3Conversations in April is an experimental short that attempts to capture a moment in time and place during the coronavirus pandemic.

The film is the series of recordings made of the first phone calls I ever made to my brother, a man with autism and severe cognitive disabilities, and a sweet and patient disposition. I placed twice daily calls to my brother, Alan, after he was diagnosed with Covid19 and relocated to his bedroom, in complete isolation. My brother is now well into his senior years, pushing 70. But as I gave him ever cheerier pep talks from my apartment in Brooklyn, I couldn’t know whether he would be able to grasp who it was that was speaking — whether it was his sister, whose voice he was hearing at the other end of the phone for the first time.

Meanwhile, the viewer will watch as darker themes emerge — the series of illogical and unfeeling policy decisions made by a system that governs the care of those with intellectual disabilities, the worried lives of the staff who work in the homes. Through a steady interspersing of titles and reenactments, the film gradually reveals some unsettling realities. There are perhaps multiple reasons why you’ll see me quietly pacing in my own self-isolating space.

Actions to take in support of people with autism and Developmental Disabilities will be a part of the film’s outreach.

Susan Hamovitch