July 30, 2019
It feels really special to introduce my guest for this finale episode - producer Sarah Brocklehurst - because 5 years ago I went to an event organised by Underwire Film Festival called Women Write Comedy where she was a speaker and I remember finding her really inspirational then - I wrote a whole blog post about the day and even plucked up the courage to go and speak to her about her career, so to then be hosting this podcast episode where we talk explicitly about just that, feels really serendipitous.
Sarah is a BAFTA-nominated producer whose latest project ANIMALS is being released in UK cinemas this Friday the 2nd of August. It’s directed by Sophie Hyde - whose debut film 52 Tuesdays I urge you to find and watch if you haven’t already - and it stars Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat as two party-loving best friends as they navigate the ups and downs of life in Dublin. At once a celebration of female friendship and an examination of the choices we make when facing a crossroad, ANIMALS is an honest, funny, edgy, unconventional and bittersweet snapshot of modern women, based on the novel by Emma Jane Unsworth, who also wrote the script.
Sarah and I chat extensively about pulling that production together, from hearing about the book on Twitter to premiering it at Sundance earlier this year. We talk about the advantages of running your own company from home and how she stayed motivated during the funding and pre-production process.
Thank you so much for listening to Series 1 of Best Girl Grip. I'll be back in October with fresh guests and fresh eps.
July 23, 2019
For the penultimate episode of the first season I spoke to Jasmin Morrison.
Formerly an Investment Manager at The Fyzz Facility, a production and financing company based in London having worked her way up the ranks from Executive Assistant, Jasmin currently heads up Soul Cognition, a production and consultancy company that she founded. So I think it’s fair to say Jasmin is a bit of a powerhouse.
We talk about different types of film financing, gender representation in the business side of film and her advice for people wanting to get into the film industry.
July 16, 2019
This week I spoke to Rowan Woods who has jammed so much into her career it’s actually pretty staggering and is possibly one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met.
Rowan is currently the Film Programme Manager for the British Council where she finds and screens new UK features to international film festival selectors, as well as being the Industry Programmer for this year’s London Film Festival. Previously she was a Development Executive as BBC Films, so we chat about working her way up to that role, taking strategic career leaps, staying healthy at film festivals and being a friend to younger women in the industry.
It’s no surprise that several people have requested that Rowan be a guest on the podcast, so I’m very happy to finally be making that happen.
July 9, 2019
This is the first of my recorded interviews from the Edinburgh Film Festival. It was a joy to sit down with Flore Cosquer who heads up the Talent Development department at the Scottish Documentary Institute and manages the Institute’s various training initiatives and industry events, including the Edinburgh Pitch, and oversees the production of the flagship filmmaking program Bridging the Gap.
SDI are based at the Edinburgh College of Art and specialise in documentary training, production and distribution, supporting filmmakers through their diverse programme of international activities and training schemes.
Flore and I discuss why she left behind a career in film production as well as the process of producing her first feature documentary Freedom Fields. The film follows three women and their football team in post-revolution Libya, as the country descends in civil war and the utopian hopes of the Arab Spring begin to fade.
Find screenings of the film happening around Europe here: https://www.freedomfieldsfilm.com/screenings
July 2, 2019
My guest this week is Sophie Powell, a graphic designer for Film & TV whose credits include Edgar Wright’s upcoming film Last Night In Soho, Yesterday which is currently in cinemas, Rocketman, Mission Impossible - Fallout, Patrick Melrose and the episode 'USS Callister' on Black Mirror Series 4, which I’d say is a pretty formidable CV.
I was really excited to speak to Sophie about the world of graphic design as I think it’s one of those aspects of filmmaking and world-building that we take completely for granted and perhaps rightly so, because it means they’re doing their jobs if we’re so immersed we don’t notice the fonts and labels and signage. However it was great to do a deep dive in what exactly on a set Sophie makes and how she found her way to doing it. Sophie has a really infectious laugh and personality, so this was a real joy to record.
June 25, 2019
Ellen Evans is a documentary filmmaker whose shorts have screened worldwide at Sundance, SXSW, Hot Docs, Sheffield Doc/Fest and on BBC iPlayer. I had the absolute pleasure of watching her latest project Country Girl which I believe is still in post and its astoundingly good, empathetic filmmaking and it made me really excited to interview Ellen.
Ellen has also been selected as one of the filmmakers to participate in The Uncertain Kingdom project, which you may remember we spoke about all the way back in episode one with Georgia Goggin when applications had opened, so it feels like a nice way to track the journey of the podcast in relation to that!
June 18, 2019
Rachel is the Film Programme Coordinator at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema. Previously she was the Producer of Alchemy Film and Moving Arts Festival, and has also held roles at Film Hub Scotland, Edinburgh Film Festival, BFI Festivals and Picturehouse, and she is also an archive activist. Rachel co-founded a project called Invisible Women that examines how curators can address gendered absence in the archive through public exhibition and looks to reinsert women into cinematic history.
Read their manifesto here: https://www.invisible-women.co.uk/manifesto
This was succhhh a good chat, I learnt so much and Rachel is incredibly eloquent and intelligent. We talk about the Invisible Women project, particularly some of the women filmmakers that it’s helping to resurrect, programming in the age of Me Too and career pivots.
June 11, 2019
This week is the 3rd episode in 4-part Flatpack Festival special. Flatpack is a really inventive and subversive event that happens in Birmingham every year, screening a whole host of films and art forms that you might not have seen before. And in that vein, I was really chuffed to get to speak to this week’s guest Sima Gonsai, who is an independent film director and producer specialising in screen dance.
Screen dance is a movement-based arts form that combines cinematography with choreography in its storytelling. Sima will do a much better job of explaining what that is and how she came to be involved in it. This year at Flatpack she programmed an event called Merce Cunningham at 100: Innovations in Screen Dance, in which she explored the ongoing conversation between dance, film and digital technology through a brief history of Merce Cunningham, a pioneering contemporary dancer and an early innovator in splicing performance with projected imagery.
So I’ll admit I was slightly out of my comfort zone for this interview, because visual arts is something I know next to nothing about and I really was asking questions without much understanding of what Screen Dance was, but it turned out to be really fascinating. We talk a lot of about funding, about being an independent filmmaker and what that looks like, as well as how Sima’s career changed after she had her daughter, so I really appreciate Sima’s honesty there. I think Sima is testament to the fact that you can make and screen your work even if it doesn’t fit neatly into a category or operates outside the mainstream.
June 4, 2019
This week, in the 2nd edition of my 4-part Flatpack Film Festival special, I speak to Amy Smart, who manages Flatpack's year round activity under the banner of Film Hub Midlands, a BFI-funded project working with the Film Audience Network to help build a more thriving film community in the region.
It was a really energetic and fun interview, and I can absolutely see why last week’s guest Alex Jackson chose Amy as someone whom she found inspirational. We talk about how she started out in the film industry, why her job makes her feel like James Garner in The Great Escape, what happens when you programme something that only 4 people show up to and what her proudest programming moment is.
I hope you enjoy it!
May 28, 2019
This episode, along with the next three are quite special in that I recorded them during and at the Flatpack Film Festival in Birmingham, an annual event that takes place in venues across the city where recurring themes include animation, music, artists’ film, archive discoveries, offbeat shorts for kids and live cinema. The Flatpack folk are firm believers in creating a sense of occasion and exploring the fertile territory where film bumps up against other artforms, and also showing people things they might not otherwise have seen.
So thank you very much to the wonderful festival, who helped facilitate these interviews with just a handful of the really smart and thoughtful women who helped create and curate the wickedly eclectic programme.
Kicking things off is my interview with Alex Jackson. Alex is a BFI NETWORK Talent Executive for the Midlands, which basically means she discovers and nurtures filmmakers in that region. Before taking up this post Alex managed Phoenix Cinema and Art Centre’s learning and talent programme. She has also lead on other national projects, including Access Cinema, which works to establish comfortable and enjoyable cinema environments for people with disabilities.
She was involved in Flatpack’s talent camp a one-day training event for new and emerging talent looking to make narrative fiction short films. It was a real pleasure to meet Alex and hear how committed she is to make cinema and filmmaking as accessible as possible, and also to chat about the ins and outs of filmmaking outside of London.