If actress Sharma MacDonald could describe the year 2020 with one word it would be ‘Exhausting’. In a year shaped by global upheaval, restrictions, racial turmoil, death, delayed releases and theater closures, the Canadian TV host and actress, like many others, spent most of it in lockdown confined to a seamlessly endless routine.
“I was feeling a lot of anxiousness and felt like I needed to create my own structure. Then when the George Floyd murder happened in April, that took a toll on me and my way of dealing with it was writing.”
This resulted in a 20-minute short titled “2020,” which tackles mental health, Covid-19 and racism and pays tribute to Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and many others who lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement. Directed by A.P. Nkunzi, who shows plenty of promise as a young and upcoming director, it is a timely and beautifully shot film which stars MacDonald in the lead role.
The film shows how the civil unrest of 2020 was deeply connected to the racial disparities exposed by the pandemic. “2020” premiered at New York’s Kwanzaa Film Festival, and screened at India’s Ritu Rangam Festival, Toronto’s Black Film Festival, and the Halifax Black Film Festival.
“There were two pandemics going on last year; Covid-19 and racism,” adds MacDonald. “I wanted to tackle both and show the racism that exists here and the microaggressions that we, as Black Canadians, have experienced as well,” adds the actress whose TV credits include CTV/NBC’s “Saving Hope” and the series “Breakout.”
An advocate for mental health both in Canada and Jamaica where her parents hail, “2020” follows the success of MacDonald’s first short film “No Way Out” and revolves around the life of a black psychologist dealing with racism and mental health issues during the pandemic.
The actress who cites her Kingston-based grandmother as her inspiration is also developing a television series surrounding mental health and plans to ride out the festival wave with this film.
“I want this film to be a blueprint of 2020. There are still a lot more festivals coming up internationally and in North America. We hope to find a production company who wants to partner to help us make it into a feature. I would love to see it in a regular movie theater. This short encapsulates how I feel a lot of black people were feeling.”
It has been a year since the World Health Organization first declared a global pandemic in the wake of Covid-19 and with lockdown’s being lifted around the world, MacDonald is ready to return to the stage and screen.
“Last year was certainly an exhausting one, but on the flip side of that, gratitude is another word I would use to describe it. I have so much gratitude that most of my family and friends are okay and that I was able to create something.”
To follow “2020” visit; www.2020motionpicture.com
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a Los Angeles based entertainment journalist who covers industry-specific news. Follow her on twitter @SamanthaOfole