Chicago (March 9)

Marvin’s old boss from when he worked in advertising and Covino’s high school friends made it to a screening of The Climb at an AMC multiplex. It was organized by Cinema Chicago, an organization that has year-round programming in addition to the fall’s Chicago International Film Festival. It was a special night, but this leg of the trip was marked by the realization that things were taking a turn in the world at large.

Google in Chicago had scheduled a talk with the filmmakers, but five minutes before they went in, the tech giant sent out a company-wide announcement stating no one was allowed host any events. “We walked in and there were two people in the audience. We did a 45-minute talk with two people in the audience, but they apparently recorded it and streamed it to their employees. But it was quite funny,” said Covino.

Michael Angelo Covino The Climb

The Climb goes to Chicago

On Accepting the Things You Can’t Control

With just over a week to go before the film was to debut in Los Angeles and New York City, real questions began to ring out about the viability of that plan. “It was weird because our days were still busy talking to people. It didn’t change the busyness that we were experiencing, but it was constantly on our mind. We were having conversations with our PR team about a new plan,” said Marvin. An immense amount of data was bombarding everyone in real time, as they tried to process the spread of the disease, what was being passed in terms of legislation, and what it all meant for their movie.

“When you don’t have control over something, you can’t really get too upset. You’ve just got to roll with it. We understood that there was something occurring that was bigger than our film and that will have economic impacts on other far greater industries. We took it all with a grain of salt and said, ‘We’re going be as optimistic as we can and plow forward until we’re told we can’t anymore,’” explained Covino.

The more they flew, the emptier the planes kept getting. At first the lines were not as long as usual, then they were strangely short, and then the lines entirely disappeared. The eeriness of sitting inside a sparsely occupied aircraft was striking. “On our fly last flight there were only one or two people for each row. You had all the space in the world, which was crazy,” said Marvin.

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