While the pandemic has devastated many lives and many industries, the arts were presented with a unique set of obstacles that knocked many off their feet. Black Cat Film Production’s The Lockdown Documentary gives first-hand accounts of these obstacles from the independent filmmakers and artists who were hit the hardest in the past year.

From shutdown productions to the fear of losing loved ones, it would be easy for the film to focus on the chaos and hopelessness of COVID-19, but instead the film presents the audience with a reflection of the creativity and global camaraderie that emerged in these dark times.

The positive words of every filmmaker who managed to learn and grow from their struggles is a refreshing reminder of the better days to come. Unfortunately, the positive narrative is not enough to hide one of the biggest documentary faux pas: the overuse of talking head interviews.

With the exception of only a handful of b-roll, the documentary is entirely composed of talking head interviews. Although the words being spoken are inspirational, the still and motionless camera kills any sense of engagement. There is a lack of style and technique in the editing that could have compensated for the reliance on interview footage.

Nonetheless, the film has heart and will brighten the spirit of any filmmaker feeling isolated and discouraged by the pandemic. Reflected by the diverse range of interviewees, The Lockdown Documentary shows that every artist has been affected in some way.

Whether it’s through the eagerness of a recent high school graduate ready to aim higher than her school’s productions or the rekindled passion of a seasoned filmmaker who has found new avenues to spark his creativity, the audience can relate to someone on the screen – feeling heard and validated by their words.

With a lack of form and style but a heart of gold, The Lockdown Documentary feels like a rough-draft of something really great.