From Hampstead to New York - film maker shoots an eerily quiet city

A still from Indigo Bates' short film Isolate Island

A still from Indigo Bates' short film Isolate Island - Credit: Archant

Former Channing pupil Indigo Bates is locked down in the epicentre of America’s coronovirus outbreak and shot a short film Isolate Island on one of her daily runs

Indigo Bates filmmaker from Hampstead now living in New York

Indigo Bates filmmaker from Hampstead now living in New York - Credit: Archant

Hampstead-born film-maker Indigo Bates is currently locked down in New York City.

She has made a short film which shows the eerie, empty streets of what is the epicentre of the United States’ coronovirus outbreak - including a man who appears to be conducting the city’s famous skyline.

The former Christ Church Primary and Channing pupil moved to New York nearly four years ago “on a whim” after finishing university. The 27-year-old is missing her parents who still live in the house where she grew up in South End Green.

“It’s weird to be far from home right now,” she writes.

“My boyfriend and I decided to stay put in our Manhattan apartment rather than go back to Europe. The mood here is overwhelmingly anxious. I miss the NHS. I have been doing my best to avoid going to the doctor since I moved here anyway - you never know what kind of a bill they’re going to hand you for performing a very simple test - and now, the fear of not even being able to go to the hospital if you wanted to is considerably worse.

“The hospitals are completely overrun here, ambulances may or may not be able to attend to you. They don’t have the supplies, protective gear, ICU beds or ventilators they need. As I write there are currently 67,000 cases in NY according to the John Hopkins university map - the same as in Hubei province in China which suffered the worst outbreak - but the number of infected cases and deaths are rising exponentially. Morgues are full so they are putting bodies into ice trucks. It seems we may still be three weeks out from a peak. They are setting up makeshift hospitals in Central Park and there is a big hospital ship that has docked here.”

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“We are trying to keep our spirits up and stay inside as much as possible, only going outside for runs and groceries. I have been using the time to work on my screenplay - as a director, there is obviously a pause on production right now. Trying to stay off the news as much as possible, cooking and baking a lot, playing the piano, learning German. I’ve been enjoying sitting outside on our fire escape feeling the sun on my face. Yesterday, I was watching the man on the fire escape across the courtyard doing pull ups and push ups - gotta use what you’ve got in these weird times.”

She shot the short film Isolate Island on her iphone during a run on March 28 and says it’s “a requiem to the city that never sleeps”.

“It shows a man seemingly conducting the orchestra of the silent NY skyline, shops and restaurants shuttered closed and the streets eerily quiet.”

Find Indigo’s film at