Filmed during COVID-19 and across various states of global lockdown, “Homemade” unites 17 leading filmmakers in a compendium of short films that capture the shared experience of quarantine. The project is helmed by “Jackie” filmmaker Pablo Larrain, his brother and creative partner Juan de Dios Larrain under the pair’s Fabula banner, and Lorenzo Mieli, CEO of Fremantle-backed Italian outfit The Apartment, for which “Homemade” is its inaugural project.
Juan de Dios Larrain told Variety, “For once in our careers, this wasn’t about money, agencies, lawyers or the Hollywood structure…This was a simple idea of [conveying] one message in five to seven minutes, and the idea was to give that message without any pressure; it was totally open.”
Pablo Larrain notes that the underlying message around “Homemade” is about “adversity, and how we are all from different countries, cultures and circumstances, but for a very unique moment of humanity, we’re all sharing very similar circumstances in different contexts.”
Directors were instructed to use only equipment found at home, with the focus ranging from a glimpse into their working lives to more narrative meditations on an unprecedented moment in history.
David Mackenzie’s ‘What is Essential?’ is one of the shorts featured in the collection. He said of his involvement in the project, “When I was first asked to consider making a short film under lockdown, I was worried that my quite privileged urban family life in Glasgow, Scotland was really not a subject worth sharing and that any other subject would be impossible because of the lockdown restrictions. So I was really unsure that there was any ‘angle’ that would work. But I have long been interested in trying to make sensitive film portraits of people – inspired in part by watching Scottish film-maker Margaret Tait’s 1964 film about poet Hugh MacDiarmid. So I thought I would use the opportunity to try to create a delicate but complex portrait of my daughter who had just turned 16 under lockdown.
No true portrait is made without an intense interplay between the portrait maker and the subject, who has to deal with what of themselves to present and expose – as became abundantly clear to me in the making. Over the seven days of shooting in early May at the height of the Scottish lockdown, my daughter and I went through a turbulent dance to try to capture the waves of mixed emotions that were washing over her and to express it to a camera that was closer and more present than any film-making I have ever done.
I really like the way the result crosses a line between performance – she is an actor and she is ‘performing’, often over multiple takes – and documentary. I would like to use some of the techniques we evolved into in my other film work and to do more film portraits like this. I hope that this small film is somehow able to be about more than our specific family experience into something beyond it. “
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, “Understandably, a running theme that emerges organically from the collection is the vulnerability and resilience of children, and Britain’s Gurinder Chadha and David Mackenzie also explore their (slightly older) offspring’s reactions to the pandemic with enormous sensitivity and wit.”
A donation in honour of each filmmaker will be made from Netflix’s Hardship Fund to third parties and non-profit groups providing emergency relief for out-of-work cast and crew. More information on the fund can be found here: https://media.netflix.com/en/company-blog/emergency-support-for-workers-in-the-creative-community