Distance

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3 fearful families are united by a small act of hope.

Genre: Drama

Length: 16:43

Free To View

5 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Joel Edwards, Jesse Edwards

Director/s : Jesse Edwards, 

Writer/s : Jesse Edwards, 

Actor/s : Jeff Sievers, Sasha Sievers

 

Together

In case the title doesn’t set the scene clearly enough, the opening shows news clips, Trump, Johnson and Gates, and graphs showing the deadly curve that must be flattened. It’s a well put together cut-down version of Contagion.

Matt’s business has gone under. His son has lost his high school graduation, prom, and next year’s college place (“My life is over”). His young daughter Josie just wants someone to do colouring with. His wife scours the shops for toilet roll. Another guy is hoarding the stuff. An older man is suicidal not so much because of his cough, but because his son doesn’t call. Everyone has their problems, everyone is scared, no-one knows how to cope, and everyone is isolated.

The film portrays a bigger pandemic than the virus: a pandemic of fear. But it asserts a stronger virus, too: that of hope, which can spread from one small act. Sasha Sievers shines as Josie, who plants that seed, first with a message to her folks, then to the neighbourhood. So hope spreads as a positive contagion.

Writer / director Jesse Edwards is co-founder of Evolve Studios, which has an Emmy-laden record in TV and advertising. They’ve made a swift response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and brought subtlety and a range of well drawn characters into a real story.

It’s impressive in normal circumstances. To have maintained professional production values while observing all the distancing and hygiene precautions demanded by law and common sense, is little short of miraculous. Clever angles and lenses make people appear closer than they were on set.

In a different context I’d criticise the shameless milking of emotion, with the sweet little girl, the sentimental music, and the golden sunlight. But our global pandemic needs this message of closeness – the title, it turns out, is ironic. Essential viewing.