That Thing in the Head

A hard of hearing patient at a therapy session encounters his anxieties, problems with hearing aids and his (ex-) marital problems. And his nemesis: the radiator in the room.

  • Jan Kalina
  • Jan Kalina
  • Thomas Cocco
  • Jan Kalina
  • Jan Kalina
    Key Cast
  • Nishant Raj
    Key Cast
  • Dzhannet Zhangalova
    Key Cast
  • Nora Austin Murphy
    Key Cast
    "Hearing Aid System Lady"
  • Anya Bazhenova
    Director of Photography
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    16 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 23, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    1,540 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    Czech Republic
  • Country of Filming:
    Czech Republic
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Blackmagic 4k
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Jan Kalina

Jan Kalina is a Prague-based screenwriter and director who believes that stories have the powers to change the world.

At first Jan started writing short stage plays at a local anglophone theatre community, and then moving onto creating short films which resulted in his brand/Youtube channel Emerson's Finest which features among other things a podcast focused on pop culture.
Jan is a big film buff and a lover of cinema.

Also he happens to be hard of hearing.

Jan's experiences (such as having lived in several countries as Egypt or Belgium), perspective on the world, being equipped with two hearing aids and a bilateral hearing loss and his love for cinema, books, music or anything pop culture have shaped his ability and keen eye to tell stories.

As a storyteller Jan aims to focus on socially conscious issues and offering an unique angle in the process. Through comedy and satire people are offered a chance to learn. However Jan's interests lie across the entire genre spectrum. Jan is interested in narratives that involve zany, whimsical, absurd aesthetics or heightened realities.

At every project Jan finds it vital to champion the women talent behind the camera as the industry is very gender-imbalanced and the independent film industry is a chance to break through and offer more diversity.

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Director Statement

"That Thing in the Head" is a 16-minute comedy about a hard of hearing patient at a therapy session, dealing with unwanted sounds. The therapist is also his ex-wife so things promptly go off the rails.

There are a lot of eerie, spooky elements mixed in to further highlight the anxieties and the experience of someone with hearing loss as they are hearing voices and sounds that don't belong. This happens as the radiator, usually an inanimate object, enters as a character in the story.

Jan leads by giving the actor freedom to explore their own representation in a role, but provides the necessary grounding to give them both the confidence and the tools to reach their best levels as stated by the co-writer Thomas Cocco.

The hearing loss and the hard of hearing as a community do not appear often in the media so this short film is a chance to advocate and represent this community. Jan's experience with hearing loss in the Czech republic is that it is often seen as a stigma and a niche disability so it is often dismissed outright. However in the world the situation is being turned around.
As the film progresses it is not entirely clear if the marital problems lie on the ex-wife who was not accepting to Jerry's hearing loss or if the fault can be ascribed to Jerry and his psyche.

The short film is influenced by the camerawork typical for Sam Raimi and the neurotic dialogue humor of Woody Allen.

This short film attempts to bring a slice of life of a hard of hearing person and how life with hearing aids may feel, along with a galore of other problems they may encounter. Hope you enjoy this comedy mixed in with spooky elements!