Filmmaker Urges People Around the World to Share Coronavirus Lockdown Stories for Collaborative Documentary

A filmmaker wants people to share their coronavirus lockdown stories for a collaborative documentary.

Like countless people around the world, Phoebe Holman saw her income disappear almost overnight because of the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

So she decided to start work on a new project, called The Covid-19 Diaries, documenting the experiences of people from all walks of life during the coronavirus pandemic.

Holman, a 29-year-old who is based in Bristol, U.K., wants people to film themselves telling their "uncensored" stories and submit them for inclusion in her documentary.

"I hope to make a social and historical artifact of this time, from the beginning through lockdown to the peak of the pandemic and continue on from that to document the aftermath on an international scale," she said. "It's fascinating to hear stories from people in countries I've never been to but at the same time disturbing to discover what some people are having to endure."

She added the submissions she's had so far are the "everyday tales of life at home under lockdown, told in people's own words, not the stories that usually make the news."

They include an English teacher who is out of work in Madrid, Spain; a recovering addict from Nottingham, U.K.; and a sailor in Antigua whose father tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Holman, who also works in television, is working on the film without a budget and those involved in supporting the project are also working without pay.

Phoebe Holman
Phoebe Holman, a documentary filmmaker, started working on a film called The Covid-19 Diaries after losing her work opportunities and income due to the coronavirus pandemic. Michael Sides

In a video posted on the website for the project, Holman explained that she had the idea for the project after she had lost all her upcoming work opportunities and income due to the coronavirus outbreak, including her TV contract and a commission for a new documentary.

"Since the Covid-19 outbreak, I have lost all my work due to being self-employed. My TV contract has been suspended as has my brand new documentary commission and I currently can't earn any income in my profession," she said.

"After getting over the initial shock of all of this, I've decided I want to use this time positively," she said. Her project is "all about anybody sharing stories through this time, creating connection at a time of disconnection."

Holman's 2017 documentary Towards Harmony, A Musical Integration, about how the music industry treats those with disabilities, won Best Documentary at the London International Film Festival and took second place at the Manhattan International Film Festival in New York.

"I'm hoping to create a safe community for people to share their stories and to learn what this experience is also like for others. The beauty of this is anybody is welcome and all you need is a device to record."

This infographic, provided by Statista, shows the spread of COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 15.

statista, covid19, coronavirus,
A map showing COVID-19 cases worldwide as of April 15, 2020. Statista

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.