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Chronoslexia: 'It's like dyslexia, but for time...'

Meet the people: Director Lee Isserow talks to Luke Porter about his latest project - a film about love, loss and destiny

Published on May 18th 2010.

Chronoslexia: 'It's like dyslexia, but for time...'

LEE Isserow is drawing on one last cigarette on the sunny patio out in the back of the Kazimier. He is preparing for a long day's shooting, beginning any minute now, in the dark, indoor confines of the club on Wolstenholme Square.

Destiny is a prevalent theme throughout. Is life predetermined? Can we alter our path, or is that alteration only leading us to the inevitable?

He will address 75 people or more, extras who will be escorted to separate areas of a set which has just 25 seats. A mere logistical issue, he says.

Isserow is one of the long established professionals who make up Opiate Of The People Films. The company has been around since 2001, and this will be the fifth feature film he has directed. He has also worked on over 100 short films and, as a collective, Opiate Of The People has won 15 awards for these alone.

He is stocking up on his beloved energy drinks and my presence is taking up some of his much needed calm before the storm that is a day's filming. Nevertheless, he takes a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer some questions.

Thanks for your time Lee. How is filming going?
It's all going very well actually, this is our sixth day of shooting and I'd say we're about two thirds of the way through. We've filmed at a number of Liverpool locations, ranging from offices in town, to the lead actress's apartment. We have a budget of £4,500 and that seems to be lasting well.

What's happening today exactly?
We're here at the Kazimier to film a cabaret scene, and that's why we're bringing so many extras in. We're alternating them in groups of about 20. We wanted a large crowd to give the feel of a popular nightspot and the extras, so far, have been really helpful and willing to get involved.

How did you come up with the idea for Chronoslexia?
The condition of chronoslexia has been at the back of my mind for years now. The idea for a film started as a birthday present for an actress friend of mine, Angie Waller. I wanted to give her a star role in my next feature. She has a beautiful voice, so my writing partners and I decided to make the lead female a cabaret singer, and used some songs I crudely constructed years ago.

She and our music-man, Ian Hayles, did major alterations to the originals and made them more bearable to the ear. I am really pleased with the work they've done.

Did it take long to write?
I mentioned the idea to Trev Fleming, a producer, and he pounced on the idea. In less than an hour we had a basic outline. I wrote the original screenplay in about two days and about two weeks later spent another two days on the second draft, just to plug any holes in the storyline, and things of that nature. I like to consider myself as King Of The First Draft, Procrastinator Of The Second.

Why the name 'Chronoslexia'?
Because the condition Sarah, the lead character suffers from is called chronoslexia. It's like dyslexia, but for time.

Angie plays a woman who has a condition that allows her to catch glimpses of the past or the future, and this condition has plagued her throughout her life.

She goes to see a doctor- played by Trev Fleming - but the solution he offers leads to even more problems.

Destiny is a prevalent theme throughout. Is life predetermined? Can we alter our path, or is that alteration only leading us to the inevitable?

The premise sounds interesting, but was it not difficult to work with three separate “times” so to speak?
Yes it was quite difficult. There are the obvious continuity issues; was Sarah wearing red shoes in the “past” scene?; was the picture on the wall there in the “future”; or the “past”?. And there was also the issue of letting the viewer know they were watching a vision. But in the end I think we have portrayed the time differences well.

You advertised for extras on Facebook?
Yes, we are offering lots of extra work via that, as its quick and easy to do. And for every 500 members who join our Facebook group we will release some of our back catalogue for our fans to watch, free of charge, online. We're starting with Simon & Emily, I believe, which is also available in novel and comic form. I thank everyone who has joined our group for doing so.

English For Dirty Foreigners - Lesson 1: Words - Free videos are just a click away

Is this your favourite directing role so far, if not what is?
I think English for Dirty Foreigners was my very favourite to do. It's a series of satirical public information films designed to teach English language and customs to immigrants - if only because we shot more than 80 episodes over two days and forgot to sleep because it was so much fun.

Anybody you want to thank in your Oscar speech?
Our PA Stefanie Alexandra and associate producer Tall Paul deserve acknowledgement for being absolutely wonderful and not minding me barking orders at them.

*Chronoslexia opens in July 2010, with a limited theatrical release, festival screenings, with a simultaneous DVD and Video On Demand release.

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