In March of this year, when everyone went into lockdown because of the COVID pandemic, Dan Presser (a graduate of SHS) and his wife Beth, came up with Quarantine 2020 Productions, a creative and fun way to keep themselves and their two toddlers, Maddie and Barton, entertained and sane.
They started with an editing app that would make making movies easy. Dan, who has 15 years of experience in TV, designed the storyboards for filming. Beth was the costumer, set designer and make-up artist. They chose a collection of well-known films and put the kids in short clips from each movie. Maddie often plays the main roles, with Barton, who doesn’t talk yet, but does a lot of crying, serving as the support cast. The movies started simple with The Lion King and added more special effects and more “actors” as they got farther along. The movies include short (2-3 minute) parodies from Pretty Woman, The Shining, Hook, Field of Dreams, A League of Their Own, Forrest Gump, Braveheart, Mrs. Doubtfire and Almost Famous to name a few.
The original parodies were just Barton and Maddie, but technology allowed them to include more kids, whose parents recorded specific parts, sent them to Dan to stitch together and gave them the ability to increase what they could do with more speaking parts. Kids from Nebraska, New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, Washington, D.C and Massachusetts have been included in different productions.
“We have tried to teach our kids that no matter how miserable social distancing is, it could always be worse. In the words of our lead actress, ‘Some kids don’t even have Mac and Cheese.’ We are trying to teach them there are other ways to make people smile without being near them, so the kids wanted to raise some money to help fight hunger and struggles caused by the pandemic.” One of the Disney charities, Feeding America, was chosen as the recipient for donations made through Quarantine 2020 Productions.
Feeding America is the leading domestic hunger relief organization with a nationwide network of 200 food banks. To date over $26,000 has been raised for Feeding America by Quarantine 2020 Productions, including a generous donation from motivational speaker Tony Robbins.
The movie clips have been shown on the Today Show, the MLB Network (where Dan used to work), the NHL Network, the CBS Morning Show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, Good Morning America, CNN, the Washington Post and just recently it was picked up internationally on five continents.
So, if you’re looking for a smile and a chance to donate to a worthy cause, go to YouTube and look up Quarantine 2020 Productions.