Filmmaker changes focus during lockdown

Filmaker Maya Cozier photo by Kristina Loggia
Filmaker Maya Cozier photo by Kristina Loggia

Despite the negative effects of covid19, social media is overflowing with posts from people using this quiet time in an enriching way. There are posts about people now being able to spend more time with family, in the garden, building furniture and reconnecting to things they enjoy doing most. These activities seem more possible now that the typical day-to-day obligations of modern living have been slowed.

Film director and screenwriter Maya Cozier said while she appreciates the slowed pace which has allowed her to improve her yoga practice and find more inspiration through living in slow motion, she was disappointed over all the plans and exciting events cancelled because of the global lockdown.

Cozier, 27, was set to have her first full feature film world debut at the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival in New York, which was cancelled because of covid19.

How are you feeling about the spread of the covid19 pandemic? Is it scary for you?

Yes, it is quite frightening.

It was frightening from the start. I was in Barbados when borders began closing. I think the day I landed in Barbados they reported the first case of covid19 and Trinidad began talks of closing their borders.

I was supposed to travel from Barbados to Martinique for a film festival but instead, the plan turned into me heading to the airport right away to get the next available flight back to Trinidad.

I remember boarding a plane with only five passengers. Everyone was wearing masks and the entire travel experience was extremely terrifying. I’m just happy I made it back home in time.

Have you experienced a major change in your daily routine?

When things felt like they began spiralling out of control and I realised all plans for the year were being cancelled or postponed. I think I spent three weeks in a slump. Getting anything done was almost painfully challenging. because I kept thinking, “What’s the point!?”

I think I’m finally beginning to accept and adjust to this new reality and adopt small daily routines. I now wake up and do yoga in the yard, since it’s impossible to gather in groups for any production or creative activity. I’ve been using the time to write, read, watch films and do research.

Is there anything you were looking forward to that hasn’t happened because of covid19?

My feature film debut for She Paradise was scheduled to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this year. That was a huge moment for me and we worked tirelessly to bring this film to life. Therefore, having the premiere of the film cancelled was really disappointing.

I was also excited to start graduate school at Columbia University in September, but that’s also up in the air with the current state of New York, where confirmed cases of covid19 continue to rise.

Filmaker Maya Cozier photo by Kristina Loggia

Is there anything you have been able to do now that you didn’t have the time to do before?

I’ve been discovering a lot of new literature and films at this time which has been very helpful to my process. I think the lack of pressure to produce has allowed me to explore ideas leisurely.

I started exploring African cinema and discovering new films from Djibril Diop, Ousmane Sembene, Sarah Maldoror and Souleymane Cissé

Do you think you will be able to maintain some of these practices if things go back to an increased pace?

Practising yoga every day has helped me see the benefit of slowing down and taking time for self. It helped me cope with the disappointment and uncertainty that came with the spread of the virus.

What do you hope others will take from this time of silence?

The isolation and the inability to gather in large groups have really shown us the value, creativity and energy that there is in having a community. It may have been something that we took for granted before this. I hope we come out of it with a greater appreciation for the people around us, and for our loved ones.


"Filmmaker changes focus during lockdown"

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