Statement of Solidarity for Art, Design, and Media Workers Affected by COVID-19

One day, when the madness of this virus finally tides over, we would imagine an outburst of stories from filmmakers around the world. Many would be emotional about losing their loved ones; some would be inspirational about the brave people they have met during the crisis; some, luckier still, would be bittersweet—about new friendships and serendipitous encounters made during this ordeal. A few might imagine the involvement of monsters or aliens, while others might involve a superhero or two. A handful might dream romantically about new-found love, and this new definition of intimacy in the age of social distancing—love in the time of corona, anyone? Everyone. And an even smaller crowd might find the lighter moments in this and turn it into wry, ironic comedy.

Over the past few weeks, governments around the world have piled regulations after regulations to fight against the spread of COVID-19. When the word ‘cinemas’ were added to the list of venues being shutdown around the world, few would have been caught by surprise. It was a matter of time. Then on further thought, one would realise the ramifications of this are pretty far-reaching. Not only can people no longer go to the cinemas, film shoots would have to be postponed, all the film premieres lined-up would have to be postponed, film festivals would need to take a breather, who can forget South by Southwest, or the grand dame Cannes herself, and right at the start of the film production journey, investors are going into a temporary coma.

What all these remind us of is that films and filmmaking are activities as driven by stories as they are by the communities who make them. Films pull so many people together—it, quite literally, takes a village to make one. When the world can finally the grab the virus by its horns, it will take a while for things to gain back their momentum, not just within the film industry. In fact, according to The Guardian, around 120,000 people are out of job in Hollywood and an estimated 50,000 freelancers will lose their jobs as a result of this pandemic. For the rest of the world, the situation would be just as precarious.

At SINdie, a couple of us are freelancers in various segments of the film industry. Or to be more accurate, the indie filmmaking community, in which we live from pay cheque to pay cheque, without a fixed income or CPF. Therefore, we feel the pain everyone is facing and are in solidarity with you. As a media platform, we have the means not to slow things down, and we will not. 

We will continue to put the spotlight on films and filmmakers from the region. Even as productions and premieres are being pushed back, we will continue documenting some of your journeys and ideas. The raison d’etre of SINdie has always been about giving a voice to the those who have smaller platforms and in the same spirit, we want to continue doing this and hope in this process, we can give inspiration to those who are teetering on the edge of an existential crisis cliff. With this, we might be speaking to some of you to collect stories and thoughts about dealing with this episode, so don’t be shy, your stories are important!

Perhaps the silver lining in this situation is the luxury of time to think a little more, do the everyday things a little more. Sometimes, filmmakers can forget what it is like to live in the real world because we could be trapped in the reel worlds we create. We believe in the school of thought that some of the best ideas in films come from taking oneself out of films. Who knows? You may rekindle the passion in an all too predictable married life. Or you may imagine a babel-like web of human connections and stories from all the contact tracing you have been reading in the news. Just know that someday all that thinking you can afford now will pay off in the future and time is not all lost. 

SINdie was born out of an incident when the hard disk containing founder Jeremy Sing’s film shoot rushes were damaged by a computer virus. He was devastated and it drove him to take a break from the rather addictive and sometimes blind attempts at making films years ago—a break that gave time to think about having a different outlet for his thoughts because to be brutally honest, some films do not need to be made. So when you are done being dazed at home, be reminded that something hidden somewhere within your own immediate stratosphere could be the beginning of something pleasantly surprising and when you are finally burning with excitement around it, tell us about it. We want your stories.

#CinemaWillNeverDie #LongLiveCinema

Lotsa Love,
The SINdie Team
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