“Staying inside – doesn’t mean – you are safe”…..
No sooner had Nathan Crooker commenced pre-production on his first feature film than it was abruptly put on hold due to the Covid pandemic. Undeterred, though, he knew other filmmakers would be going through the same motions, and still have a burning desire to keep themselves creative during lockdown. It’s often the case that beautiful things are born when disasters happen, and what happened next is a testament to that fact.
Crooker felt more inspired than ever by being quarantined, seeing it as a time in which he needed to be more creative than ever, and by leaning into the limitations put on everyone in these trying times, it became a unique opportunity to examine the human condition through a genre lens, and because the climate of the world was affecting the whole world, it was essential to explore it through different perspectives, which is why he reached out to filmmakers from around the world – many he had never even met – to tell various short-form stories which would be woven together to create the anthology film ‘Isolation.’
These nine tales of terror, directed by Larry Fessenden, Dennie Gordon, Bobby Roe, Andrew Kasch, Alix Austin & Keir Siewert, Zach Passero, Alexandra Neary, Christian Pasquariello, Adam Brown & Kyle I. Kelley, follow isolated citizens from around the world as they confront their darkest fears in an attempt to survive an increasingly deadly outbreak. All the eleven filmmakers who took part in the project used the same unifying framework in creating their stories and Cooker gave them very specific rules so as to keep them on their toes by allowing them to only use what was available to them at the time. They were not allowed to use Zoom or any other kind of video conferencing services and could only use the equipment and resources they had with them when they entered into lockdown, including cast and crew, adhering to their respective COVID-19 protocols.
With Isolation releasing on VOD this November 2nd, we sat down with Nathan Crooker and perennial partners in crime, Bobby Roe and Zack Andrews to discuss the “Mogwaiesque” rules Crooker laid down for the filmmakers, how Roe and Andrews went about creating a top tier cinematic montage with whatever resources they had on hand and the life-changing filmmaking lessons they learned from this singular experience.
Words: Howard Gorman