It’s day 3 of the enforced lockdown in New Zealand, and it’s definitely time for another batch of excellent resources and sanity savers for creatives during the COVID-19 outbreak. Previously I had provided resources for filmmakers who had experienced festival cancellations, as well as what Film Sprites PR is doing to help these filmmakers, but I want to expand that even further.
We’re all experiencing a time of great distress, uncertainty and confusion. Many creatives and freelancers have been hit hard by cancellations. In my case, I had both film publicity contracts and a production slate that was decimated almost overnight. As well as being a publicist and a fledgling producer, I’m also a creative and an advocate of the arts, so my way of coping with this crisis is to HELP. Below are various ways to assist creatives to upskill, find assistance and also take advantage of any free resources that are available right now. I’m also including ways in which everyone can assist creatives, especially in your local community. While it’s noble that well-known performers are giving free concerts, I want people to spare a thought for your local filmmakers, musicians and performers who have had their events cancelled and don’t have the luxury of the amounts of income and residuals that these well-known artists have.
Enough of my waffling- onto the resources!
Courses and Resources
Doc NYC has made an exceptional list of resources for filmmakers available (we’re on the list!), including classes, events, emergency funding and relevant articles. Also included on this list that is well worth noting is that Sundance Co//ab have made their Master Classes Archive FREE. There’s a wealth of incredible Master Classes available, covering excellent topics and there’s something for everyone. Sundance Co//ab also has an excellent Resources page which is worth checking out.
At the start of the year I made a list of courses and resources to help you level up your filmmaking career, which is still useful now if you are looking to do some additional upskilling. We also have free resources to assist filmmakers with publicity, social media marketing and crowdfunding. We also have a list of great reads for filmmakers that might be of interest.
Free to Watch
This year’s SXSW Festival was one of the festivals cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but you can watch nearly all of this year’s Festival’s short film collection online. If you’ve loved seeing the National Theatre Live programme in cinemas (or, indeed, if you’ve been lucky enough to see the shows in the theatre), the National Theatre is giving audiences National Theatre at Home, starting with One Man, Two Guvnors on April 2. There’s also a wealth of free plays and musicals available right now at Filmed Onstage.
IndieWire has a list of the 15 Best Short Films Now Streaming From Great Directors, which includes films from David Lowery (A Ghost Story), Andrea Arnold (American Honey), Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) and more.
New Zealand director Floris Van Gaalen has made his short film, Hollow Minds available to view. The film is about a struggling filmmaker makes a film about a struggling filmmaker (yes, you read that right!).
Another New Zealand-based filmmaker,Martin Sagadin, has also made their films available for free online, including feature film Spring Interlude which debuted at the New Zealand International Film Festival in 2019.
Getting Creative in Self-Isolation
You might not feel like getting creative during this time, but if your creativity is firing and you’re looking for a great way to harness it the BBC Writersroom has announced the Interconnected competition, a scriptwriting competition about two to four characters in self-isolation, who connect via online video conferencing. There’s also the Shoestring Film Challenge: Lockdown Edition, New Zealand filmmaking challenge to make a short film in one month with a budget of $20.
If, like me, you’ve been watching more films during self-isolation (or are looking to do so), I created the Self-Isolation Film Festival on Letterboxd; a sort of at home festival list of great films to watch. Nick Cave recently wrote a beautiful post about the current situation that is well worth a read. YouTuber Karolina Żebrowska created a fun video about what a WWII booklet taught her about living in isolation which is a great watch.
How We Can Help Creatives and the Creative Industries
Here’s a few ideas about how we can help our fellow creatives in the current climate, as well as how we can help the creative industries rebuild from this experience:
- Many local creative organisations and charities have been putting together surveys on how COVID-19 has affected creatives. If you have been impacted by loss of income, cancellation of performances, etcetera, please consider filling out these surveys to assist with the data collection which will help these organisations assess the current situation and plan for the future.
- You may have seen many musicians performing free concerts at home, which is incredibly generous, but please consider also giving your time, attention and donations to lesser-known performers to assist them during this difficult time. If they have a Patreon and you have the capacity to contribute, please think about doing so.
- The easiest way to assist fellow creatives is by sharing their content on social media. Whether it’s a quick re-tweet of the link to their short film or a Facebook post advertising an up-coming online performance, it really does help. It’s a time to be united in our creative endeavours- let’s lift one another up!