IT was 18 months ago this week that the country went into its first lockdown.

Over the last year-and-a-half, many of us have taken time to reflect and re-assess what’s most important in our lives. Now a new film comprising over a century of remarkable archive footage is responding to that extraordinary time.

Lost Connections is a moving, compelling and ultimately uplifting film that give us hope for the future by connecting with the past. It’s a collaboration led by the Yorkshire Film Archive and the moving image archives of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the nine English regional film archives. Supported by Film Hub North on behalf of the BFI Film Audience Network, through National Lottery funding, the short film will screen at cinemas and stream on BFI Player from Thursday. It will also be shown in schools as part of the Into Film ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing campaign’ on Into Film+, launching tomorrow.

Created by Andy Burns, editor and film-maker at the Yorkshire Film Archive, Lost Connections is meticulously crafted from more than 200 films put forward by archive curators on film, video and born-digital formats. Andy has co-written the narration with artist Hussina Raja, who responds to the imagery with a recurring narration: ‘Can we always be connected?’.

But are we the only generation to have asked these questions? Revealing our common experiences over the decades - loss, loneliness, isolation, community, family and human touch - the archive footage uncovers imagery and voices that resonate with feelings of uncertainty and disconnection, and convey a collective desire for reconnection with people, community and nature.

Lost Connections is a 13-minute film about recovery, hope and renewal, the human character, sadness and joy, what we really value, and our gradual reconnection with each other, our communities, and the world around us. It presents haunting images of empty roads, parks cinemas and offices. A child stands alone in a playground, an elderly figure walks up a deserted street. A little boy leans out of a window and an anxious face peers then disappears behind lace curtains. “It seems as if you’re locked in,” says an old lady, reflecting on the loneliness of living in a high-rise flat.

Then comes the contrast of busy street scenes, crowds of workers pouring through factory gates, bustling shoppers, pub regulars enjoying a pint and dancing to live music. There is footage of children playing on Bradford streets and in Lister Park. Care home residents are filmed dancing, laughing and talking about companionship. A 1960s family tumbles down sand dunes onto a beach, another is filmed enjoying a roadside picnic.

There’s footage of old telephones and telegraphs, and letters arriving on doormats from soldiers at war. And there is the wonder of nature - deer running through woodland, close-up footage of bees and butterflies, and a cluster of children peering at chicks in a bird’s nest.

Graham Relton, Archive Manager at Yorkshire and North East Film Archives says: “Lost Connections presented an opportunity for 12 moving image archives across the UK to come together in a truly collaborative way to explore their collections with one specific purpose; to create a new film revealing archive footage and voices from our collections that reflected on our own contemporary experiences.

“The result is a work of cine-poetry, that is truly diverse and representative of the people of the UK. It is not a film about the pandemic, it’s a film about humanity and hope. It might take the past as its reference point, but Lost Connections speaks to our collective responsibility to build better futures.”

Andy Robson, Screen Heritage Producer, BFI Film Audience Network, Film Hub North calls the film a “salient and emotional reminder of the parallels between our past and most recent experiences.”

He adds: “This creative production brings together the national and regional archives and brilliantly showcases the riches of our public film collections. It offers multiple reflections on the journey of the last 18 months, and I’m sure will spark hopeful conversations for the way ahead.”

Joe Ursell, Curation Manager, Into Film, says: “As soon as we saw Lost Connections, we were struck by its deeply moving tone and potential to encourage personal and collective reflection from young people around mental health and their responses to the last 18 months.

“We’re proud to bring Lost Connections to young audiences across the country on the Into Film+ platform and can’t wait to learn about the conversations the film generates in classrooms up and down the UK.”

* To watch Lost Connections go to