Return to Ludgate Hill
Ludgate Hill is an impressionistic, character-driven, nostalgic film where I wanted to explore the idea of how I could use the ancient techniques of cinema to reveal a character’s truth in a way I felt was interesting and meaningful.
Nostalgia is the key theme that makes up the fabric of this film. I was going through a difficult period in my life and I was reflecting on the years prior to 2015. I guess it’s something we all do at one particular moment in our lives. Once I realized nostalgia was the foundation for my story, I built a story from the ground up that could compliment the aforementioned technical achievements that I was aiming for with this film. It all started with love – a boyfriend and a girlfriend, then I changed the leads to a brother and a sister. Not having a sister but two brothers made the discovery of the importance between the two the more engaging for me. Having this in place allowed me to focus on the imagery; whose story will this be? I settled on the younger of the two because there’s less understanding of why things happen the way they do when you’re a young boy. To emphasize the imagery, the sound designer used an effect on the boy’s sister’s dialogue to make it feel like she is speaking to him underwater. This disconnect was important because he doesn’t understand the specifics of why she has to leave. He’s trying to connect the dots, but all he can think of is the worst-case scenario – which all kids do more often than not. I used Foley as a weapon, when required, on top of the amount our ears already pick up day-to-day. Towards the end I asked the sound designer to take away all the atmos and leave the Foley, but to emphasize it to the point where it sounds like we are in a tunnel. I believe this adjustment allows us to gain a direct insight into the protagonist’s mind and stay with him until the end. The final element I wanted to use with caution was the score. I worked with Adam on the importance of attaching a theme to each character with the greatest of subtlety. We used notes that were drawn out. In a way your ears are desperate for a new bunch of notes to come through. I liked using this technique when shifting from one period to another or one emotive gesture to another. The rhythm, not only for the score, but with the characters’ movements and the editing, was vital. The most important ingredient in the making of Ludgate Hill was its minimalist approach in telling a simple story.
- Tom Francis Kerby, Director