“Boy, where do we start?”: Documentary to show 2020 from children’s perspective

October 15, 2020 BY

Ellie Cheesman's documentary will explore how children in Torquay and Port Lincoln have dealt with the chaos of 2020.

TORQUAY-BASED filmmaker Ellie Cheesman is highlighting the impact a global pandemic and natural disasters have had on younger generations through her documentary Cooked.

Young people from Torquay and Port Lincoln feature in the documentary, sharing their experience of a year marked by natural disasters, a global pandemic, and political unrest.

Ms Cheesman said the chaos of 2020 inspired the title.

“In my high school we used the word ‘cooked’ a lot, it means ‘crazy’ or ‘when everything has gone out of control’.”

Ms Cheesman drafted half of the documentary with footage captured from Port Lincoln, and is waiting for restrictions to ease so she can re-enter Victoria and collect the remainder of the material.

She said the draft of the Port Lincoln segment of the documentary highlighted the varied responses children had when reflecting on their experiences during the past few months, with some participants recalling momentous events including being stung by a bee, or breaking an arm, while others are more cognizant of wide-reaching events.

“Some kids more than others are pretty freaked out. Some of them didn’t notice it was different from any other year.”

The documentary captures a children’s difficulty making sense of the chaos and panic buying following the World Health Organisation declaring COVID-19 a pandemic and “For a month or so toilet paper just went out of stock because everyone wanted it for some reason.”

Another observes “it’s kind of funny how it all happened at the same time”.

In January this year, Port Lincoln suffered extreme flooding, having come perilously close to being decimated by fires just months earlier.

While they have not escaped the effects of coronavirus, Ms Cheesman said she believes the reaction of children to the virus may be a point of difference between the two locations she films in.

“In Lincoln they’re not too spooked, but I know in Torquay because of the severity of it in Victoria it’s super intense for some of them, especially the little ones, like the three-year-olds, because that’s a third of their life that they’ve been in lockdown.”

Nonetheless, Ms Cheesman is eager to film the children in Torquay, many of who she knows well.

“I had these pet rabbits that I used to keep out on my lawn, and all these kids from Torquay would drive past and come and see my rabbits. So, I knew heaps of the kids and their mums just from that, and they were all just cool characters and I always thought ‘I’d love to make a movie with them.'”

People can view the draft of the Port Lincoln part of the documentary by heading to elliecheesmanfilm.wixsite.com/portfolio/filmography.