Written and directed by Sian Heder, ‘CODA’ is a poignant drama centered around a majority-deaf family and their hearing teenage daughter in a small fishing village. The film is part coming-of-age, part family drama, and explores the nuances of deaf culture and a young adult torn between her passion and her family. Their background as fishermen also gives the film an added note of complexity as we see the family and the fishing community at large struggle with challenges to their livelihood.
‘CODA’ (an acronym for Child of Deaf Adults) is the English-language remake of Éric Lartigau’s 2014 French-language film ‘La Famille Bélier.’ The film’s minute attention to detail in the portrayal of the characters is complemented by a very authentic backdrop, with many scenes featuring the central family working on their fishing boat. If you’re wondering where the filmmakers brought ‘CODA’ to life, we’ve got the details!
CODA Filming Locations
‘CODA’ was shot almost entirely in a coastal city in Massachusetts, where the filming unit painstakingly searched for authentic locations to serve as the home and surroundings of the film’s central family. Filming also involved scenes shot aboard a fishing trawler, for which the cast and crew members spent copious time familiarizing themselves with the process to seem believable on screen.
The beautiful film was shot near the end of summer in 2019, but post-production was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of it had to be done remotely. Let’s take a closer look at the specific filming locations used in the film.
The film was shot majorly on location in Gloucester in Essex County, Massachusetts, which is an important fishing hub. The film’s director grew up in nearby Cambridge and spent many of her childhood summers in Gloucester, where she became familiar with the fishing community and the challenges they face. This is partly why Heder decided to set the working-class family central to her movie in the city.
Multiple residential houses in Gloucester were used for filming on location, including one that doubled up as the family home. Apart from that, a Victorian-style house used to depict the choirmaster’s home is the one that Heder had visited as a child. Various interior and exterior scenes were filmed in these houses.
The boat used for filming is a fishing vessel named Angela & Rose, owned by Captain Paul Vitale. The director and the cast were educated in local fishing practices by the seasoned Captain. Interestingly, during filming, the cast members were essentially carrying out many of the functions on the boat.
— Sian Heder (@sianheder) January 26, 2021
The bordering seaside town of Rockport in Essex County was also used for on-location filming of ‘CODA.’ The production team specifically used the Steel Derrick quarry in Rockport to film several scenes. The scenes depicting a flooded quarry in the film were shot at the quarry, which was a functioning quarry in its heyday and is now a pool used by locals.
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