Carl Hunter, the Director and creator of Sometimes Always Never and Grow Your Own, documents the streets of Liverpool as they have never been seen before in his new short film More Than Time.

As workers all over Britain are urged to return to work and highstreets reopen, walking through most UK city centres now it is difficult to remember the days when the country was in grip of lockdown.

It was not so long ago that high streets were deserted, and the world seemed like a very different place. Many shops and eateries looked like the film set of a post-apocalyptic movie; city centres that once thrived on the hustle and bustle of its people became ghost towns overnight.

However Carl Hunter, Senior Lecturer at Edge Hill University, saw lockdown as a creative opportunity and set out to document this unique moment. With lockdown leading to the monotony and blandness of undifferentiated days it seemed like “less than time”. Hunter’s art film re-imagines that period as the opposite – “more than time”.

A poetic response to the COVID pandemic

Hunter describes the short film as a “poetic response to the COVID pandemic. The film is where memory populates streets of a once vibrant city, instead of its people.”

In the film, anonymous messages are left on a Liverpool answer machine about loss and memory. Combining still photography and a soundtrack by Steve Grimes, the storytelling grows into a symphony of image and sound from the streets of a deserted city.

Carl Hunter said: “In this film I was interested to explore strands of sound and image that draw on my experiences as a film director, musician, and academic researcher. It is important that universities accommodate filmmakers, it is also important that filmmakers who work in universities have something to say about lockdown”.

Carl Hunter and Steve Grimes are members of the iconic Liverpool band The Farm. Hunter won international acclaim in 2019 for his film starring Bill Nighy, Sometimes Always Never (Hurricane Films). Grimes has written scores for television and documentary.

The short film is produced by the Institute for Creative Enterprise (ICE) at Edge Hill University in Liverpool. Hunter is a Senior Lecturer in Media at Edge Hill and in this film works with director of ICE and film producer Martin McQuillan (Love in The Post, Oxi: An Act of Resistance) to create a film that draws from university research but is not merely academic. The film is edited by ICE manager Roz Di Caprio.

A beautiful and moving work of art

ICE Director and More Than Time producer, Martin McQuillan, said: “Carl has made a beautiful and moving work of art, which matches exquisite photography with Steve’s soaring soundtrack. The result is both serenely still and extremely cinematic, telling a story grounded in place but open to possibility.”

The film’s soundtrack has been created by Sam Auguste, a sound designer who has collaborated with Hunter on many films including: A Winter’s Tale, British Council, A Day in The Life: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Sometimes Always Never. Auguste’s sonic collage converts the imagined into a sensory journey.

ICE is currently co-producing films with Bazelevs Studios in Moscow and Hurricane Films in Liverpool. A documentary, All at Sea, directed by Mike Hodges (Get Carter, Flash Gordon, Croupier) co-produced with Hurricane Films will be released in 2021.

Edge Hill’s Department of Media offers industry relevant programmes in animation, film and television, which provide rich academic experience underpinned by staff research. To find out more about the courses on offer at Edge Hill, visit the website here.

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Published On: October 21st, 2020