‘Hard Hat’ dir. Karan Kandhari (2010)

A melancholy comedy about three immigrants who meet on a cash-in-hand construction job in today’s London.

Year: 2010
Country: UK
Director: Karan Kandhari
Writer:  Karan Kandhari
Producer: Fredrik Herneoja & Karan Kandhari
Key Cast: Lukasz Wieczorek, Sule Rimi & Adam Ganne

Winner, Audience Award, 2010

Presented in association with Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival 2012

5 Questions for Karan Kandhari


C8: Where did the idea for Hardhat come from?

KK: I was actually researching for another film I was writing, set against a similar backdrop and a lot of what I came across and people I met along the way informed what became Hard Hat. I was also tired of how immigrants are portrayed as ‘noble’ in a lot of films and I really just wanted to make a film about these people, these humans - in this particular situation. 

C8: It is comic but shot through with real pathos and sympathy – is this subject matter that is close to your heart?

KK: Life is both sad and funny and that’s what I’m trying to capture in my work.  I’m drawn to outsiders, misfits, people who don’t fit into boxes who exist on the fringes so to speak.  They are who identify with, so I guess it is pretty close to my heart.

C8: We were so taken with the scenario and characters that we wanted it to go on for longer (not something that is often said about shorts) – have there ever been any plans for a feature version of Hardhat?

KK: Thank you!  As it did the festival trail we came across so many people who wanted to see a feature.   I’m currently trying to write a feature with the same three characters.

C8: Where does Hardhat sit in your career, what had you done before it?

KK: I made one micro budget feature when I got out of film school.  It was awful, but the greatest learning experience I ever had, you have to go through these things before you find your voice.  Hard Hat is the first of a trilogy of shorts I set out to make, we just finished the second which is FLIGHT OF THE POMPADOUR.  It was commissioned through a scheme FujiFilm and YMC put together, the final one is called SIDNEY which has been shortlisted for funding and we aim to shoot at the end of the year.  I don’t look at shorts as ‘stepping stones’ or ‘trailers’, I think short films are as valid as features as pieces of work.  Hard Hat was also born of frustration, having had a feature go into development and then fizzle out in the development process like many do - I was hungry to  just create and tell stories.   

C8: What’s next on the horizon for you as a filmmaker?

KK: A feature is the next logical step and I’m writing two.  In terms of shorts, Sidney would be the next short – which I’m really excited about and also nervous as we wait for an answer from the pose and we’ve literally just finished Pompadour a few days ago.