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The Pandemic Diaries: Filmmakers on Art, Life, Filmmaking and Politics in the Age of Coronavirus

in Filmmaking
on Jul 8, 2020

In April, as we began to put together the Summer, 2020 issue of Filmmaker, we asked directors, cinematographers, editors and other film workers to send us their thoughts on the quarantine and their own creative lives. The responses printed here were collected from April through mid-June — personal statements that speak variously to individual filmmaking practices, films halted mid-production, politics, art and life.

“At Present, Many of Us are Living in the Conditions of My Speculative Fiction…”: Alison Nguyen on Her Isolated, Computer-Simulated Woman, “Andra8”

“… Every Night I Dream That I am Shooting a Film”: DP Benoit Delhomme on Life in Lockdown

“What Does It Mean To Be ‘Essential’”?: Tinx Chan on a Storyteller’s Obligation

“This is More Than a Pause, a Waiting-Out Time”: David Barker on Humanity’s Challenges

“Preparing for a Future that is Hard to Recognize Yet…”: DP Sean Price Williams Enters Time Capsules of Cinema

“I Miss 35mm Films the Most:” Gabo Arora on Not Watching Movies

“Being a Filmmaker Sometimes is a Privilege”: Linghua (Lily) Qi on a Documentarian’s Responsibility

“Projects Don’t Happen, Things Don’t Happen, You Have to Wait for Something Else”: Toby Oliver on Freelance Shooting

“We Were Living at Such an Accelerated Pace…”: Karim Ainouz on Dreaming of a Different Future

“I Sneak Out One Evening…”: Joachim Trier on the City as Empty Soundstage

“Every Civilization Has Had Its Time”: DP Ed Lachman on Quarantine Viewing and the World Outside

“Post-Production in a Post-Apocalyptic New York”: Amalia Ulman on Distance, Hard Drives and an Invisible Threat

“How Does Anyone Make Plans in This World Anymore?”: Penny Lane on Pandemics and Production Offices

“Should I Write the Virus into the Script?”: Alison Murray on Halting Production Amidst COVID-19

“I Wasn’t Interested in Just Shooting Empty Streets…”: Ellen Kuras on Democracy in Crisis

“It Makes You Rethink Your Life”: Tamar Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov on Creative Change During Quarantine

“We Were So Close to Shooting”: Jarin Blaschke on Cancelled Projects

“I Tried to Write Something Yesterday…”: Ira Sachs on Quietude, Listening and Art that Speaks to the Moment

“…The Void of Productivity From the Entire World Has Seized Me:” Alex Ross Perry on Writing During Quarantine

“Is It In This Paranoid Society That We Want to Live?”: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne on Missing Cultural Life

“Collage Frees Me to Articulate Personal Narratives Using Materials That Have Been Created By Others”: lyric r. cabral on Sound and Image

“I’m Liberated from How the Industry ‘Used to Be’”: Tricha Kumar on Tough Filmmaking Lessons

“This Crisis Has Exposed So Many Inequalities”: Brian Newman on the Need for New Systems

“COVID Seemed to Reveal the Real Virus: Laura Merians Gonçalves on Interconnections

“We Had Unknowingly Been Sheltered Inside the Circus”: Véronique N. Doumbé’s Documentary COVID Story

“How Much Risk is Involved with Even the Most Softcore Shoot?”: Stoya on Filming During Lockdown

“We Will Be Close Again Because Otherwise We Die”: Michel Reilhac Thinks about VR During Quarantine

“I Keep Thinking about Who is the Most Vulnerable Right Now…”: Michelle Handelman on Isolation and Struggle

“What Happens When Making Cinema Stops?”: Kamau Bilal Thinks About Creative Futures

“Lately It Has Been Difficult To Turn Away from Screens”: Micaela Durand and Daniel Chew on Violence, Racism and Complicity

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