Earlier this year, AUB Film Production graduates Julia Alcamo and Dan Hodgson began their documentary production company Happenstance Films, just as the Coronavirus pandemic took hold across the world.
Already in the process of planning a number of new documentaries, the pair decided instead to focus on a new project exploring COVID-19 in five languages across more than 70 countries.
All We Have: Stories from the pandemic is a digital exhibition that has seen the two postgraduates, who met while studying at AUB in 2016, bolstered by an international team of creatives from countries across the globe; including India, Poland, USA, Italy, Germany and Belgium.
Happenstance co-founder Julia Alcamo said: “What we’ve really noticed, is that in every interview we’ve conducted, the theme of self-reflection has come across quite significantly. Regardless of social background, COVID-19 has been a leveller in terms of us not being able to act in the same way as we once did. For some, that impact will be much more profound than others, but we’re all, in one way or another, having to adapt.”
“From 13-year-old Seamus homeschooling in Melbourne to singer-songwriter Marianne making peace with the place she turned her back on years ago, the pandemic has tripped up lives globally, and this project aims to tell the stories that you wouldn’t otherwise see or hear about.”
Discovering that he was also working on a project to bring together COVID-19 imagery from across the world, Happenstance co-founder Dan Hodgson was also able to bring former UN diplomat Minh Pham on board with the exhibition. In his former role as a UN diplomat, the political commentator has worked across the globe in countries like Madagascar, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Laos.
Among the creative team producing the stories are fellow AUB graduates Kajri Babbar, Anna Saridi, Ewa Ferdynus and Rhianne Baxter. The online multimedia experience has so far seen the team interview Pakistani popstar-turned-politician Jawad Ahmad and former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, among many others.
Speaking about her time at AUB, Julia said: “AUB gave me the skills and platform to take my career plans to the next level, and I really do miss the sense of community on campus – there’s just so much creativity to harness.
“I really enjoyed being able to connect with people from many different courses, with different interests and different skills – I worked with students from Photography and Costume courses, and I’m still working with them today on our first project at Happenstance Films.”