The Cell (2021)

In January 2021 I had to quarantine for 21 days in a hotel in Hong Kong. Dreading the isolation and idleness, I wrote a short film I could shoot in my room, with my phone. It became The Cell.

Isa was jailed in a hotel repurposed as a prison after a minor delict. She does not know how long she will be there for and struggles to keep her sanity. An unexpected delivery will come and help her escape.

Festival selections
Courant 3D – Vertical films category (France)
First-Time Filmmakers Sessions – Lift-Off Global Network (U.K.)
December 2021 Future of Film Awards (North Macedonia)
(upcoming screening) Luis Buñuel Memorial Awards (Kolkatta, India)

Festival awards
Grand Jury Prize in the Vertical film category (Courant3D, France)
Best Quarantine Film (Future of Film Awards, North Macedonia)
Best smartphone/selfie video short, Luis Buñuel Memorial Awards (Kolkatta, India)

Interview on RCF Radio with one of the jury members of Courant3D Festival available here in French (2:43 – 4:22).

The Cell, 2021.

Note of intention
I wrote the script of The Cell in the days before facing a 21 days hotel quarantine in Hong Kong. The theme was, of course, isolation. But also, looking at the political context not only of Hong Kong, but of the time we live in: detention. What if prisons of the future would look more and more like psychiatric facilities? Isa, the protagonist, finds an escape which anyone who has resorted to their own world of fantasy to keep sane will recognise.

I chose to film with my phone as I felt most comfortable with it, as a first-time filmmaker and wanted to test the intimacy and documentary quality the vertical format brings. The Cell is a rather slow short film, just like time slowly passes for the protagonist. Vertical cinema invites us into a different temporality and pace, less frantic and distracting, more intimate and reflective.