As a narrative framework, Director and Producer, Nathan Crooker created a fictional world many months into the future that is based around the current global pandemic. All eleven filmmakers used the same unifying framework in creating their stories. The filmmakers were tasked with how to stay creative using only what was available to them at the time. They were not allowed to use Zoom or any other video conferencing services and were only allowed to use the equipment and resources they had with them when they entered into lockdown, including cast and crew, adhering to their respective COVID-19 protocols.
As Fil Eisler‘s opening credits crawl across the screen, and you hear his eerie score, you already feel you’re in for something unsettling. Nathan Crooker is behind the concept of Isolation. His instructions to fellow filmmakers? Solely use what you have at your disposal in lockdown. Each sequence transition utilizes Eisler’s animation to highlight a new city and story. It’s sheer perfection.
Larry Fessenden‘s piece “Fever” is precisely that; a wildly dark, creatively shot, fever dream. It nailed the undying spirit of New York and hit me square in the chest. Andrew Kasch‘s film “5G” takes a conspiracy theory angle. It’s that online alt-right anger we know all too well. But how they communicate with our man Chad is altogether something new. Cody Goodfellow‘s script is clever. Paranoia takes hold in Dennie Gordon‘s “The Dread” as a husband and wife hole up in their Los Angeles hillside home. Are their fears so unfounded after all?
Bobby Roe‘s “Pacific Northwest” broke my heart into a million pieces. What would happen if my kids had to survive on their own? It destroys me to let my mind go to that place. Co-written by Zack Andrews, this one kept my pulse pounding. Written and directed by Adam Brown and Kyle I. Kelley, “Meat Hands” was unexpected. Loneliness is a killer, but so is interacting with people in a pandemic. Physical intimacy is vital to survival. Cleverly connecting back to “5G,” Alix Austin and Keith Siewert‘s “It’s Inside” takes place in London. Pushing 5G and chemtrail theories, YouTuber Paige believes someone is inside her flat. Bravo for the practical FX and sound editing because it all makes you cringe.
The palpable sadness of Zach Passero‘s film “Gust” is unavoidable. Outside of the pandemic, it touches the monotony of motherhood and its emotional isolation day in and day out. “Homebodies” by Alexandra Neary sees an investigative journalist come upon a horror he did not expect. The film taps into the sensationalism that’s crept into the media. If you weren’t waiting for Cuomo’s daily updates last year, you were seeing the same images of empty streets and not much else. I was not expecting this more traditional turn. It was awesome. Finally, we find ourselves in Berlin with Christian Pasquariello‘s “Comfort Zone.” If this doesn’t scream governmental and scientific transparency to viewers, I don’t know what will. It’s a super slick cherry on top of Isolation‘s overall storytelling.
Isolation taps into authentic fears. For anyone unfamiliar, what a fantastic introduction to the work of these filmmakers. The length and uniqueness of styles keep you hovering on the edge of your seat. You don’t have a moment to get settled.
*Available on VOD Tomorrow, November 2nd, 2021*
Produced by Nathan Crooker
Dennie Gordon (Jack Ryan, Legion, Hunters, Waco)
Larry Fessenden (“The Last Winter,” “Habit,” “Depraved”),
Bobby Roe, (“The Houses October Built 1&2”)
Andrew Kasch, (“Tales Of Halloween”),
Zach Passero (“Wicked Lake”)
Christian Pasquariello (“Alien Invasion: S.U.M. 1”)
Alexandra Neary (“The Innocent”)
Alix Austin & Keir Siewert (“Retch”)
Kyle I. Kelley & Adam Brown (“The Music Lesson”)