"Despite being distanced, isolated and enduring these difficult times, we’ll continue to get through this together and New York will bounce back stronger than ever," says British-American journalist and filmmaker Shelby Wilder. That exact sentiment is at the heart of her latest short film, Voices From New York, in which she chronicles life in lockdown by talking to local folks from all different walks of life throughout this past year.
As she explains on her official website, on March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of COVID-19 a global pandemic. "One year in, New Yorkers of all ages, boroughs and backgrounds share their thoughts, hopes and fears during pandemic life," she writes as an accompaniment to her video, which she directed and produced herself and eventually released alongside Brooklyn Magazine.
"As a journalist and fellow New Yorker, I felt a sort of duty in documenting this unprecedented point in history," she explains via email. "The film served as a positive force and a motivator during a very dark time. I remember last year, like so many, being glued to the news and waking up to just horrific statistics with death tolls rising; but every time I’d listen to someone's story it would give me a bit of hope, even if it was only enough to make it through another day."
Initially reaching out to her circle of friends in New York to answer a few questions about the era, Wilder eventually expanded her reach by making use of Craigslist, Facebook, "posting up queries on street corners and joining random WhatsApp group chat."
Her goal? "I hope that anyone watching the film will know that they are not alone," she says. We're happy to report that that's exactly how we feel after watching her heartbreaking but beautiful film.
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