Aylmer filmmaker’s new documentary on Covid 19: a local memory of the pandemic
Documentary film-maker and Aylmer resident Alana Repstock released a new documentary that explores the local experience of the Covid 19 pandemic. The film titled “Life is Not Easy Anymore” captures the reflections and sentiments of several residents from both Aylmer and Ottawa over the past couple years as they face the day-to-day challenges brought on by the pandemic.
The 30-minute documentary follows the story of several individuals and families through interviews about how the pandemic has impacted their lives. The experiences highlighted by the film will be familiar to those living in the Aylmer area: a mother working remotely from home with her children, children sharing their experience navigating elementary school classes online, a business owner struggling with the effects of the lockdown, and an elderly resident living at home alone. Most of the people interviewed live on Repstock’s street which strengthens the film’s local angle. The documentary also features Repstock’s grandmother who displays an upbeat and strong response to the lockdown, but sadly passed away soon after filming was finished.
The film also highlights local businesses and activities such as Patate Lou Lou and Zumba classes at the Aylmer Marina. “I wanted to go to places that were very Aylmer, that capture the quirkiness that is Aylmer,” said Repstock. Repstock also explores how the pandemic affected services in Ottawa such as the Shepherds of Good Hope and The Enunciation of the Lord Parish, which held a drive-in mass during lockdown that is featured in the film.
While “Life is Not Easy Anymore” doesn’t shy away from the many difficulties brought on by the pandemic, Repstock wanted to convey a hopeful and uplifting perspective when looking back at the past several years, “When making the film I wanted to stay away from it being too “down”. Rather, I wanted to make it light and highlight some of the comedic parts of the pandemic. In a way, it’s almost like looking back at it with rose-tinted glasses. I really wanted to make it light, and it helped to film it during the summer. When you watch it, it does feel like there is hope at the end of the tunnel.”
According to Repstock the film offers “a very modest but introspective look” into the many ways that the pandemic was experienced locally. And it is this modest, intimate and local character that is precisely what makes the film unique and worth watching, “to see a small town that isn’t usually in the spotlight and to see what a small town is like during the pandemic is kind of extra-ordinary.”
Moving forward, Repstock hopes that the film will speak to the experience of many Aylmer residents and can serve as part of the community’s collective memory, “I want people to see it and I want it to be an archive of this time. I would like the film to be part of our history and a memory of the pandemic in Aylmer.”
Local film screening to come
“Life is Not Easy Anymore” can be viewed for free on YouTube at https://youtu.be/kYVg-HJwRUQ or by searching “Life is Not Easy Anymore: Pandemic Documentary in Aylmer, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada”. The Bulletin will be hosting its own local screening of the documentary in the coming months. Keep an eye on our upcoming issues for the time and location of the screening.
Alana Repstock studied journalism at Concordia University and has a Master’s degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. Prior to making this documentary, Repstock traveled to northern Sweden and filmed a documentary on the life of the Sami people titled “I am Sami” which can also be viewed online through YouTube. She has also worked as a photographer for Montreal’s Vice magazine.
Photo caption: Director Alana Repstock at Parc des Cèdres. Photo credit: Greg Newing