NEW YORK – Filmmaker 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 draws the audience along on a whirlwind adventure for a bassoonist who never strays from his routine, playing a single note in a classical orchestra day in, day out. This heartwarming short film has qualified to be considered for the 2024 Academy Awards after winning the Grand Prize for Best Live Action Short Film at the Rhode Island International Film Festival. The film stars Jason Watkins (The Crown), Louisa Clein (Emmerdale), Crystal Yu (Dr. Who), Paul Barber (The Full Monty), and the voice of the legendary Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings).
According to the film’s description, a lonely bassoonist lives his life meticulously, mired in routine. Each day, he plays a single note in an orchestra and leaves the stage while the rest continue. One day, his exit is accidentally delayed and he hears a breathtaking violin solo, which changes his life forever.
The film’s writer/director, George C. Siougas, is originally from Greece and studied at the London Film School. His debut feature, Burning Heads, was nominated for 11 Hellenic Film Academy Awards, and in 2022 his episode of BBC’s Casualty was one of four nominated for a BAFTA. Siougas is currently developing a feature-length version of The One Note Man.
Without a word of dialogue, the film features an original score composed by the Academy Award-winning composer Stephen Warbeck (Shakespeare in Love, Billy Elliot). Co-produced by UK-based production companies Cusp Films and Moseley Road Productions, along with U.S.-based Verus Studios, The One Note Man has also qualified to be considered for the 2024 BAFTAs after being selected for the Norwich Film Festival.
On November 29, Siougas, along with BAFTA-winning actor Jason Watkins and the film’s producers, participated in a panel discussion and Q&A via Zoom about The One Note Man with members of the media, including The National Herald. Irish filmmaker Vincent Lambe served as moderator.
During the fascinating discussion which highlighted the unique story and the filmmaking process, Siougas noted that film was inspired by the H.M. Bateman cartoon ‘The One Note Man’ which sparked questions for him about the character of this musician that eventually led him to create his short film.
When asked if it was a challenge to tell the story without dialogue, Siougas said that “it was never a conscious decision, ‘I’m going to make a film with no dialogue,’ but it evolved that way, and there’s no dialogue in the original illustration, there are no dialogue bubbles, and in any case my goal whenever I’m telling any story is to show it rather than tell it… and it happened quite naturally as I was writing it, I got to page 3 without dialogue and I could tell the story, [then by] 4, 5, 6, I just realized I could tell the whole story without dialogue, so it wasn’t really a struggle or a challenge, it was just a great opportunity to use cinema’s three most powerful tools, performance, music, and image just to tell a story.”
Of his Greek heritage and its influence on his work, Siougas told TNH that “I’m sure it influences me in ways that I’m not aware of, subconsciously and just in who I am, I’m sure it does… I love stories about people and the Greek culture, of course, is a culture that revolves around family a lot and food, and I love that, too, so I’m sure it’s there in my DNA all the time, but consciously I don’t look for stories that reflect my heritage, I think it’s more of an unconscious thing.”
Cusp Films is an award-winning UK production company that produces high-quality, gripping drama which attracts high-profile creative talent. They have rapidly grown their catalogue of work and now have several TV and feature film projects in development.
Moseley Road Productions is a UK-based film and television production company aiming to inspire, entertain and make a positive contribution to the cultural landscape.
Verus Studios, LLC is a female-owned, U.S.-based production studio specializing in genuine and authentic storytelling.
Executive Producers include Joshua Friedman (formerly of Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox) and Sean Mathias.
The trailer for The One Note Man is available online: https://shorturl.at/yIY04.