Best Girl Grip
Episode 057: Lara Manwaring, Casting Director

Episode 057: Lara Manwaring, Casting Director

July 2, 2020

This week I spoke to the casting director Lara Manwaring who has been in the industry for the past decade, predominately working at Des Hamilton casting - they’ve done films like Four Lions, Tyrannosaur, This Is England, Wuthering Heights and Adult Life Skills. Lots of of really incredible British cinema. Lara now has her own company, through which she has cast projects such as Mandy starring Nicolas Cage and Andrea Riseborough, Aneil Karia’s Surge starring Ben Whishaw and a film called Lynn + Lucy, directed by Fyzal Boulifa which is released today! It was called a fiercely impressive feature debut by The Guardian and is now available to watch on digital platforms including BFI Player. 

Lara and I talk about making that leap from working for a company to being her own boss, what she looks for in auditions, why the recognition toward casting directors has come at a glacial pace and the responsibility feels towards ensuring greater representations for people of colour on our screens.

It’s a great chat, I always find casting so fascinating to consider and I hope you get something from it also. This is episode 57 of Best Girl Grip.

Episode 056: Rina Yang, Cinematographer

Episode 056: Rina Yang, Cinematographer

June 26, 2020

This week I spoke to director of photography Rina Yang and she’s someone I’ve wanted on the podcast for a while, but she’s incredibly prolific and hard-working and was always off doing shoots so lockdown was sort of the perfect opportunity to get to speak to her.

Rina is based in London but grew up in Japan, and some of her recent credits include shooting 3 episodes of Top Boy for Netflix, a fantastic feature-length TV drama about the Windrush scandal called Sitting in Limbo for BBC1, as well as working alongside director and cinematographer Nadia Hallgreen for Netflix’s Michelle Obama documentary Becoming. She’s also worked on music videos for Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, FKA Twigs, Vince Staples and Dua Lipa, 

We speak about the difference between a DoP and a cinematographer, the balance between the technical and creative aspects of the role and how she transitioned to working on short films and music videos to filming and lighting Michelle Obama, as well as what it’s like working on a Netflix project.

You can watch Sitting in Limbo on BBC iPlayer and I urge that you do. In the meantime please do enjoy this interview. This is episode 56 of Best Girl Grip

REISSUE: Episode 045: Corrina Antrobus, Founder of Bechdel Test Fest

REISSUE: Episode 045: Corrina Antrobus, Founder of Bechdel Test Fest

June 18, 2020

This week I wanted to revisit the interview I had with Corrina Antrobus, originally published in February of this year, in the context of the dialogues happening around Black Lives Matter and because today is the online launch of Hackney's Windrush Generations Festival which Corrina worked on.  

If you can please consider donating to these UK-based anti-racism and racial justice organisations...

Or buy a gal-dem membership

Here are some resources that might be useful for your own education on what anti-racism means...

 

Episode 055: Anna Bertmark, Sound Designer & Supervisor

Episode 055: Anna Bertmark, Sound Designer & Supervisor

June 17, 2020

This week, I spoke to the brilliant Anna Bertmark. Anna is a sound designer and supervisor who has worked on several acclaimed and award-winning British feature films including God’s Own Country, The Goob, Adult Life Skills, LiltingYou Were Never Really Here and more recently Blue Story, as well as episodes of Normal People as a sound effects editor.

I should also mention that Anna won the Best Sound BIFA in 2017 for her work on Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country and if you haven’t seen that film it’s a true marvel and definitely something worth seeking out. 

Originally from Sweden, Anna has worked in the UK film industry for 15 years and been Vice Chair of The Association of Motion Picture Sound (AMPS). She’s passionate about mentorship and training, so we speak her experiences of that and how she’s providing that currently to up-and-coming sound professionals. 

We also talk about her approach to designing sound, what those initial conversations with a director look like, where she gets inspiration, how software has changed over the years and what motivates her.

Personally I think it’s a great chat and my first with a sound designer so there was lots for me learn. 

If you’re a sound designer or interested in it as a career I’m going to flag a couple of things you might find valuable. One is a documentary called Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound by Midge Costin who herself has extensive experience in the sound department and its a great introduction to both the history of sound, but also how valuable it is as a storytelling apparatus.

Secondly, next week on Friday 26 June, the Sundance Institute and their Collab offshoot are hosting a webinar with Alma Har’el who directed Honey Boy and Benh Zeitlin who directed Beasts of the Southern Wild all about sound design and the role it can play and how to make the most of it even with lower budget features. I’ve been watching quite a few of their talks and they are really really good and this sounds like it’s gonna be pretty fascinating, so yeah one to bookmark. 

And finally, Anna recommended a book she was reading called 'Women in Audio' by Leslie Gaston-Bird and it features almost 100 profiles and stories of women working in various audio fields including sound for film & TV, so give that Google.

Episode 054: Cat Marshall, Production Supervisor at Warp Films & Producer

Episode 054: Cat Marshall, Production Supervisor at Warp Films & Producer

June 9, 2020

Cat Marshall is a producer based in South Yorkshire, and also Production Supervisor for the Sheffield based company Warp Films whose projects include Shane Meadows’ recently BAFTA-nominated series for Channel 4 The Virtues, This Is England ’90 (Channel 4), The Last Panthers (Sky Atlantic), and feature films such Yardie and ’71

In her role at Warp, Cat works in production across all the company’s projects from development and prep right through to post and delivery. However, since 2018 Cat has been Associate Producer on Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the feature film adaption of the hit west end musical about a teenage boy who dreams of becoming a drag queen. The film was shot in Sheffield last summer and fingers crossed will be released internationally this October. 

We talk about her experience on that shoot, as well as what provoked her desire to start producing. Cat is also currently on Women in Film and TV’s mentorship programme, so we dig into the value of that, as well as working in Sheffield, her experience of furlough and how she’s been keeping busy. 

Whether you’re out taking a stroll, soaking in the tub or scrubbing down your bathroom tiles as I did the other day whilst listening to a podcast, I hope as ever you’re using lockdown to be kind, to yourself, to others, and as Cat sagely says later on in the interview, to figure out what’s important to you. 

Episode 53: Emma Norton, Producer at Element Pictures

Episode 53: Emma Norton, Producer at Element Pictures

June 2, 2020

I had a really wonderful chat with Emma Norton, who is an In-House Producer at Ireland’s Element Pictures, she was formerly Head of Development there and she’s worked on a number of their big titles, including The Favourite, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Room, The Lobster, Frank and The Guard. She has also produced Rosie and A Date for Mad Mary and most recently she exec produced the smash hit TV series that everyone’s been devouring - Normal People.

We talk about getting fired from her first job as an agent’s assistant, freelancing, working for Film4, making the move to Ireland, building relationships with writers and directors and the different between adapting material for TV as opposed to film, as well as how lockdown has been treating her.

Speaking of treats, I think this one, and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There are lots of pearls of wisdom inside.

Episode 52: Meroë Candy, Story Research & Production Consultant

Episode 52: Meroë Candy, Story Research & Production Consultant

May 26, 2020

Meroë Candy is a story research and production consultant for film and television drama. We delve extensively into what that entails and what that research looks like. But essentially Meroë provides assistance to writers and producers in world-building, uncovering true stories, story-lining and connecting and coordinating experts from the scientific, historic and medicinal fields to the film industry.

Prior to this she worked at the Wellcome Trust, the UK's largest private foundation where she built their film and broadcast drama programme and also devised their Screenwriting Fellowship in partnership with Film4 and the BFI. During this time she commissioned and developed over 30 scripts and served as an exec producer on 5 major film productions including Craig Roberts' Eternal Beauty, Clio Barnard's Dark River, Paddy Considine's Journeyman and Rachel Tunnard's Adult Life Skills.

We talk about her transition from Wellcome to freelance work, how and where she does her research, and also what scientists and storytellers can offer each other. 

 

Episode 51: Rosie Crerar & Ciara Barry, Producers

Episode 51: Rosie Crerar & Ciara Barry, Producers

May 19, 2020

Hello podpals and welcome back to Best Girl Grip; the mini lockdown edition.

It’s been a crazy and stressful and unprecedented time, I feel like all adjectives have been exhausted and at that the same time like the language doesn’t exist to fully articulate what this is and what it feels like. I’m also really aware of pandemic saturation, it definitely feels like we’re past the point of no return when in comes to the overwhelming amount of content that is available for us to consume, with this supposed surplus of time and I’m really conscious of adding even more noise to that.

However, I have decided to put out a mini quarantine edition. Firstly for selfish purposes because the interviews have always been about connecting with women in this industry and just enjoying the simple art of conversation with them, and I’m particularly craving that at the moment. And secondly, my friend was right, this is a great time to talk to women from all over the UK that being London-based, I might not usually have the chance to. And finally, if this edition can offer people in the film industry a sense of affinity or kinship, or just the sense no-one is working to their full capacity, everyone is juggling, maybe struggling or re-evaluating, then to me it’s totally worthwhile adding just a little bit to the noise.

I’m really happy to say I’ve got my first duo on the podcast in the form of Rosie Crerar and Ciara Barry who formed their production company barry crerar in 2016 and are based in Glasgow in Scotland.

They’re a relatively young company but already they have a number of exciting titles on their slate, and rather excitingly they’re releasing a film they co-produced called Run next week, which is directed by Scott Graham, a filmmaker I really adore and who you’ll hear me enthuse about during the interview. His previous two features Shell and Iona, the latter featuring Ruth Negga are really intense and poignant set in remote landscapes, which I highly recommend you check out.

It was wonderful to talk to Rosie and Ciara about their ambitions for the company and their desire to tell contemporary and cutting edge stories that originate from Scotland, but have universal appeal. As well as the advantages of working together, how they came to set up the company and how they balance responsibilities. We do touch up on lockdown and how that’s changed their day-to-day and whether they’ve learnt anything from the experience. Not that that’s a requisite, surviving it is enough.

Run is a gutsy and gripping drama about thwarted dreams, masculinity and small-town living, and it will be available to download from Monday 25th May from all the usual platforms. 

This is episode 51 of Best Girl Grip. 

Episode 050: Lizzie Francke, Senior Production and Development Executive at the BFI’s Film Fund (Live at the Glasgow Film Festival)

Episode 050: Lizzie Francke, Senior Production and Development Executive at the BFI’s Film Fund (Live at the Glasgow Film Festival)

March 31, 2020

Lizzie is someone I’ve wanted on the podcast for a while. In fact when I first started this project whilst working at the BFI, I was always sort of biding my time slash working up the courage to ask her.

And then serendipitously I was asked to do a live show at Glasgow, where two films that Lizzie had exec’d were showing and it seemed like exactly the right moment.

She’s sort of the perfect guest for Best Girl Grip - not that perfection exists - but in terms of the expansive career she’s had from journalism to programming to being the Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Film Festival to production to execing over 50 feature films at the BFI and working with renowned filmmakers such as Joanna Hogg, Andrea Arnold, Lynne Ramsay, Andrew Haigh, Pawel Pawlikowski and Mike Leigh, I love that her career has taken many different directions and it was such a pleasure to interrogate how she chartered that path. 

Thank you so much for listening to this season, whether you joined me since October when I released the episodes recorded in Toronto, which feels like lifetime and an epoch ago, or if you jumped on the bandwagon more recently, I hope you liked what you’ve heard so far. I’ve been thrilled and awed and galvanised by the people I’ve managed to interview, and it remains my favourite part of doing this podcast. So I’m looking forward to seeing what season three bring in that respect.

Episode 049: Roxana Adle, Talent Agent at Independent Talent

Episode 049: Roxana Adle, Talent Agent at Independent Talent

March 31, 2020

This week I interviewed Roxana Adle, a talent agent at Independent Talent. Her clients include some really exciting filmmakers such as Alma Har'el, Eva Husson, Aneil Karia, Remi Weekes, Mahalia Belo and Georgia Parris, among many others. 

It was really exciting to delve into this side of the industry for the first time and ask Roxana about how she spots talent, how she supports her clients and works with them, whether its at all competitive and what her ambitions are as an agent. 

I have to give you a heads up that the sound recording quality on this one isn’t the best, and I deeply apologise for that. It’s still a learning process for me and I hope you don’t find it too painful to listen to.