In the early days of February, when British Columbia hadn’t quite yet called a state of emergency but reasonable people began self-isolating ahead of the curve, there was an idea.
Was the idea born out of procrastination and boredom? Yes. Should Mahinur Efe have been preparing her final report for her Bachelor’s degree instead? Come on, stop it. These questions are easy and mean.
Regardless of the motives, Quarantine Diaries was conceived: a comically cynical documentary of some typical Canadian undergraduate students and the daily challenges that they must face during the defining moment of our generation. Staying home shouldn’t be a problem right? I mean, we’ve spent our entire lives inadvertently preparing for exactly this, right?
Mahinur’s Quarantine Diaries is intended to unravel this daily mess and hopes to be relatable to most people experiencing exactly the same thing right now. The other hand on the wheel is Zahresh Walji, the primary editor of Quarantine Diaries and along with Mahinur, also plays herself. Juju sometimes appears in the episodes as herself as well, but frankly she’s usually busy working an essential job and doesn’t have time for our shenanigans. I don’t even know her real name.
Then there’s me, Mahinur’s lab partner at University of Victoria. I heard of this amateur Mockumentary series upon it’s conception and couldn’t resist. I had to go over to their apartment (i.e. the set) and appear on the show before it was considered too foolish to meet with non-housemates (which turned out to be the day after we shot together, the 16th of February)
By the time I was able to go and shoot an episode with Mahi and Zee, they had already completed a rough edit of their first episode and I was impressed. The episode was 10 minutes long and already showed the potential of a comedic roommate dynamic brought to its extremities due to self-isolation. The first episode is below.
Upon arriving we began exchanging ideas about the episode, but one thing was clear: this episode would focus on white people’s obsession with stock piling and plundering toilet paper and I was to be the title character—the Toilet Paper Bandit. Although this concept was a bit of a departure from realistic situations, the concept and fear that many have about basic sanitary supplies is very real.
Shooting didn’t take long at all and we had a great time. I won’t spoil the episode here but some scenes left us laughing all day long. To accomplish our amateur Vlog aesthetic we simply did one successful take per scene and just had fun with it. We’re not meaning to win any Emmys here, it was some fun messing around, and we hope you like it as well!
Enjoy the video, and I hope you’re all staying safe out there. Like our Province’s lead doctor says: stay calm, stay kind, stay safe.