‘Palimpsest’ dir. Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo
‘Palimpsest’ is a short film that delves into the illusion of destiny and the pit falls of its allure. It takes the audience through a journey of discovery to understand the past in hope of preventing history from repeating itself.
Writer-Director: Christopher Lutterodt-Quarcoo
Composer: Sarah Lianne Lewis
Art Director: Efe Igbinadolor
Key Cast: Nickel Yudat, Kevin Jones, Natasha Boston
C8: Take us behind the origin of ‘Palimpsest’. Where did the idea come from?
CLQ: The story of Palimpsest originally stemmed from a installation I designed titled ‘Purge’, which takes a critical perspective on the phrase ‘If these walls could talk. . .’ exploring the ethics of narrative extraction but Palimpsest focuses on the emotional casualties of exploring history.
C8: How long did the script take to finish and what obstacles did you encounter whilst writing?
CLQ: The process took place over two months but the script and story took four weeks to complete including the entire research process, which never really ends but becomes more refined. In the production of any artwork, you encounter the same problems; finances, time, cast, crew, collaborative differences etc. The biggest challenge was constructing a compelling and refined story, with such a limitless concept, I literally had all the worlds history at my disposal.
C8: What was the purpose behind using a mixture of languages in the film?
CLQ: The use of different languages acts a mechanism of distance re-emphasising the separation between the two main characters without overtly stating them.
C8: Were you worried that this might distance the viewer?
CLQ: I didn’t believe using a different language would distance the viewer from the experience of the film but hopefully from the character. It forces them to pay attention to what is being said and his mannerisms, forcing them to ask as many questions as the character is, in his journey of discovery.
C8: As well as writing and directing the film you also worked as the cinematographer and producer. How did you feel about taking on multiple roles?
CLQ: Taking on multiple roles is something I enjoy but also a necessity on small budget productions. Collaboration can be a hit and miss situation unfortunately but I’ve had a fair share of bad experiences but I never stop looking for someone interesting to work with who can push me as well as the project.
C8: Sound and music are integral parts of your work. Why do you place so much emphasis on them?
CLQ: I consider sound the main ingredient across all of my artwork, silence in itself is a sound that I love to explore. I approach it as the recognition of everything missing rather than the presence of nothing. It transports you to a place, time and emotion. It’s suggestive to allow the audience to tap into their own definitions and experiences. In regards to ‘Palimpsest’ Sarah Lianne Lewis’s ‘Shadow Play’ was the starting point to this film.
C8: Both of your shorts ‘Hertz’ and ‘Palimpsest’ have unconventional narratives. Has this been a conscious part of establishing your voice as a filmmaker?
CLQ: Exploring unconventional narratives are essential in all of my artwork. It’s an opportunity to push myself to become more innovative and expose the audience to something different or unexplored, that’s what I believe the role of an artist should be.
C8: How would you describe your filmmaking style and has it evolved since you first started?
CLQ: I’m reluctant to define a style in my work because I aim to deliver what the story requires, in saying that there is a particular focus on abstraction through detail, and maximising the empathetic value of a story for the audience, they need to feel as if they are going through the journey themselves.
C8: How did you fund the film? Did you receive funding from any financial bodies?
CLQ: Palimpsest was funded by the Sound & Vision competition which was a collaboration between the ‘Royal Philharmonic Society’ & Ideastap, bringing together one of their composers and a filmmaker to produce something unique.
C8: If you could collaborate with anyone in the industry who would it be and why?
CLQ: Possibly Isaac Julien, I’m ashamed to say I am new to his work, we have never official met but briefly saw each other at an event late 2013. A few months later he revealed ‘Playtime’ at the Victoria Miro Gallery. There is a poetry to his work that I see in my work as well as his exploration of film crossing over to installation art. It’s a very interesting place to be.
C8: What’s next for you? Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
CLQ: I have a few things in the works at the moment; with ‘Palimpsest’ (film) done, I’m preparing to release part two, which is a critical design piece exploring the mechanics behind the process, which I hope to make an ongoing project. What I’m really looking forward to is an installation and film project I have been working on for the past year.
In ten years time, I hope to be lecturing on a more regular basis, as I find my work shifting into a more critical field, such as my most recent project ‘Coming Up For Air’ with my practice shifting more towards the production of installations. I am aiming to be exhibiting and screening my work in galleries and arthouse cinemas internationally in institutions such as MOMA, ICA, The Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, just to name a few. Ambitious I know but I’m on the path.