‘Lord & Lidl’ dir. Oscar Hudson
A man heads to his local Lidl supermarket after God unexpectedly shows up at his door asking for a meal.
Writer-Director: Oscar Hudson
DOP: Ruben Woodin-Dechamps
1st AC: Spike Morris
Key Cast: Billy Clarke, Carmen Little
C8: Where did the idea for ‘Lord & Lidl’ come from? What inspired it?
OH: ‘Lord & Lidl’ is basically an amalgamation of experiences and conversations I’d had just after moving to Tottenham, N.E. London. At the time of writing I was still finding my bearings in the area and one of the things that was striking me hardest was just how palpably you could feel people’s faith around you in the streets. As a non-religious person it was really amazing to see such incredible religious diversity in one small area, but around Tottenham it’s totally the norm. On my road alone there are three warehouse churches. Sometimes I’ll come home late on a Saturday morning and hear people speaking in tongues at five am! It’s hard to ignore! Between that, the Hasidic Jewish & Muslim communities, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the microphone toting Baptist preachers who grace the station the streets really throb with faith.
Another catalyst was an encounter with a man who believed he was Christ. He shook my hand for five minutes and told me that the end of the world was coming. Smiling sweetly he said all he need to was punch me in the face so I’d know I wasn’t dreaming then he’d judge my soul. I guess it got me thinking about what Christ Reincarnate might look like and the relationship between faith and insanity.
C8: How long did it take you to write the script?
OH: I wrote the script very quickly – in just a day or two really. I was mainly just pulling together ideas, conversation and sights I’d seen in the preceding weeks and turning them into a kind of rambling monologue. But the main reason I did it so fast was because I only had five days to pull the entire production together! My DOP Ruben Woodin-Dechamps, was working 2nd Unit on a feature at the time and had in his charge a full Alexa package. He had a day off coming up and told me that if I could pull a project together- he’d supply the camera. So that was that. I had five days to coordinate, write, produce and shoot everything – time pressure can be a very productive force sometimes.
C8: The film was shot with a skeleton crew. Was this always the intention?
OH: Yeah, I had always planned to keep things very small & mobile on this one. My inclination is usually to plan everything to a tee beforehand, storyboard fairly heavily and be fully crewed up. But with this one I wanted total flexibility & the freedom to follow our noses on the day. So aside from our actor, the wonderful Billy Clarke, it was just myself, Ruben (DOP) and Spike (AC). This way Billy was able to turn up, get into the character, where he stayed all day, and just set off on foot around Tottenham, we just followed him and gave him the occasional nudge in the right direction.
C8: What were the challenges on working with such a small crew and how did you overcome them?
OH: The small crew wasn’t the challenge. The small crew was the solution to the challenges. We could fit in a single car. We could move quickly and as a compact unit. We were using available light and just thinking on our feet. The plan was to be reactive and that’s much easier when your lightweight. Ruben and Spike have both been significant collaborators of mine for a long time and we know each other inside out- so we make a pretty well oiled unit for sure!
C8: Tell us about the ending titles that are animated. What was the reasoning behind this?
OH: Lidl Colours!
C8: What did you shoot on and what was the reasoning behind this choice?
OH: We shot the film on an Alexa because the stars aligned and we could use it for free. The reasoning was pure opportunism.
C8: What advice would you give to emerging filmmakers looking to make their first short?
OH: Just make it happen. Don’t wait until you’ve written a masterpiece. Don’t wait for funding. Don’t even worry if it’s no good. Just get it made and get it out there! One thing tends to lead to another. Momentum counts for a lot.
C8: What had you done in your career up until this point and what have you done since?
OH: Big Question! I started out making little films for online magazines like i-D, Dazed and GQ. I then got the chance to do a series of three short films for Channel 4’s Random Acts series, which I co-directed with Spike Morris. Those were a great opportunity to experiment and get some experience with making shorts under my belt. Since then I’ve been making music videos at a steady rate and I have an un-released documentary about abandoned monuments and Communist aliens in Yugoslavia which I made with Ruben, the DOP on ‘Lord & Lidl’. In the long run I just want to keep on experimenting without focusing in on any particular genre of filmmaking.
C8: What, do you think, makes for a good collaboration?
OH: I guess good collaboration is about clarity. It’s things like assumption and timidity that often cause problems and conflicts. It also just simply takes a bit of time to find a group of people you like working with and that you trust, that in itself is a process that’s as important as any other. I feel very lucky that a lot of the people I started out making films with when we were just making it up as we went along are starting to get damn good at their roles. It feels good to be progressing as a little gang and looking back at the work that we’ve made together is such a nice testament to that improvement. I hope that process can continue on.