Director: Jessie Zinn
United States, 2020, 11 min
Crew:Writer: Kirra Zinn. Producers: Jessie Zinn, Aurora Brachman.
An abortion hotline extends an ear to women all over the Bay Area during the COVID-19 lockdown.
About the director
Jessie Zinn is a filmmaker from Cape Town, South Africa. Her work focuses on narratives driven by women, and coming of age stories. As a filmmaker with experience in commercials as well as non-fiction content, her work often blends the line across different genres. She is committed to ethical and collaborative filmmaking that actively engages with the participants in front of the camera. Her films have screened at AFI Docs, MoMA Doc Fortnight, Visions du Reel and SFFILM. She is currently directing her first feature documentary (The Home), which has received support from IFP Film Week, the Sheffield Meet Market, and the Visions du Réel Rough Cut Lab. She is an MFA candidate at Stanford University.
In March 2020, the world shifted in a major way, and the Bay Area went under full lockdown as a response to COVID-19. At the time, I was in my third quarter of my Masters degree at Stanford University. As a womxn, experiencing lockdown in an isolated setting far away from my family and friends, I was particularly interested in the multitude ways that lockdown was affecting womxn in particular. Around this time, I discovered that a well-known abortion hotline (called 'Exhale') was still operating under lockdown, albeit from the confines of the operators/volunteers homes. I found this new working dynamic to be fascinating, and collaborated with the volunteers from the hotline to create a short film (titled Wavelengths) that documented the operators as they answered calls at night from inside their homes. Of course, I had to be mindful of the limitations that come with social distancing. As a creative response, I conceptualised the piece in a way that highlighted the importance of windows as a central metaphor to the work that these operators are doing. The whole film was shot at night, at a distance, from outside the operators' windows.