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Do you hear what I hear?

To hear Sharon Litwin’s interview with Giorgio Bertuccelli on WWNO radio, click here.

Soundscape artist Giorgio Bertuccelli

Art for Art’s Sake takes place Saturday night. So rain or shine, hot or cold, in New Orleans that means summer is over. Every year at this time, we declare it officially fall and, thus, the beginning of the cultural season.

While Art for Art’s Sake has traditionally focused on the visual arts, sculpture and photography, this year the event has an added dimension, one particularly appropriate in a town that calls itself Hollywood South.

The New Orleans Film Festival and the Contemporary Arts Center are presenting Cinema Reset. Directed and curated by Blake Bertuccelli, NolaVie’s Director of Content, Cinema Reset is an exhibition of constantly evolving streams of experimental film and multimedia work placed throughout the first floor of the CAC and out on Julia Street.

Included in the extensive CAC multimedia presentation is a surround-sound installation focusing on how sound is used as a storytelling device. It’s the brainchild of Giorgio Bertuccelli, Blake’s father, and sound designer Dean Hovey.

A New Orleanian of Italian heritage, Giorgio has returned to his adopted home town after a successful career in Los Angeles, to offer his creative expertise in sound design to a now-thriving film industry here.

“Soundscape is audio elevated to a different level,” Giorgio explains. “It can create tension, be used as a diversion, express emotions.”

And in this day and age, he adds, you don’t have to go to school to learn how to create soundscapes. “You no longer need huge machines like when I started,” he explains. “You can do this yourself in your own home, since all the technical needs now live, so to speak, inside your computer.”

Giorgio is a self-taught sound designer, a skill he honed while working in his father’s float-building workshop. Although a musician and composer, he found himself most fascinated by the sounds that reverberated throughout the Mardi Gras warehouse. Soon he was experimenting and then sculpting sound scores for use in the emerging New Orleans film industry of the late ‘80s.

But there wasn’t enough work here. So, after a few years, he decided to go where most of America’s movies were being made, and opened a successful boutique commercial music house in Los Angeles. There he worked on successful commercial spots for businesses such as Levi’s 501, Diet Coke and AT&T, as well as on television shows such as Friends.

But, as Dorothy said in her famous movie, there’s no place like home. So Giorgio has returned to New Orleans to open his own sound studio. And if you’re wondering what in the world Dorothy has to do with this — well, remember the distinctive sound of those red shoes clicking together? That would be one aspect of movie sound design.

Don’t expect to hear anything quite that basic at the CAC. The Soundscape installation will take you into an entirely different acoustical experience, one that, like a work of visual art, can be interpreted differently by each person who hears it.

For a sample of Giorgio’s work in video and sound, take a look at his whimsical view of Barkus 2012:

Sharon Litwin is president of NolaVie.


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