Creative Responses to Covid-19

Virtual Cinema | Shorts Programme

Thu 01 Jan 1970


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Creative Responses to Covid-19

A still taken from the short film 'Self-isolation' a man wearing headphones sits in front of a laptop.

Creative Responses to Covid-19

Shorts Programme


We understand that not everyone is ready to return to the cinema, but we’re not going to let that get in the way of you accessing great cultural activity. Welcome to our Virtual Cinema – bringing exciting film activity straight to your sofa!

Creative Responses to Covid-19 – Shorts Programme

See the short films that perfectly embodied the oddities/ambivalence of the lockdown, and managed to forge some creative hope out of 2020.

The last 12 months have been one heck of an absolute emotional roller coaster. No matter how wild your bingo card of predictions for the new decade was, 2020 definitely came out of the blocks faster, harder and much crazier than any of us could have ever predicted.

So if 2020 has left you wanting to perpetually shout, ‘Thanks, I hate it!’ at the top of your lungs, and you could do with knowing you aren’t alone in feeling that way, these are the shorts for you. We invite you to treat yourself to an hour of shorts that will remind you that, together, we can get through this!


Short Films

Evading Stagnation – Shannon Tarbet (Winner – 1st Competition)
UK, 2020, 2min20

Actress Shannon Tarbet (Killing Eve) made short film EVADING STAGNATION as ‘an artistic guide to evading stagnation’ during self-isolation. Shannon insightfully offers tips to stay creative and focused during these uncertain times, delving into her own coping mechanisms.

Self-Isolation – Mordecai (Special Mention)
UK, 2020, 6min 44

‘This is the effect that self-isolation has on the mind, from the perspective of a 12-year-old.’

Described as ‘the new Alain De Botton’ by some of DocHouse’s followers, Mordecai takes us on a journey through the first days of lockdown when schools were closed and he finds himself with much more time on his hands. What to do with all this time? Well, how about turning your house into a film set?

Box of Strawberries – Marina Shupac (Winner – 2nd Competition)
UK, 2020, 2min48

Whilst the Prime Minister urged the public to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives, charter flights were being rapidly organised to fly in fruit and vegetable pickers from Eastern European countries. 

Film student and Moldavian Marina inventively explores the connections (and hypocrisies) that were keeping the UK running at that time – all via a box of strawberries.

Let me stay Blue – Behzad Zeinali (Winner – 3rd Competition)
UK, 2020, 5min39

This expertly crafted doc is a powerful visual poem that creatively uses archive material. Woven together by a great soundscape, the archive images in this short link two big issues: the ongoing pandemic isolation and the climate crisis. 

Two Nations – Kunyalala Ndlovu
UK, 2020, 5min45

Atlas Rixon stitches together this perfectly judged response prior to the Black Lives Matter protests that were sparked in response to the killing of George Floyd in the midst of the pandemic.

Splitting his screen into two separate frames, Rixon juxtaposes the discontent taking place in the streets of the US with the ostentatious symbols and voices of America today, and plays contemporary footage against powerful archive footage of the African American experience during the Jim Crow and Civil Rights Era.

Lifting Lockdown – Hector Ziegel (Winner – Student Competition)
UK, 2020, 7min39

Aged just eighteen, Hector Ziegel won our first student competition strand with his London-based documentary that explored the capital’s gradual transition to ‘unlocking lockdown.’

Getting out on the city’s streets, he speaks to a variety of Londoners of all ages and walks of life, and asks them how the experiences of lockdown had been for them, and how they were coping with adjusting to the summer’s ‘new normal.’

September’s Children – Roberta Chiroli (Winner Special Recognition)
UK, 2020, 6min03

Whilst mainstream media stresses the importance of school and education from an institutional perspective, this short film explores the experience of two 8 year old twins facing a new normality due to the global pandemic. Roberta won the Special Recognition category in Bertha DocHouse’s 4th Short-Doc competition.

The Year Of Lost Music – Joe Lee (Winner 4th comp)
UK, 2020, 10min03

The music industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. The Year of Lost Music explores the effects from different people involved in live music and looks at the re-emergence of the live music industry into a dramatically changed world. 

Here from bands like The Tiger Moths and Wild Violets, as well as music venues like Brighton’s Hope and Ruin, as they discuss the challenges and the opportunities faced.

Unlocking Hunger in Lockdown – Anton Califano (Special Mention)
UK, 2020, 9min42

This moving doc collects the stories of the volunteers and community organisations in Woolwich, south east London, as they came together during the Covid-19 lockdown to make sure that local people in need don’t go without food.

Through a well-organised cooking and delivery scheme carried out by volunteers and furloughed workers, food parcels have been delivered throughout the borough to local people from the start of lockdown and beyond.


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