Lost Connections : A Collaborative Short Film Featuring the East Anglian Film Archive

Can we always be connected?” are the opening and anchoring words to Lost Connections, a new archive-based short film set to be screened across cinemas and schools. It is also available and easy to stream on YouTube and the BFI Player online.

Led by the Yorkshire Film Archive, Lost Connections brings together various excerpts of footage from twelve film archives across the UK. The film was also a collaboration with Film Hub North on behalf of the BFI Film Audience Network, made possible through National Lottery funding. Andy Burns created and edited the project, with the help of artist Hussina Raja, who co-wrote and narrates the moving and poetic voiceover.

The contributions of over 200 visual and audio recordings from the past century reveals a timeline of feelings that have been familiar to all of us during the pandemic – of separation, isolation, uncertainty and emptiness. However, also of community and togetherness, digitally and in person.

Beautifully intertwined together are scenes of bustling city-life in time-lapse alongside empty streets, families hugging and kissing each other shift to a bird stuck alone in its cage and solitary figures confined to their homes. The ineffable experience of loneliness transcends time and generations.

The shots of places that should be busy but were not, offices, theatres, schools and playgrounds, stirred me emotionally – because we have all had something taken away from us for the past eighteen months: community. Overall, this 13-minute short film questions our integral desire for human connections, how we feel when it is taken away from us, and if we will recover as we learn to reconnect.

The East Anglian Film Archive (EAFA), based in Norwich, was one of the 12 contributors to this nation-wide project. Angela Graham, the Archive Manager at the EAFA, said: “The East Anglian Film Archive is pleased to be part of this project which uses archive film to explore the themes of hope and humanity. It reflects on experiences during the pandemic but also looks forward.” The EAFA aims to preserve and celebrate the rich audio-visual heritage in our local county – this short film is just one example. It’s poetic. It’s poignant. Lost Connections gives us hope for the future by returning to our past.

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Laura Patterson

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August 2022
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