Exploring the Humanity of Isolation and Connection: The Creatively Connected Film Festival is Accepting Submissions Now!

The supermarket, your bedroom, or 30,000 feet in the air: in this modern era of smartphones and other devices, anywhere you can get cell phone service or a wi-fi signal, you’re connected. With each passing year it becomes harder and harder to truly go off the grid, which–by outward appearances–would make it seem as though it’s virtually impossible not to feel connected, even if you never actually see another human face-to-face. But as anyone who’s ever delved into the choppy waters of online dating will tell you, there’s a world of difference between connecting virtually and connecting in real life, and it’s entirely possible to be technically connected and still feel entirely alone.

These issues of connection and isolation are even more poignant for those who experience additional challenges that make connection difficult. Illness, poverty, family issues, old age–any number of factors can make our human need for connection (and our inevitable moments of isolation) run deeper. And this is precisely what the (first ever!) Creatively Connected Film Festival is hoping its participants explore with their submissions.

Creatively Connected

An endeavor of the Foundation for Art & Healing, the Creatively Connected Film Festival is described as “a film contest, public health outreach, and celebration” on its website, and will launch on May 9th in New York City with two live events at the New York University Law School in Manhattan’s West Village–along with an online showcase for those who can only connect (ahem) remotely. The film festival is accepting submissions now through April 1st from professional and semiprofessional filmmakers, so is not too late to get inspired and capture some movie magic for this impactful event.

AWI caught up with Foundation for Art & Healing Founder and President Jeremy Nobel, who currently serves on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about the Creatively Connected Film Festival as he and his team prepare to screen the flood of submissions that will make up their first year festival line-up:

AWI: In what ways do you think film–as opposed to other media–is especially effective in capturing and communicating the themes of loneliness and isolation?

Jeremy Nobel: Film as an immersive multi-dimensional medium gives a sense of life in the moment which is especially effective in showing emotional, psychological and social realities of loneliness and isolation. But, as opposed to situations when you are stuck in a challenging reality, the agency of film allows zooming out, gaining instant, larger perspective, jumping to the happier place you may arrive at when you get through and work through the challenges in your life!
AWI: What do you perceive to be the challenges of film when it comes to expressing these themes?
Jeremy Nobel: Every medium has its limitations, but the one that comes to mind when thinking about film and our theme of loneliness and isolation is you can’t touch it the way you might touch someone’s hand when they are struggling.  Film projected is so much about light and air, which also makes it so magical to come together around. Of course, there are very few artistic mediums that allow viewers touch but there are many creative ones, which we promote to help people feel better — crafts like knitting, cooking, gardening, and so many more.
AWI: What words of encouragement do you have for amateur/up-and-coming filmmakers who are unsure about submitting to the festival?
Jeremy Nobel: Think broadly about the theme; loneliness and isolation can be defined in so many ways and are aspects of so many common phases in life. One of our interests is loneliness in the workplace which many people may not consider a problem, given that one is surrounded by co-workers and the like. But we can still lack connection at work, whether due to technology or the hurried, pressured pace.  As far as encouragement for young, amateur and up-and-comers:  when we find works that hit our sweet spot or suggest a take on the theme we hadn’t considered, we tolerate and sometimes even appreciate the rough edges in works by amateurs and up and comers — it means life and process. So please don’t be shy! Give it a shot.
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Thank you, Mr. Nobel, for taking the time to talk to us!
Filmmakers can learn more about the Creatively Connected Film Festival here, and can submit work here.
Best of luck to all!

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