Adolescent Content had the great privilege of being able to interview Levi Walton, a New York City-based director, about his new video, Models in Quarantine. Shot entirely via FaceTime, Models in Quarantine provides a raw and honest glimpse at how the COVID-19 pandemic and social-distancing rules have affected the lives of four New York-based models. We discussed his inspiration, the creative process, and what he hopes viewers will take away. Interview by Irine Le.
Adolescent Content: How are you doing now, and how long have you been in quarantine?
Levi Walton: Right now, I’m doing fine. I’m certainly very bored and anxious about the outcome of this current situation, but I’ve also had a chance for introspection and lots of cooking—which I love—so it’s not all bad. I’ve honestly lost count of the days so far, but I started around early March. NYC is a scary place to be during a pandemic like this.
Adolescent: Did you start quarantine with the plan to create art about it [and the consequences of COVID-19]?
Levi: Not at all. I think it all came [about] with the emotions I felt after the change in environment. I can take that anxiety, boredom, nervousness, and introspection and manifest it in creative ways.
Adolescent: How long was the process from start to finish of planning, filming, and editing the video?
Levi: Just a little bit over a week—I was itching to create something new. I’d been in talks with different model agencies to do test shoots before quarantine, and when some of these plans fell through, I thought I’d continue the momentum by coming up with a way to create from home and within public health guidelines. I came up with this FaceTime photoshoot idea and thought I’d pitch it to these agencies. It ended up morphing into a short film where these young models shared feelings and statements that are relatable and earnest.
Adolescent: What was your inspiration behind this? Have you noticed any differences in your creative process while in quarantine?
Levi: I’ve toyed around with the idea of doing a FaceTime shoot for a while. I’m a sucker for optics. I love images captured from a screen. I love zooming all the way in and seeing all those pixels, and the elaborate textures that form. I’d just bought this huge TV, so I thought I’d put it to use and shoot the screen using a zoom lens on my DSLR. Quarantine has forced us all to see things in a different light and find ways of problem-solving that are new to us. I morphed the idea of the FaceTime shoot until I reached a result I was personally fulfilled [by], and that’s a great example of fostering that creative energy that comes with isolation. Investing time in experimentation is never a bad idea, especially when we don’t have much to lose.
Adolescent: What was your favorite part of creating this video, and what do you hope people will take away from it?
Levi: My favorite part was being able to share a moment with these models. Many of them expressed how lonely they felt. They were excited to try something different with these shoots. We talked about plans for the future and the things we used to take for granted. After not speaking to many other people for weeks on end, it felt like a breath of fresh air to share positivity and build connections. I hope people understand that now is the time to be thankful for what we have and not take anything for granted. The silver lining of this all is having more time to ourselves, more time with our families. Time to grow, time to heal… I think we all needed some growth and healing. I’m hoping we all return to normal life with a deeper appreciation for each other, our environment, and our time on this Earth.
Sarah Mae Dizon