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March 5, 2015

WOMADelaide: Live Live Cinema

B-grade thriller films are an under-appreciated art form. But when they’re being scored and dubbed live on stage by an ambitious group of musicians, actors, and one sweaty Foley artist, they’re something else entirely. For your bewilderment, Leon Radojkovic brings Live Live Cinema to WOMADelaide.

  • Words: Johnny Von Einem

By definition, a B-grade film is an imperfect work of art; always slightly awkward, but with something strangely redeeming running through it.


Live Live Cinema is at WOMADelaide this weekend. Carnival of Souls will be playing Friday, 11:10pm on Stage 3 and Dementia 13 will be playing Sunday, 11:00pm on Stage 3.

Whilst watching Francis Ford Coppola’s Dementia 13 and Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls, composer Leon Radojkovic didn’t see cinematic failure, he saw opportunity.

Enlisting the help of his band, Dr. Colossus, and some contacts from his time scoring stage productions, Leon began the process of trying to enhance the experience of the films.

Dementia 13, Francis Ford Coppola apparently wrote the script for that in one night, so some of the dialogue is bizarre and wooden. I think that gives us a lot we can play with,” Leon explains.

“Neither of these films, if you watch them in your lounge, would be particularly scary, but in the live environment with the new music and the actors doing what they do with their characters and their vocal delivery, it actually becomes quite terrifying.”

Laying the bare bones of the cinema-making process on stage is no small feat, particularly for the Foley artist.

“He’s incredible to watch (Foley artist, Gareth Van Niekerk) because … he has a table full of gadgets and gizmos and everyday household objects and buckets of goo and foliage and typewriters – he’s working with all of that with his hands, but then throughout the entire show he’s basically walking or running non-stop because he’s having to create all of the footsteps as well. So by the end of it he’s literally pouring with sweat.”

Gareth’s efforts, coupled with that of the small batch of actors voicing multiple characters, and the band playing for the duration of the film, mean the project is as much about endurance as it is about film.

And as any cinemagoer with a penchant for thrills knows, the soundtrack is by far the most important part, and when played live, Leon promises a much more visceral experience.

“Originally I was just fascinated with that idea of ‘how much can we change audiences’ experience of something depending on the choices we make with the soundtrack’, to me that was the most interesting,” Leon says.

“And probably the overall aim was really just to see how good we could make this experience, how good we could make these films.”

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