Corona (film)

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Corona (2020) film poster.jpg
Promotional release poster
Directed byMostafa Keshvari[1]
Written byMostafa Keshvari
StarringAndrea Stefancikova
Emy Aneke
Andy Canete
Zarina Sterling
Josh Blacker
Richard Lett
Traei Tsai
Distributed byLevel 33 Entertainment
Release date
  • August 8, 2020 (2020-08-08) (Rhode Island Film Festival)[2]

Corona, also known as Corona: Fear Is a Virus, is a 2020 Canadian thriller drama film about a group of people stuck in an elevator during the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was written and directed by Mostafa Keshvari, and made in part to address xenophobia and racism related to the COVID-19 pandemic.[3][4]

Corona was filmed in one shot using a handheld camera.


Corona follows six unlikely neighbors stranded in their building's elevator at the first stages of the COVID-19 crisis. They quickly suspect a seventh neighbor, a Chinese newcomer played by Traei Tsai, of having the coronavirus and likely to infect them after she also boards the elevator.

Fear and panic ensue when a woman coughs in an elevator during the COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Andrea Stefancikova[5]
  • Emy Aneke[5]
  • Andy Canete[5]
  • Zarina Sterling[5]
  • Josh Blacker[5]
  • Richard Lett[5]
  • Traei Tsai[5]


Mostafa Keshvari came up with the idea to film Corona after reading headlines on the COVID-19 virus. The news reported that Asian communities in Canada were experiencing multiple xenophobic and racist incidents due to the association of COVID-19 with China.[6] Keshvari has stated that at the time “nobody thought a white person could get it. But the virus doesn’t discriminate.”[7] Keshvari wrote an informal script during a two-week period in January 2020. A space was rented and a set built, which took ten days. The cast and crew were people that Keshvari knew already or were hired through word of mouth. Actress Andrea Stefancikova, who also helped cast the movie, "wanted to cast diverse people who reflect how Vancouver looks".[6]

Corona was shot in one shot using a handheld camera during early 2020 and the actors were allowed to improvise on the script.[8][9][10] According to an interview with Vancouver Magazine, the film was shot twenty times before it was successfully completed.[11] Filming was completed prior to Canada and other countries going on lockdown and Keshvari submitted the completed movie to film festivals, which were cancelled due to the shutdown.[7]


Corona was initially intended to release to film festivals; this was unsuccessful due to festivals cancelling due to lockdown orders and concerns of spreading the coronavirus in their respective countries.[7] News outlets such as The Hollywood Reporter reported on the film and its trailer prior to its release, crediting it as the "first COVID-19 movie".[5][4][12] The Deseret News was critical of the trailer for the then unreleased movie, as they felt that it "looks a bit like it could have been made in iMovie, as it uses recognizable and somewhat amateur looking fonts."[13] The Guardian's Charles Bramesco expressed concern about Corona and similar films utilizing the pandemic as a plot point, asking if it was too soon for filmmakers to do so.[14]

The film premiered at the 2020 Rhode Island Film Festival, where it won the RIIFF Director's Choice Award.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Coronavirus: Seven people stuck in a lift. Then one coughs..." BBC. April 9, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "RIIFF 2020 Virtual Program Guide".
  3. ^ Gee, Dana (April 2, 2020). "Vancouver filmmaker's COVID-19 film firmly faces racism in our times". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Van Evra, Jennifer (April 8, 2020). "Meet the Vancouver filmmaker behind the world's first COVID-19 feature film". Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Vlessing, Etan (March 30, 2020). "Canadian Thriller 'Corona' Touted as First COVID-19 Movie". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2020-03-30. Retrieved April 12, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Bengtson, Ben. "North Van actor on starring in one of the first movies made about COVID-19". North Shore News. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  7. ^ a b c Kron, Josh (2020-03-31). "A Coronavirus Thriller Was Finished Just Before the Shutdown". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  8. ^ Heritage, Stuart (March 27, 2020). "Coronavirus: the movie is somehow already here – but are we ready for it?". The Guardian. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  9. ^ "A first film on the coronavirus epidemic has been shot". The Jakarta Post. Archived from the original on 2020-04-03. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  10. ^ Booth, Mark. "Tsawwassen teen stars in first movie about COVID-19". Delta Optimist. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  11. ^ Mckenzie, Kevin Hinton & Ryan. "Vancouver Magazine". Vancouver Magazine. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  12. ^ "There's Somehow Already A Finished Coronavirus Movie". CINEMABLEND. 2020-03-31. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  13. ^ Wallace, Anne (2020-03-27). "'Corona' the movie has already been made, and it looks kind of bad". Deseret News. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  14. ^ Bramesco, Charles (2020-05-26). "Corona-sploitation: is it too soon for Hollywood to make Covid-19 movies?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-10-22.
  15. ^ 2020 Film Festival Award Winners Announced on Sunday, August 9th

External links[edit]