A South London director has premiered her debut feature film this week after being bed-ridden with long Covid for 18 months, writes Ryan Hogg.
Catford resident Becky Sharpe, 50, caught the virus on her final day of production of the psychological thriller The Surgeon in March 2020, delaying the film’s release by a year.
Ms Sharpe, who is still suffering from long Covid, fought through vomiting, hallucinations, brain fog, shortness of breath, fatigue, and was even prescribed a wheelchair by her doctor, on her path to releasing the film.
She said: “I just never recovered.
“It turned into a type of flu where you are continually too weak to make it out of the house and getting new symptoms all the time.
“Most of the time I’m not well enough to get out the front door.”
The Surgeon follows an artist who inherits a house from her grandmother, but it comes with an unwelcome lodger who begins to unsettle life with the artist and her new boyfriend.
Sharpe describes the film as a sadomasochistic love triangle perfect for the Covid era, full of claustrophobic dread and psychological warfare.
The film was shot across Catford, Lewisham and Peckham over January and February 2020, with the aim of capturing the grit of a cold, dark South London winter.
She said: “It shows London in a dark state, it’s the harder side of London – one with gritty locations.”
Sutton’s Radio Pub in Lewisham, and Charles Clarke & Co. Solicitors in Penge are among prominent South London locations appearing in the film.
She has also suffered long term damage to her finances from her bout with Covid, paying for most of the film with her own money while being unable to work while sick.
She said: “For 18 months I’ve hardly been able to work, to earn money, and it’s only now that I can try to distribute it, and it will take time to recoup the investment.”
Ms Sharpe made her first appearance in a large group since contracting Covid at a debut private screening of The Surgeon on October 28.
She said: “I’m proud of myself for making it through in these circumstances, I can’t imagine more difficult circumstances, and I’m proud of everyone in the cast and crew.”
She will distribute The Surgeon to film festivals across the UK, with its debut this week at Unrestricted Film Festival in north London.
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