Snapshot: Olympia Christofinis (Malaysia, 2016/17)
This is a narrative of survival and hope revealing that even in our darkest hour we can still find light. The film will serve as a poetic narrative that celebrates human vulnerability and strength.
New film project: Loneliness in lockdown
The other day, an older woman visited a café for a takeaway coffee. She broke down in tears. When asked what was wrong, she replied saying it was her first time leaving the house in twelve weeks. Twelve whole weeks she stayed home with barely any contact from real people.
Screens cannot replace human contact.
Loneliness affected so many of us before lockdown. And now, with lockdown and enforced social distancing measures, the distress of it all has amplified the feeling of loneliness by ten-fold. I read an article by The Guardian that documented the extreme effects of loneliness during lockdown, where one woman said that despite living with her partner, she struggled to cope.
There have been points at which I felt completely isolated, despite living with three other people. Which led to me think: How must others without anyone nearby have felt? What are the longterm ramifications of our society’s mental health as a result of lockdown and social distancing?
The idea of creating this poetic film on loneliness in lockdown is one that has been brewing for a couple of months. The film is meant to be an exploration of loneliness during this distressing time where ambiguity and instability seems to be the new normal. I want the film to not just show what loneliness feels like but to take the viewer on a journey where they leave feeling hopeful. And then it hit me – I watched an art-house documentary that focused on dance and movement. It left me feeling elated and hopeful. The power of movement can lift and encourage.
The film will be stitched together by a series of interviews of what people went through and how they felt during lockdown – their feelings of angst, fear and loneliness – and, more importantly, how they coped and survived it through it all. The interviews will be accompanied by gorgeous visuals of a dancer representing the feeling of the interviewee. This is a narrative of survival and hope revealing that even in our darkest hour we can still find light. The film will serve as a poetic narrative that celebrates human vulnerability and strength.
To make this film, I need your help. I’m first creating a proof-of-concept teaser (around 1.5 to 2 minutes long) as a pitching tool to help get funding for the short film. I need five (5) contributors to interview about their experience during lockdown. They will not be filmed, and so anonymity will be maintained. The interview will be recorded and can be done remotely. The only requirement is that they have a stable internet connection.
If you or anyone you know have felt pangs of loneliness, anxiety or sadness at any point during lockdown, I welcome your story and your voice. If you’re interested in collaborating or learning more, please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org or @olliechristoff on Twitter).
The power of creativity
One of the reasons I’m drawn to the creative industries is the limitless impact stories have to shape our perspective of the world around us. There’s always a story to tell; my job is to find and harness it. And there are so many mediums to tell one’s story.
Dance, like math, is a language with no boundaries. It communicates through physicality and movement, which almost everyone can relate to in some capacity. A big part of how we communicate is through body language. Bodies often reveal more truth more than the words said.
Art of all forms is integral in addressing the social and political issues we face every day. It creates conversation and discourse; it points out flaws and holes; it can hold our government officials accountable; it celebrates the spirit of creativity and human expression; it can be the vehicle that incites emotions and feelings.
A neuroscientist once told me that we are emotional creatures who happen to think; not thinking creatures who happen to feel. For anything to have any kind of lasting impact, we must feel and the creative mediums are the champions of inciting emotion.
I’m a writer, director and producer and I love storytelling in all its forms. My experience so far includes developing and producing stories for both the stage and screen as well as journalism. I have worked on both scripted and unscripted TV projects spanning comedy, drama, factual entertainment and documentary. Recently, I was awarded a bursary for the National Theatre Playwriting Course and a film I’m producing was shortlisted for funding from BAFTA-GSA. I thrive on collaborating with performers and writers to discover new and unexpected stories and voices.
I’m currently working on directing a proof-of-concept teaser trailer to apply for funding to make a film about loneliness in lockdown. The film will be stitched together by a series of interviews of what people went through and how they felt during lockdown – their feelings of angst, fear and loneliness – and, more importantly, how they coped and survived it through it all. Each snippet of the interview will be accompanied by gorgeous visuals of dancers representing the feeling of the interviewee. This is a narrative celebrating human vulnerability and strength, one of survival and hope, revealing that even in our darkest hour we can still find light.