February 9, 2021 5.10 pm This story is over 7 months old

Emotional short film from Lincolnshire captures lockdown struggle

It won a national film award

A short movie filmed entirely on Zoom by a teenage Lincolnshire director has captured the difficulty of coronavirus quarantine among older people.

Happy Together was filmed during the first national coronavirus lockdown, directed by Grantham-born Oscar Hewitt, and starring local amateur actors Geoff Middleton and Julie Holmes.

It follows the story of Harold and Dot Ainsworth, a married couple of 33 years who have had to quarantine away from one another.

Harold and Dot Ainsworth talk on Zoom each day in the movie. | Photo: Oscar Hewitt

The film’s dialogue and entire plot is based around Zoom calls between the two, with filming being done on computer webcams.

Oscar’s work on the film was recognised by the London Arthouse Film Festival, winning the 2020 award for Best Short Film on Global Pandemic.

Happy Together showcases the wide range of emotions that have been felt in lockdown. | Photo: Oscar Hewitt

The Lincolnite spoke to Oscar about the process of making a film during COVID-19.

The 19-year-old freelance filmmaker has completed a course at East15 acting school, and hopes to continue writing poignant films long into the future.

He said: “We were all learning with every step.

“Being on screens makes it very difficult to feel real human interaction, but the actors Geoff and Julie did an exceptional job, especially if you consider that they’d never met in person.

“Even though this was difficult, the fact that Zoom was the very centre of the film, it meant that I could actually create my first film, probably years before I would’ve been able to otherwise!

Oscar continued: “I like to write films that have a reason for existing.

“The reasoning for this film being that elderly people were struggling every day, and I don’t think enough people were talking about it.

“We actually used the film as a fundraiser for AgeUK Lincoln and South Lincolnshire, and as of now have raised about £430 including gift aid.”

Geoff Middleton, 69, who plays Harold Ainsworth in the film, said: “As an amateur actor used to performing in large musical theatre productions, this departure into film acting was a delight and a life saver during the first lockdown.

“The whole process of Zoom filming, from an actor’s point of view, had its own challenges in that the normal interaction with your fellow actors was compromised, but I think we pulled it off!”

Oscar is now creating a new project based around the impact of mental health within young men, for which he is waiting for a “happier tomorrow” where he can film in person.

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