The Italian production house Stand By Me, a part of Asacha Media Group, and the public service broadcaster Rai have joined forces to bring back the kids’ series JAMS for a special, COVID-19-themed season.
The five-part special season will see the protagonists’ lives turned upside down by the lockdowns that followed the outbreak of COVID-19. The four friends must adapt to their new reality, preserving their friendships while experiencing the world almost exclusively through their computers and mobile phones. The JAMS special is slated to launch on Rai Ragazzi (Rai Kids) and digital platform RaiPlay this June.
The special is being filmed within a three-week timeline while complying with all aspects of the Italian government’s COVID-19 safety measures. Three sets have been built to allow parallel filming, with no more than two actors on the same set at any time who are observing social-distancing restrictions. The program’s showrunner and director work remotely via monitors connected to each set to allow for real-time interaction with the cast and up to four crewmembers.
Created by Simona Ercolani, Stand By Me’s founder, CEO and creative director, JAMS tells the story of Joy, Alice, Max and Stefano, four inseparable friends living typical, middle school lives. The series is filmed using “constructed reality,” with the cast improvising from an outline of a script, creating spontaneous and authentic dialogue that resonates with young viewers. The new special will feature season two guest star, X Factor finalist Martina Attili, who returns for an online singing contest that the four friends decide to enter from the confinement of their bedrooms.
A further full-length series of the show has also been picked up by Rai and will air at a later date. JAMS is distributed internationally by Rai Com.
Luca Milano, head of Rai Ragazzi (Rai Kids), said: “The hashtag of this new season of JAMS is #NeverBeenCloser, which not only refers to our protagonists in the show but is also intended for all the children and teens in Italy and elsewhere who have been experiencing life in quarantine. Our mission is to be relevant and authentic for our young viewers, and we immediately supported Simona’s proposal to produce this extraordinary TV series, helping kids to feel a sense of community even when they cannot be together in the same place.”
Ercolani, who in addition to her leadership of Stand By Me serves as group chief creative officer for entertainment, factual and kids for Asacha Media Group, added: “Our ongoing partnership with Rai for JAMS has resulted in some of Stand By Me’s best ever work. I want to pay tribute to the outstanding production teams and cast for this new series, all of whom have risen to the challenges of the current environment to deliver a genuinely inspiring show.”
Asacha Media Group Co-Founders Gaspard de Chavagnac, Marina Williams (co-CEO) and Marc-Antoine d’Halluin (vice chairman of the supervisory board and chairman of Stand By Be), jointly commented: “The resourcefulness and skill behind this latest production of JAMS underscore the impressive track record that Simona and her team at Stand By Me have built. We are immensely proud to have such a high standard of creativity and commitment within our newly launched group.”