Award-winning filmmaker Liam Saint-Pierre has embarked on a project to encourage Britons to share what they have and haven’t missed during the lockdown via a free anonymous phone line known as The Missing Line. Selected caller confessions will form the basis of “Missed Calls,” a short documentary film sketching 24 hours of life in lockdown in the U.K.
The motivation for the project stems from a survey conducted in May by the U.K.’s Office for National Statistics, which concluded that millions of people across the country had their wellbeing affected by loneliness during the lockdown. Mental health charity Mind states that talking is an effective way to combat loneliness.
The U.K. was in lockdown from March 23, and began limping back to some semblance of normality from June 15, when non-essential businesses began to reopen. For many, the 80 days of lockdown meant 80 days of silence. The documentary aims to capture some of these hitherto silent voices by recording their anonymous calls.
Saint-Pierre won awards at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and Asterfest International Film Festival for his short documentary “The Last Storm.”
“We are all social beings, the need to connect with others is at the heart of what it means to be human,” said Saint-Pierre. “In these strange times across the world, the current pandemic has meant that countless people, forced into social isolation for their own good, are, perhaps for the first time in their life, suffering from a sense of isolation and loneliness.”
“Our project aims to connect the nation and give people the power to share their voice. We hope to create a memorable and moving film full of beauty, humor, honesty and hope, which captures the raw emotions and experiences felt throughout this time,” said Saint-Pierre.
Ross Williams, whose credits include “The Last Storm,” and BAFTA, Tribeca, Camerimage and Tribeca-winning “Obey,” will produce the doc short.
The phone line will be open until July 11.
“Missed Calls” is one of two initiatives that have launched during the U.K.’s Loneliness Awareness Week. Elsewhere, the U.K. games industry has set June 20 and 21 as a ‘Play & Talk’ weekend to bring together people to play games, talk with one another and combat loneliness. It enjoys the support of 50 top gaming companies including including Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Sega.