New Proximity is a documentary film by Berlin-based, Wales born, photographer and director Carys Huws, alongside creative directors Holly Ann-Ladd and Chloé Howell Jackson from creative agency Peach Berlin.
The film shows the lives of seven creative women based in the German capital and how they have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The filmmakers speak to women with a variety of jobs, including two circular fashion designers, two strippers, a hair and make-up artist, a tattoo artist and a brand consultant. The subjects have a variety of heritages and ethnicities, as they come from Germany, Venezuela, South Africa, Australia, Bolivia, the UK and Argentina.
We hear how each woman has had to adapt their work and personal lives over the past year and how their respective industries have been affected. Recent stats show that women are being disproportionately affected by the pandemic - New Proximity is a celebration of the women of Berlin at a time that has seen mass lockdowns and restrictions, job losses and a looming recession.
Carys Huws, Holly Ann-Ladd and Chloé Howell Jackson "The idea for New Proximity was born during a time where Berliners had no certainty and the everything for the foreseeable future was unknown. We were well into a strict lockdown as a result of Germany’s second wave of Covid-19 by the point that we decided to make this film, and the city’s harsh, daylight-deprived winter was much harder to tolerate than usual with the restrictions put in place.
"Prior to the pandemic, I would have said that Berlin is one of the best cities in the world to live as a working creative, but as a result of the pandemic the creative industries have really suffered - from the fashion industry, to the music and the art world. All three of us were missing a sense of community as a result from being isolated from our friends and people in general, had all suffered work and income losses as a result of decreased budgets and the restrictions due to the the country-wide lockdown and feelings of doubt and questioning our place in the creative industry were hard to ignore.
"We decided to try and counteract the darkness we were all feeling by pulling our resources together to create a film which celebrates the local creative community while giving an open and honest portrayal of pandemic life here. Recent stats show that women are being disproportionally affected compared to men by the pandemic, from job losses to the burden of childcare falling on them, amongst other issues, so highlighting the perspectives and experiences of women of different ages, backgrounds and industries was important to us.
"Chloé and Holly’s agency Peach Berlin was born out of a necessity of championing and bringing non-male voices and perspectives to the forefront in a very male-dominated industry, and for Carys, someone whose work is often inspired by challenging patriarchal structures, this was a dream collaboration. With already having collaborated before and having a friendship for the past few years the conversation surrounding the film happened quite naturally and we all felt it would hopefully be a way to show the other creatives in Berlin that they were not alone in their feelings and what they were going through.
"That being said we also knew that everyone’s experience of the pandemic would be different so we wanted to have the contributors speak for themselves and for us not to impose our own experiences and feelings of the pandemic onto the film. Hearing the contributors’ different feelings towards the pandemic was eyeopening - the ups and downs they had experienced personally, and realising how the pandemic has hindered some yet benefitted others. The lockdown ended up lasting almost 8 months in total - only lifting within this last month, so it’s quite emotional to look back at this film and revisit the place we were in mentally and what we were going through while creating it."
Creative Directors @chloehowelljackson and @hollyannladd
Produced by @peachsocials
Music Supervisor @lucyscook
Composer and Sound Engineer @felixgodd at @cascadeberlin
Camera and Edit @caryshuws
Visual Effects and Animation @johnmalcolmmoore at @cascadeberlin
Graphic Design @vivien_hoffmann_
With special thanks to: