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George C. Siougas’ THE ONE NOTE MAN tells the story of a musician caught between staying in his comfort zone or stepping out and changing his life forever. Set at Christmas time, the film takes you on a whirlwind adventure of a bassoonist whose routine never strays, playing a single note in a classical orchestra day in day out. This heartwarming short film has qualified to be considered for the 2024 OSCARS® and BAFTA. The film features music by Academy-Award winning composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare In Love, Billy Elliot) who has masterfully created a third character in the film – music that carries the viewer and conveys the transformation of One Note Man into a man opens his heart to the world.

The film stars Jason Watkins as One Note Man (The Crown), Louisa Clein (Emmerdale), Crystal Yu (Dr Who), Paul Barber (The Full Monty) and the voice of Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings).

Director George C Siougas, cast members Louisa Clein (Emmerdale) and Crystal Yu (Dr Who), and composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare In Love, Billy Elliot) attended the intimate screening at the United Agents’ screening room in London on the 26th of October 2023.

Inspired by a illustration of H. M. Bateman ~ Punch, Dec. 14, 1921 titled One Note Man, it gripped Siougas with it’s simplicity: “It was so clean for a short film; I loved it immediately and had to tell the story”. With permission of Bateman estate, writer and director has developed it into a love story and is currently working on a script for a feature film.

Warbeck was as important to the film as a member of the cast, according to Siougas: “music plays a role of a third character and replaces dialogue in the final scene of the film.” Warbeck attested to it confirming that he approached writing music for One Note Man as he would approach creating music for animation: “normally I’m looking at the screen and am responding to scenes, landscapes or emotions. In this case, music had to create part of the story and had to be done in advance.”

The short sets its own pace somewhat redefining the nature of time – the editing relies heavily on seeming repetition of shots without re-using the takes. “We went to huge effort to avoid re-using the shots,” commented Siougas. He continued, “it’s not ‘Groundhog Day’, every time you see a repetition, it’s a new day, new set up, new lens, a new story told every time. It was a puzzle to keep track of the shots and repeat those when turned around.” With only five days of location filming and so many shots to tick off the list, the extent of direction often boiled down to “do the same but faster”, says the director.

The editing wasn’t a walk in the park either. “It took us a good month to go through the edit, which is a lot longer than usually for a piece that is twenty minutes long,” admitted Siougas. The project has capitalised well on George’s planning skills as the entire film was storyboarded meticulously.

Speaking of being directed by George C Siougas, Crystal Yu, who plays the conductor said it “was great to be able to lean on Siougas for guidance”. As the film spans across a two week period, it was important for actors to be clear on each shot and the development of the story. All characters seem effortless and organic – directed by Siougas, they have truly managed to inhabit the world of One Note Man.

Filming and editing wasn’t the only whirlwind experience, according to producer Michael Stevenson of Cusp Films. According to him, the film was planned to enter next year’s awards season. Yet, having locked the picture as recently as 1st of July 2023, the film has already secured awards and screenings at BAFTA and Academy Awards qualifying festivals.

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Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).