Best Girl Grip
#92: Cathy Brady, Filmmaker

#92: Cathy Brady, Filmmaker

September 2, 2021

This week I am back with the third instalment of my bonus trilogy and my guest is the incredibly talented, incredibly charming Cathy Brady!

Cathy is a two-time IFTA-winning director, having won Best Short in 2011 for her first film Small Change and again in 2013 for Morning. In 2011, Cathy directed the BIFA nominated short Rough Skin, starring Vicky McClure, and in 2013, Cathy was named one of Screen Daily’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’.

In 2014, Cathy directed on the BAFTA-nominated drama-thriller series Glue. More recently, Cathy directed Stefanie Preissner's TV comedy series Can’t Cope/Won’t Cope

Wildfire, her debut feature film which we’re here to talk about, alongside how her career led to this moment, is released in UK cinemas tomorrow (on Friday 3 September). 

Cathy’s film tells the story of inseparable sisters - Lauren and Kelly - raised in a small town on the Irish border, but whose lives are shattered by the mysterious death of their mother. Lauren is left to pick up the pieces after Kelly abruptly disappears, but when she returns home after being reported missing for a whole year, their intense sisterhood is reunited. 

I saw the film at LFF last year and it was haunting and poignant and spectral and definitely had this spiky, fiery quality to it. It’s also lensed by Crystel Fournier who has worked on lots of Celine Sciamma’s movies, including Girlhood and Tomboy

Anyway, this chat was lovely and I could spend many hours talking to Cathy. We cover her time at the NFTS, how she hustled to get directing work upon graduation, the experience of making Wildfire and then the difficulty of releasing it during a pandemic and whilst grieving the death of one it’s lead actresses Nika McGuigan. 

I definitely urge you to support this film in cinemas, but in the meantime, enjoy our conversation.

This is episode 92 of Best Girl Grip.

#91: Molly Manning-Walker, Cinematographer & Writer-Director

#91: Molly Manning-Walker, Cinematographer & Writer-Director

August 24, 2021

Today I’m sharing another in-between season bonus episode that I recorded live as part of the BFI’s Woman With a Movie Camera Summit in July. My guest was Molly Manning Walker, a cinematographer, writer and director. 

Molly trained as a cinematographer and graduated from NFTS in 2019, after which her graduation film November 1st was long-listed for a BAFTA. As a DP, she works across a variety of formats including documentary, fiction and advertising, and she has just finished shooting her first TV series, Superhoe, written by Nicole Lecky and directed by Dawn Shadforth and she is in prep for Scrapper directed by Charlotte Regan. 

Molly’s debut writing and directing project was the short film Good Thanks, You? which premiered at the Semaine De La Critique program at the Cannes Film Festival. Her follow up short film, conceived and created during the pandemic, The Forgotten C, was BIFA Nominated. Meanwhile, her debut feature film How To Have Sex is currently in development with Film4 and Molly was recently awarded the Next Step Prize at Cannes. 

I thought it was a quite a no-bullshit conversation - Molly is quite young, and to mind, very successful and on a very exciting trajectory, but she made it very clear that has only been achieved through a very strong work ethic. Listening back to it for the edit I think it’s full of quite practical advice and we talk about how limitations can be creatively useful, what support looks like on-set and how counselling and intimacy co-ordination were crucial to the making of Molly’s short film Good Thanks, You? As well as discussing Molly’s transition from shooting to directing, why she makes a habit of only using one light and what she considers to be the biggest learning curve of her career so far. 

I hope you enjoy listening to it!

 

#90: Prano Bailey-Bond, Filmmaker

#90: Prano Bailey-Bond, Filmmaker

August 17, 2021

I’m back! Not with a brand new season - just yet - but with a triple-bill of bonus episodes that I recorded a couple of months ago either for live events or to tie-in with a film release.

The first in this series is with the immensely talented, and very down-to-earth writer-director Prano Bailey-Bond.

Prano grew up in Wales on a diet of Twin Peaks before becoming an editor and then award-winning music video director. Her narrative short films have screened at festivals worldwide and earned her critical acclaim, including being named a Screen International ‘Star of Tomorrow’ in 2018. 

Her debut feature film, Censor, had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival opening the festival's Midnight section and will be released in UK cinemas this Friday. 

Censor is set in Britain in 1985 and follows a film censor called Enid, played by BAFTA-nominated actress Niamh Algar, as she discovers an eerie horror that speaks directly to her sister’s mysterious disappearance. She then resolves to unravel the puzzle behind the film and its enigmatic director – a quest that will blur the lines between fiction and reality in terrifying ways. Which sounds suitably nerve-shredding…

I actually saw the film last week and its disturbing and hallucinogenic and suitably nasty, and that’s all I’m going to say because it’s probably best you go in with minimal info. 

Prano and I discuss many things: how she discovered directing was her calling, the conditions she prefers in order to write, how she prepares for a shoot, how she communicates with and directs actors, how she established a common visual language with DP Annika Summerson and what it’s been like releasing a horror film amidst a ‘women-directing-genre-films’ boom. 

It was a really lovely conversation, I’m a big fan of Prano’s and the film’s so I highly recommend you book a ticket immediately after listening to the podcast.

#89: Mandy Chang, Head of BBC Storyville

#89: Mandy Chang, Head of BBC Storyville

June 22, 2021

So this is the final episode of Season Four - which I started back in March and honestly I have no idea where that time has gone. There will be a couple of bonus episodes coming out to coincide with some film releases, but apart from that I’ll be on hiatus for a couple of months figuring out and planning for Season Five.

But I feel like I’m going out with a bang!! This season has been a real treat - I’ve spoken to some amazing women and had some really fun but also important conversations and that trend is definitely continuing with this episode in which I spoke to Mandy Chang, who is currently the Commissioning Editor at the BBC’s feature documentary strand Storyville. 

Mandy has been on my radar for several years, I’ve seen her speak at Sheffield Doc/Fest and have watched many of the films she’s commissioned and executive produced and I was incredibly excited when she said yes to being interviewed. I knew it would be one of those interviews where an hour / hour and a half is simply not enough time to ask all the right questions and I’m sure there are plenty of other paths that we could’ve gone down but what you’re about to hear is the conversation that we did have and I found it to be as thoughtful and illuminating as I had hoped.

Mandy started out as a freelance filmmaker, producing and directing docs for TV. Her credits include The Mona Lisa Curse, an Emmy and Grierson award-winning polemic that traces the pernicious rise of the art market and The Camera That Changed The World, a portrait of the first portable cameras and the impact they had on filmmaking and filmmakers. 

Mandy was later Head of Arts at ABC TV, a broadcaster in Australia before joining Storyville in 2017. During her time there she has shepherded many incredible documentaries to our screen, among them are: UNDER THE WIRE, ONE CHILD NATION, COLD CASE HAMMARSKJÖLD, INTO THE STORM, I AM GRETA and the upcoming MISHA AND THE WOLVES. 

And she has just been announced as the new Global Head of Documentaries at Fremantle where she will spearhead the producer-distributor’s growth in high-end factual production. 

We talked about her filmmaking career and how she sustained that for two decades, as well as how those experiences have informed her approach to commissioning. We discuss how she built on Storyville’s legacy whilst also pushing it in new and bold directions, why caretaking is a central part of her commissioning philosophy and what that means and what excites her about the future of documentary.

I think Mandy was really generous with her answers and I certainly got a lot from hearing about her career journey, so I hope you do as well.

#88: T A P E collective (Angie Moneke, Isra Al Kassi & Nellie Alston)

#88: T A P E collective (Angie Moneke, Isra Al Kassi & Nellie Alston)

June 15, 2021

This week I’ve got a very exciting line-up of guests. Yes you heard that plural correctly, I spoke to not one, not two, but three brilliant women working in the film industry and the reason for that is they formed the T A P E collective together.

My guests are Angie Moneke, Isra Al Kassi and Nellie Alston, who founded T A P E in 2015 as a response to the lack of representation both on screen. 

Their mission is to bring exciting screenings to new audiences, championing the forgotten could-be cult films of the festival circuit and programmes of women of colour both behind and in front of the camera. Over the years T A P E have curated a number of well-rounded screenings bringing together film, art, music, talks and more into one space and events with a focus on representation, identity and heritage. T A P E has also produced two zine issues: the first one called They Thought We Were Token, and the second issue, Moon Sisters, released six months later. Since launching in a community café nearly five years ago, T A P E has expanded to include content writing, talks, consultation, curation, cross-arts events and an online streaming platform called Good Wickedry. 

We spoke about how they became interested in programming as individuals and where the idea for the collective came from and how they’ve retained the identity of the collective, as well as the passion for doing it, as it’s expanded.  

We also spend some time talking about their month-long season coming up at the BFI Southbank in July called But Where Are You Really From, which explores the nuances of being mixed heritage and will centre around three themes: mother tongue, the significance of names, and the ‘good immigrant’ trope.

Special guests confirmed to take part in the season and the week-long online takeover include director Ngozi Onwurah, whose film WELCOME II THE TERRORDOME (1995) was the first feature directed by a Black British woman to receive a UK theatrical release and Nikesh Shukla, who co-wrote the short film TWO DOSAS (Sarmad Masud, 2014) and edited the essay anthology The Good Immigrant. The season will culminate on 30 July with the short film programme CULTURE SHOCK, which were selected from submissions responding to the theme of ‘But Where Are You Really From?’ presented by T A P E and UNDR LNDN.

#87: Lisa Scoppa, Set Decorator

#87: Lisa Scoppa, Set Decorator

June 8, 2021

This week I am delighted to welcome set decorator Lisa Scoppa to the podcast. I came across her name and work after watching Barry Jenkins’ THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD, and a) just wanting to know who worked on that series because it is phenomenal and b) I thought the production design and the sets were just incredibly evocative - at times harrowing, at times transcendent and that is how I found Lisa’s name. And then I was overjoyed to discover she’s also worked on shows like THE DEUCE and ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, as well assisting on films like THE IRISHMAN and THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

She’s also worked on two of my favourite American indie films which are SHERRYBABY starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and DOWN TO THE BONE starring Vera Farmiga.

We talk about her path into set decoration, why she actually doesn’t love being on set, how she goes about sourcing ‘the stuff’ and what her experiences were like on some of the aforementioned shows.

If you’ve always been keen to know why a particular chair has been selected, or what happens to all of the furniture afterwards, or how they created 1970s Times Square in The Deuce, this conversation is for you.

There are some occasional background noises such as a dog barking and as ever these are recorded on zoom. 

This is episode 87 of Best Girl Grip. 

#86: Rachael Tate, Dialogue & ADR Editor

#86: Rachael Tate, Dialogue & ADR Editor

June 1, 2021

This week my guest is Rachael Tate, a BAFTA award-winning Dialogue & ADR supervisor slash editor whose credits include 1917 (for which she won the BAFTA), upcoming Bond film No Time to Die, The Rhythm Section, All the Money in the World and The Martian

We talk about how Rachael got into this line of work, what exactly ADR is and how she works with actors to try and recreate their performance in the studio, why she perceives her job to be more of a craft than a technical role and how she achieves authenticity so that every word or breath you hear in a film, feels like it belongs.

 

#85: Kat Buckle, Talent Agent

#85: Kat Buckle, Talent Agent

May 25, 2021

This week my guest is Kat Buckle, an agent at Curtis Brown in their Film & TV department where she represents a range of talent such as director Stella Corradi, writer and actor Emma Sidi, presenter, podcast & writer Tolani Shoneye, comedian & writer Jack Rooke and many, many more.

We talk about her route into the world of talent agenting, how she built her own roster and what she looks for in potential clients, how she manages client expectations and sets boundaries, how she deals with both the competitive nature of the business as well as when clients might want to move on and her proudest moments as an agent. 

It was a real treat to chat with Kat, she was really open and generous and I think gave lots of valuable insights into what it means to be an agent, as well as perhaps what to expect if and when you are looking for representation, so I’m very grateful for her time. 

#84: Tara Judah, Critic & curator

#84: Tara Judah, Critic & curator

May 18, 2021

So cinemas are open which is hugely exciting! What are people going to see? And where? Lots of things that have had releases are back on big screens like Nomadland and Sound of Metal and Ammonite, which is cool because I think they’re all films that will benefit from that sense of surroundedness that you can only get from the cinema. 

And so it feels fitting that my guest this week has worked in cinemas and is an advocate for the kind of tangible film-going experience and that person is Tara Judah.

Tara is a cultural critic, film programmer and curator and occasional video essayist. She was Watershed's Cinema Producer for two years, having freelanced in programming and editorial for the Watershed's archive, classic and repertory film festival, Cinema Rediscovered, which launched in 2016.

Tara was also Co-Director at 20th Century Flicks video shop and programmed films for Australia's iconic single screen repertory theatre, The Astor, and for Melbourne's annual feminist film event, Girls on Film Festival. 

And she is currently Editor of Critics Reviews at MUBI and writes a bi-weekly column for an online journal called Ubiquarian that focuses on experimental cinema alongside documentaries and shorts and champions the forms or mediums that surprise us.

We talk about being a mature student, redefining experimental cinema, criticism and film-festival going in the time of a pandemic, increasing transparency around freelance rates and fees and producing work that is unique to you.

I’m not going to lie, I had high expectations for this chat, because Tara is such a thoughtful and critical thinker and writer, and it did not disappoint, Tara contends with lots of thorny and important issues in the industry and raises lots of salient points, so I do hope you enjoy listening.

 

Show notes:

 

 

 

#83: Mariayah Kaderbhai, Head of Programmes at BAFTA

#83: Mariayah Kaderbhai, Head of Programmes at BAFTA

May 11, 2021

This week my guest is Mariayah Kaderbhai who is Head of Programmes at BAFTA, where she represents them as the lead film industry voice and moderates most of their panels and Q&As. She’s interviewed filmmaking talent such as Spike Lee, Jacques Audiard and Stephen Frears, as well as this year’s Best Director winner Chloé Zhao. 

We talk about how Mariayah took a roundabout way to studying cinema at university before getting an internship at the BFI, working at Al Jazeera as a journalist and then developing the membership and events programme at BAFTA. As well as how she prepares for Q&As and how she has adapted to interviewing talent through the medium of Zoom.

Speaking of which, all these podcast interviews are recorded on Zoom meaning the audio quality can vary and this is one of the times where I hope you’ll bear with…

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App