‘Hertz’ dir. Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo

A docu-drama based on the symptoms of Musical Ear Syndrome & Phantom Sounds, developed as a result of rapid hearing loss. The film takes the audience through the five stages of grief during the loss of hearing based on real case studies, portraying the constant battle between reality and memory.

Writer-Director: Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo
Art Director: Efe Igbinadolor
Lighting: Alan Howden
Key Cast: Michael Lutterodt-Quarcoo

C8: Where did the idea for ‘Hertz’ come from?

CLQ: The idea of Hertz came through the process of writing a fictional narrative, originally based on my cousin who became deaf at a young age. What interested me was the challenge of reintroducing yourself to a world you already knew but through another perspective. It was my research that brought me across the condition ‘Musical Ear Syndrome / Phantom sounds’ and the amazing stories with the varying emotional responses to the conditions that got me hooked.

C8: How early did you decide that you would move away from narrative conventions and proceed with the docu-drama?

CLQ: The decision to shoot Hertz as a docu-drama came very late in the process, but it was slowly building as the production progressed. It was my intention from the beginning to explore the subjects of nostalgia, alienation, and difficulty of communication but the fictional story didn’t do the real experiences justice. Sometimes the unedited truth is more compelling.

C8: You mention that the background to the film was quite personal. Did you allow yourself to be emotionally attached while making it?

CLQ: Being emotionally attached is essential to any narrative piece of work I create, that’s how your able to identify and convey the sentiment within the story, but there comes a point where you have to take a step back and analyse what you’ve created and evaluate whether it communicates effectively.

C8: What obstacles did you face while filming and how did you overcome them?

CLQ: ‘Hertz’ developed as a result of the obstacles I faced during production ranging from; a changing production team, location, casting, equipment, budget. The only way to overcome these issues is to get creative, turning every obstacle into benefit. It’s the limitations that forced me to scrutinise what I really needed and tackle problems in an unconventional way, and I’m thankful for it. It’s become part of my daily practice; I ask myself what limitations can I apply to turn a project into something unique.

C8: What did you shoot on and what was the reasoning behind this choice?

CLQ: The style of ‘Hertz’ was crafted after a period of extensive material testing and research, finally settling on a Canon 5D, 2K floodlight and photographic roll paper for the texture rather than traditional materials such as Muslin. The story demanded something less pristine.

C8: If you could do the whole process again is there anything you would change?

CLQ: Absolutely not, I’m thankful for every obstacle I faced and grateful for every limitation I embraced, these are the things that define you. What you produce when your back is against the wall is a testament to your innovation.

C8: With a film heavily reliant on sound design were you worried how audiences who haven’t watched it in a cinema might respond?

CLQ: With sound being such a important feature of the film, there was definitely a concern for viewer not watching ‘Hertz’ in a cinema but the irony of people watching the film via headphones works all the better because you inserting yourself into the characters headspace.

C8: The film won at the BFI Future Film Festival. What has this accolade meant for your career thus far?

CLQ: Winning the BFI Future Film Festival has definitely made an impact, there has been some increased exposure to my work overall in the UK and abroad, spans from Interactive installations, photography and writing, there’s still a lot more to come, but I’m pacing myself I have my eyes set.

C8: How has ‘Hertz’ been received on the festival circuit?

CLQ: I was extremely humbled when ‘Hertz’ won the BFI Best Documentary award, it didn’t make it all the way through a few festivals but there was a lot of interest and positive reviews, which was encouraging. Despite its quiet success, it was what I needed to motivate me to continue creating and surpass ‘Hertz’.

C8: What, in your opinion, makes for a good collaboration?

CLQ: From my experience defining the roles you need to realise your project is essential, I was naive to the complexities of collaboration in film production, with ‘Hertz’ being my first official short. However, when you can co-ordinate and organise skilled contributors to all be in the same place at the same time, something clicks, you begin bouncing ideas off one another . . . it elevates the project, the final product is as much theirs as it is mine.

C8: What is on the horizon for Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo? Any exciting projects?

CLQ: There’s plenty to look forward to over the next year, before the end of 2014 I will be unveiling my next film ‘Palimpsest’ which focuses on a concept I’m obsessed with at the moment and 2015 will undoubtedly be witness to something special but lets wait and see.