology about the global COVID-19 experience,” said Shaw. “It will be a journey told in three chapters — Isolation, Connection and Emergence. We will be documenting the process of virtual development in real-time, producing episodic behind-the-scenes content, taking you on the journey with us and ultimately leading to a three picture cinematic experience.”

“It is a participatory event, and our vision extends far beyond the pandemic,” said Hawkes. “We want to harness the energy of this shared focus to create stories that provide catharsis as we emerge from this crisis. The rapid advancement of the vision over so much of the globe is profoundly encouraging. We are going to create collaborations and mentorship between filmmakers and musicians around the world, fostering partnerships among established artists and emerging voices.”

Development of the first film segment in Madrid is already complete with a cast including British acting veteran Sheila Hancock and Spain’s Gonzalo Ramos. “So many gestures of solidarity and generosity and I find it really touching… that’s why I wrote this piece because I want to explore what’s going on,” said Ramos.

Other potential segments lined up include a story of rival gangs in the townships of Cape Town, South Africa, having joined together during the pandemic; the emergence of a rap music scene among the Mapuche Indians in Chile; and a Ugandan filmmaker who makes films on his own for Ethiopian Airlines.

Shaw has acting credits on “Casino Royale,” “Homeland” and “House of Cards” while Hawkes credits include “Sun Valley,” “The Politician” and “R.V.” They have formed Six Feet Films to oversee their plan to curate the three films.

“For the first time in living history, the entire global community is united,” said Shaw. “Our interconnectedness is no longer in doubt.

The duo met several years ago when a mutual friend in the acting community invited them to a birthday party on a sort of “creative blind date.”

“He thought we were creatively aligned with a similar international outlook and that we would get on,” Shaw said. “He was right. And we have been working together on our acting auditions and writing projects. So when I came up with the concept – I called Will right away and he jumped straight in. We cleared our schedules and grew the idea together and haven’t stopped since. Despite the crazy number for hours we have been Zooming, facetime, calling and whatapping, we found a natural working relationship and creative trust which has been amazing.”

Here’s the video about “The Antiviral Film Project”:

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