Short Film Premiere: This is No Time

Talkhouse contributor Victoria Negri shares her latest work, a short film shot while she was sheltering in place at her childhood home in Connecticut.

For the past two-and-a-half months, I’ve lived in a surreal bubble. I have been lucky to be in my childhood home in Connecticut, sequestered away from most public contact, save for a few trips to the store, walks on the beach, runs in my neighborhood or hikes in the woods with my mom. I was reluctant to come here, deep in denial of the pandemic and my life in between existences, about to move into a new apartment with new roommates in Bushwick. And now, in a few days, I’ll be returning to New York in a moving truck. This piece, This is No Time, was shot on my iPhone during my time home with my family.

With nowhere to go, I began to notice things around me that never caught my eye – how beautiful the light in my room is at certain times in the early evening, the sound of rain and nothing else at night, the transition out of winter and into spring as the light green leaves transformed and became full, and the objects full of memory overflowing my shelves and walls and closets. I talked with friends back in the city and told them this is the longest I’ve been in Connecticut since just after I graduated college and moved back to New York. Yet in thinking about this piece just before it is shared online, I realize this isn’t the case. I lived here in the summer of 2011 when I was in between apartments. I try not to think of this bittersweet summer much, so it makes sense I overlooked it in my recent conversations.

In making this film and writing this piece to accompany it, I’ve thought deeply about my fear of leaving Connecticut, which is deeper and more personal than any of my coronavirus anxieties. My summer here in 2011 was the last time I spent with my father before he suffered a massive stroke. I began taking piano lessons with him again, something I hadn’t done in years. I wrote in my backyard, looking up at the trees and missing my friends in New York, and grew antsy as FOMO overtook me, wanting to return to my boyfriend and the exciting city I loved so much. My brain was never fully here and I was eager to return to a life that was waiting for me across the state lines. I regret not spending more time to be here and truly enjoy it. And I regret not filming my father, or anything, for that matter. I always said I would get to it. I assumed there would be a next time.

Now, as I’ve grown comfortable here, I think about the wonderful memories I’ve formed with my mother and brother, and know I’ll never have this time with them again. I am extremely grateful and acknowledge how lucky I am to be writing these words in a world where so many are suffering. And, considering this, it’s been difficult to acknowledge to myself that part of me doesn’t want this time to end. I no longer want to run away, because I’ve come to appreciate what it means to be present with my family in the place I grew up and love. And I’ll always be glad that this time I filmed.

Victoria Negri is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker and actor. Her directorial debut, Gold Star, which she also wrote and stars in, world premiered at the Buffalo International Film Festival in October 2016, where it won the Audience Award, was released theatrically in fall 2017, and is currently available through Amazon Prime. Negri is currently in development on her second feature as writer-director, Ultra.