'There's No Time For Judgment': The Institution Theater's 'Quarantine Dream: The Movie'

Jun 6, 2020

During the early weeks of lockdown, Tom Booker of the Institution Theater noticed a facebook posting from his friend  Jeremy Moran, which recounted a dream Moran had the night before. In the dream, there was a big party at the Institution that was broken up because everyone was breaking quarantine. The story of that dream quickly inspired Booker to create Quarantine Dream: The Movie, a collection of short videos submitted by anyone who felt inspired to create something.

“I just asked people to send in thirty second videos of whatever ‘quarantine dream’ means to them,” Booker says. “And then I just… put them together in random order and [called] it Quarantine Dream: The Movie.” The first installment went online in April with a live viewing party, and a second followed a little later. Now Booker’s calling on folks to participate in Quarantine Dream: The Movie Part 3, which will have its premiere online on Saturday, June 20.

“I just wanted to give people an outlet, and almost everybody has a phone that they can shoot thirty seconds with,” Booker says. “It’s just thirty seconds, so it doesn’t seem like it would be overwhelming. Also, if it sucks, it only sucks for thirty seconds. And the point is you tried. And you’re doing it. There’s no time for judgment. Judgment comes in about forty-five, forty-six seconds. But with thirty seconds, there’s no time for judgment!”

Booker emphasizes that the whole project is meant to just be fun and low-pressure and enjoyable for everyone. The only rules are ‘no nudity,’ ‘no racism,’ and ‘no sexism.’ Even the thirty second runtime is really more a guideline than a hard and fast rule (Booker says it’s okay if your video comes in at thirty-one or thirty-two). 

The fist Quarantine Dream: The Movie was made up of about seventy shorts, and this time Booker says he’s hoping for even more. “I mean, if we get three submissions, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. If we get a hundred submissions, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. If we get a hundred and twenty submissions, we’ll have Quarantine Dream: The Movie Part 3: Parts 1 and 2. Or we’ll have an intermission,” he says. “We’ll figure it out. That is a good problem to have, too much joy. People just creating, using what they can at their disposal to be a part of something just for fun. It’s nice when you take away expectation. If you’re taking it seriously, then you really shouldn’t be a part of it,” Booker says with a laugh.

“The point of Quarantine Dream: The Movie is… I guess there are two points. One is to allow you the opportunity to create something,” Booker says. “And two: give us a chance to get together and smile at each other. That’s it.”

More information, including how to submit your video and how to watch the streaming premiere of 'Quarantine Dream: The Movie Part 3' is available here.