Artemis Shaw & Prashanth Kamalakanthan
Sci Fi RomCom 75'
USA English language
Awards Special Jury Award - IFFR 2023
Festivals SXSW Sydney 2023, MoMi First Look 2023, WP Bright Future, IFFR 2023

As a mysterious pandemic emerges, a squabbling couple in lockdown begin to act like children

This cheerfully humdrum rom-com presents a very homemade slice of first-lockdown life. But can its squabbling couple make it through a mysterious pandemic? Co-writers and filmmakers Artemis Shaw and Prashanth Kamalakanthan play Kallia and Ram: young lovers vacationing to New York just as the pandemic unfolds. They’ve already descended into petty name-calling when the travel ban prolongs their trip indefinitely, trapping them in Kallia’s uncle’s apartment.

03/02/23 IFFR. The jury found “New Strains” “an original vision of life during the pandemic with the actors/directors putting themselves on the line to tell a harrowing and hilarious story of confinement.” - Variety

''Slight but hugely charming pandemic rom-com''

- The FIlm Verdict

New Strains is as much a relatable account of the first lockdown as it is a sketch of its particular effects on this peculiar couple. Semi-improvised and shot on a Hi8 camcorder that Shaw and Kamalakanthan found during their own real lockdown, its grainy VHS footage nails the frustrations of personal and creative helplessness in quarantine. A production defined by the same constraints it depicts, it similarly makes the best of a bad situation.