From Canada to Cannes, the Essex film picking up accolades at festivals worldwide

As the pandemic forced the UK into lockdown in March last year, work for Essex business owner Alex Gulland slowed to a complete stop.

Used to producing videos for brands in her career in advertising and marketing, Alex had also recently returned to education, studying to become a counsellor at Southend University.

It was these filmmaking skills and her passion for mental health which led to the creation of 'Lock Four Times.'

The 25 minute film takes you through the first three months of the first lockdown, as seen through the eyes of four different people.

All four interviewed by Alex, who produced, directed and edited the film herself.

Their stories are punctuated by the Covid-19 headlines of the time.

In many ways the stories of the four involved will resonate with people, but in other ways they are very individual.

One experiencing the loss of an ex partner through suicide, another not being allowed into ante-natal appointments with his wife and another supporting their child through a critical illness.

Alex said, "That's the fascination that people have, what was going on in everybody elses lives. Part of the reason I wanted to make the film, is I wanted people to know that they weren't alone, that other people were going through things as well."

Four people's lives are followed in the film 'Lock Four Times'. Credit: Lock Four Times / Alex Gulland

The film has now been recognised internationally at film festivals worldwide, including the Cannes World Film Festival.

It received Nominee status in the ‘Best Health Film’ category, as well as Semi-Finalist in the ‘Best Short Film’ category.

The success follows a number of accolades where the film was recognised by festivals in Canada, Sweden, Paris, New York and London.

Alex said is overwhelmed at the response to the film.

She said, "I expected the film to be selected for some festivals, but it has far exceeded my expectations and seems to have snowballed. It's great that it is far-reaching and has proved to be extremely powerful in the fact that people can identify with the interviewees' experiences."

As well as highlighting the lows and challenges of lockdown, the film does also have a valuable message of hope and optimism.

Showcasing how we pulled together as a community when lockdown first took hold.

As we ease out of our third lockdown, 'Lock Four Times' is an interesting exercise in looking back, and remembering how arresting 'locking down' was to begin with.

The film will be available for the public to view in the Summer.