What will life look like post-pandemic? A new short film by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based filmmaker JJ Sereday provides a sneak peek of what that might look for the London, Ont., community.
Sponsored in part by Western, Alive Together is a 15-minute mini-documentary depicting life as it starts to return to normal after COVID-19. Heartwarming and hopeful, the film tells a story about rediscovering one’s community.
“As we saw the city opening back up it really inspired us to capture the city coming back to life, the beauty of the everyday things we might have taken for granted before, and the power of community so critical in tough times,” said Sereday, whose girlfriend, Joanna Stepien, is a London resident and Western alumna working as a registered nurse at Victoria Hospital.
With support from Tourism London, Alive Together features downtown cafes and restaurants, biking and walking trails, rivers for canoeing, playgrounds, golf courses, neighbourhoods and Western’s campus. Alive Together is the second film Sereday shot in London. Last year, he launched the award-winning short film Alone Together, which captured how the pandemic has changed people’s daily lives.
“Joanna and I had always talked about making a film of London. We love venturing out and exploring the city, supporting the local businesses, and finding hidden gems,” Sereday said. “She would introduce me to all the things she loves about this city and I couldn’t help but think of all the ways to capture it in a way that evokes the same feelings of discovery, excitement and sense of community.”
Sereday isn’t the only one drawing on creativity to express feelings of optimism for a return-to-normal. Two Western alumni recently released a new music single, Wide Open, that showcases the “spirit of reopening.”
Michael Malcolm, BMOS ’20, and Abby Litchfield, HBA ’21, co-created the song and the accompanying music video filmed in Toronto, recognizing how hard the pandemic has been for young people who would normally be out “living their lives to the fullest.”
“It taps into that feeling we’ve had for a while now of being just on the brink of dancing the night away like we used to,” Litchfield said.
That’s how the idea for Wide Open came about, Malcolm added. “We know people are so excited to dance and laugh and hug again.”