The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled live shows, closed movie theatres, and slowed the B.C. film industry, but for some creative young actors at Immaculate Conception school in Vancouver, it could not put a stop to the annual school play.

Grade 5 teacher Kelden Formosa said when online learning began last spring, he figured the annual school play was off the table. Then, parent Monika Mitchell (who is also an independent film producer) surprised him with an offer: to turn the 25-character skit into a movie.

They purchased 30 green poster boards from a dollar store, built a green screen in the school gymnasium, and scheduled each actor for 30-minute filming slots, alone and with two metres of distance between them and the camera.

The result? A 34-minute video titled The Glories of Ancient Greece, featuring a Grade 7 student making surprising encounters with figures from Greek mythology. It was filmed in June and aired in school classrooms in the first weeks of October.

“One parent’s efforts meant we were able to bring our school community together in a difficult time and ensure that kids didn’t lose out on one of the highlights of their regular school year,” said Formosa.

Grade 7 student Gabriel Leong, who played Hades, said the play-turned-movie was a great idea.

“It was definitely the right decision. While filming, I was less scared of making a mistake, because I knew if I did, we could just reshoot. Knowing this, I wasn’t as shy and I acted to the best of my abilities.”

Gabriel Leong as Hades.
Fraser Wallace as King Midas.
Kristina Bedford as a student who learns about the value of literature while meeting characters from Greek myths.
Luca Cassini, Hercules, hugs his dad after recording a scene.