Covid-inspired film shows fridge stuffed with toilet rolls and lemons

Director’s short film featuring a fridge stuffed with toilet rolls and lemons in the coronavirus lockdown sparks its own film festival ‘backed by Jude Law’

  • Kyriakos Georgiou created 5min film When Life Gives You Lemons Take Them – which has been snapped up by 31 film festivals
  • South Londoner, 28, made the movie after quitting school technician job in 2019 
  • In film, he plays Jay, a key worker who gives insight into eccentricities of his new life as he ‘journeys’ to work throughout different rooms in his house
  • It has sparked his own South London Film Festival – in which fellow South Londoner Jude Law has ‘shown an interest’ 

Panic-buying toilet roll was one of the defining aspects of the first lockdown. 

Now, the national frenzy has been immortalised in a short film – which has been snapped up by 31 film festivals. 

Aspiring director Kyriakos Georgiou, 28, made the film after quitting his job in 2019 to pursue his film-making ambitions, months before the Covid-19 outbreak. 

When lockdown began, he was stuck at home like millions of others with no job and his dreams apparently in tatters. 

But determined to make the best of it, he made a movie featuring a fridge stuffed with toilet rolls and lemons to capture the bizarre nature of lockdown. 

Now his movie – When Life Gives You Lemons Take Them – has sparked his own South London Film Festival backed by Jude law and comedian Mo Gilligan. 

Aspiring director Kyriakos Georgiou, 28, made the film When Life Gives You Lemons Take Them after quitting his job in 2019 to pursue his film-making ambitions, months before the Covid-19 outbreak. (Above, he also stars in the five-minute film)

When lockdown began, Georgiou was stuck at home like millions of others with no job and his dreams apparently in tatters. But determined to make the best of it, he made a movie featuring a fridge stuffed with toilet rolls and lemons to capture the bizarre nature of lockdown


Georgiou’s film has been snapped up by 31 film festivals. The movie-maker, whose ‘film buff’ father died from lung cancer when he was 18, said: ‘Jude Law [right], because he’s from south London, we reached out to him and he’s shown an interest so hopefully he’s quite happy to support us’

Set six months into lockdown after the outbreak of coronavirus, the five-minute piece follows the story of Jay, a key worker played by Georgiou, who gives an insight into the eccentricities of his new life, as he ‘journeys’ to work throughout different rooms in his house. 

Jay is seen retrieving morning coffee from a playhouse in his garden, eating lunch ‘alone’ in the bath and sitting in his ‘quieter than usual office’ – his toilet. 

Other scenes poke fun at stockpiling as Jay takes a toilet roll out of the microwave for his dinner and opens a fridge full of lemons, with a narrator adding: ‘When life gives you lemons, grab them – there are none left in Tesco.’ 

He told the Mail: ‘I was really low and I thought what else can I do? I thought of all those people who work in offices and travel up to London every day and I thought how are they coping? 

‘[The response] was overwhelming. People loved it… I think the most embarrassing thing I always forget is there are people seeing me sitting there on the toilet. I forget. 

‘Being stuck in lockdown, you get more confident and think “Oh, no one cares about you” and just get on with it, so that probably wasn’t a great idea putting that around the world.’ 

‘I was really low and I thought what else can I do? I thought of all those people who work in offices and travel up to London every day and I thought how are they coping?’, Georgiou told the Daily Mail

Georgiou said he was the ‘biggest sceptic out of everyone’ when he quit his job but that he doesn’t regret waiting until now to kick start his film career

Georgiou, who quit his eight-year career as a school technician, started the South London Film Festival in July to provide an opportunity for filmmakers worldwide and to inspire those in his community. 

There is also a free-to-submit category for students, with the winner receiving £1,000 to spend on courses with the Raindance Film Festival. 

The project received some 600 submissions ahead of the virtual event on December 20, with actors Larry Lamb and Riz Ahmed featuring, while grime artists Stormzy and Kano appear in music video submissions. 

Georgiou, whose ‘film buff’ father died from lung cancer when he was 18, said: ‘Jude Law, because he’s from south London, we reached out to him and he’s shown an interest so hopefully he’s quite happy to support us. 

‘Mo Gilligan has been very supportive and he’s given us an interview and again he’s from south London… People like John Boyega, Stormzy’s from south London. All these people from south London who are out there at the top. 

‘These people are inspirations to our community and I think it’s important in a time like this to look up to people and see that yes, you can still be creative. 

‘A message from well-known people would inspire our filmmakers. As much as I scream and shout saying to be creative, no one really cares because they don’t know me.’ 

The self-taught Greek Cypriot has penned another film, titled Three Men And A Kitchen Table, and is in ‘talks with a big name. He’s an elderly gentleman but we can’t say anything’. 

Georgiou said he was the ‘biggest sceptic out of everyone’ when he quit his job but that he doesn’t regret waiting until now to kick start his film career. 

He said: ‘I put everything into working self-employed… I did a few jobs for free and invested in some equipment to build up my showreel then I started getting some clients coming in. 

‘I had three bookings for 2020 which would have seen me through at least half the year and all three of them cancelled because they are in financial difficulties because of the pandemic. 

‘Sometimes I think maybe I should have done it earlier but then I look back and think if I’d left a bit earlier, I wouldn’t have been as comfortable as I am now.’ 

Of the future, he added: ‘I aim to be making my own feature films soon. I think that’s the end goal. Telling stories and relating to people.’

A Tesco supermarket shelf almost devoid of toilet roll at the height of panic-buying during the pandemic

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