Best Girl Grip
Episode 75: Emily Morgan, Producer

Episode 75: Emily Morgan, Producer

December 22, 2020

My guest this week is none other than Emily Morgan, a BAFTA-winning film producer whom I admire greatly. 

Emily started out in distribution and as a production freelancer for various companies before setting up her own production outfit Quiddity Films which is supported by a BFI Vision Award. In 2018, she won the aforementioned BAFTA for Outstanding Debut Producer for Rungano Nyoni's I Am Not A Witch, which premiered at Cannes, screened at the Toronto Film Festival and Sundance, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and won three BIFAs. 

Emily has since produced Claire Oakley's feature debut Make Up which is currently available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

She also produced Harry Macqueen’s second feature Supernova, which premiered at LFF in October and is due for release on the 5 March next year, as it currently stands. The film stars Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth as long-term partners grappling with a diagnosis of early on-set dementia. 

Emily is a graduate of the NFTS, a member of ACE Producers. She was featured as a Screen Star of Tomorrow in 2015 and most recently, Quiddity Films was selected as one of the UK’s top emerging production companies in Screen Daily’s Brit 50 list.

So I hope that provides some context as to why I was so thrilled to speak with Emily. We spoke about her experiences at NFTS, how she worked her way towards producing features, how the BFI Vision award impacted her company and its future, what she looks for in collaborators and material and what’s she learnt about producing in her prestigious career thus far.

As always I hope you find it useful and insightful. 

Episode 74: Louisa Maycock, Founder & CEO of Girls on Tops

Episode 74: Louisa Maycock, Founder & CEO of Girls on Tops

December 18, 2020

My guest this week is Louisa Maycock - the creator, owner and mastermind of the hugely brilliant brand Girls on Tops.

If you don’t know them, I’m sure you’ll have seen one of their t-shirts out and about, particularly if you used to frequent film festivals. Louisa prints and sells white t-shirts that feature the names of celebrated and trailblazing women in the film industry including Tilda Swinton, Claire Denis, Lulu Wang, Greta Gerwig and Ava DuVernay. This year they released editions with Miranda July and Sofia Coppola and I myself own t-shirts emblazoned with Agnes Varda and Celine Sciamma. And I feel très chic when I wear them.

And not content to make us all just look very cool, Louisa has also set up an editorial platform called READ ME, which commissions female-led writing and along with Ella Kemp she edits and features really thoughtful and interrogative pieces on both contemporary and historical cinematic culture through an intersectionally feminist lens, and I think it’s very much unlike the kinds of the things you’ll read elsewhere. And I consider myself very lucky to have been published by them a few times. 

Louisa and I talk about the origin story for Girls on Tops, how the brand has grown over the past couple of years and how Louisa stays on top of it all - as a one-woman CEO and t-shirt folding machine. I’m so thrilled that we got this time to chat and I really was coming at it from the perspective of a fan, because I think it’s just immensely impressive that in the space of a few years Louisa has created something that - certainly in film-going circles - feels incredibly pervasive. I can’t imagine a time when they didn’t exist.

Episode 73: Anna Bogutskaya, Programmer, Broadcaster, Writer & Creative Producer

Episode 73: Anna Bogutskaya, Programmer, Broadcaster, Writer & Creative Producer

December 11, 2020

My guest this week is Anna Bogutskaya. Anna used to work at the BFI around the same time I was there and I believe I’m right in thinking she was the youngest programmer at the BFI Southbank - at the time, not of all time - although that might also be true. Anyway all this to say I always admired Anna from afar, she seemed incredibly ambitious and accomplished and I thought what she was doing both within the BFI - and outside of it - was refreshing and almost revolutionary in that she was often putting woman-directed cinema and indie filmmaking front and centre. 

Anna is currently a freelance film programmer, broadcaster, writer and creative producer. She is also the co-founder of the horror film collective The Final Girls and Festival Director of Underwire Festival where Best Girl Grip had it’s first live outing.

As mentioned she was previously the Film and Events Programmer at the British Film Institute, where she curated many seasons and also created the Woman With A Movie Camera Summit which we talk about in-depth.

We also go deep into the principles and considerations that uphold Anna’s programming ethos and all the aspects that go into designing a film season. We talk about her decision to go freelance, the other avenues its allowed her to pursue and how she manages her schedule. And fittingly we also wax lyrical about podcasts.

I’m hugely grateful to Anna for coming on the podcast and sharing her wisdom - of which there is a lot - so do tuck in.

Episode 72: Gemma Cole, Agency Director & Artist

Episode 72: Gemma Cole, Agency Director & Artist

December 4, 2020

This week I spoke to the lovely Gemma Cole, an agency director who comes from a background in film marketing. She’s worked for Ritzy Picturehouse, Picturehouse Entertainment and until quite recently elevenfiftyfive, a company whose mission is to support the film community by connecting brands with films through consultancy, partnerships and experience-building.

Gemma has recently ventured out to co-create her own agency called Dive, we talk about that process and the motivation behind it. We also chat about a whole host of other things, I think I mention at one point it felt a bit like creative therapy because we talked about valuing yourself and your work, learning curves, perfectionism and monetising creativity. 

I had a really great time speaking to Gemma. She’s based out in Margate which I am quite jealous of, I’m definitely lusting after some fresh sea air as I am sat in my bedroom recording this intro. But for now hopeful this conversation is all the invigoration you need.

Episode 71: Georgina Higgins, Script Supervisor

Episode 71: Georgina Higgins, Script Supervisor

November 27, 2020

My guest this week is Georgina Higgins, a Script Supervisor, whose recent credits include the Film4 and BFI-backed production Limbo from director Ben Sharrock, which was selected for Cannes this year and very well reviewed at the London Film Festival; a moving drama called Monsoon starring Henry Golding which is on BBC Two tomorrow night and will then be on BBC iPlayer. She also worked on Michaela Coel’s astonishing TV series I May Destroy You, Sky Atlantic & Showtime’s Patrick Melrose and the BAFTA-nominated film Stan & Ollie.

We unpack what it means to be a script supervisor, what the hardest part of the job is, how Georgina prepares and whether she can bear to watch what she works on considering its a job all about continuity and perfection.

Episode 70: Joanne Michael, Director of Marketing at Cornerstone

Episode 70: Joanne Michael, Director of Marketing at Cornerstone

November 24, 2020

This week my guest is Joanne Michael, the Director of Marketing and Distribution at Cornerstone, an international sales and financing company that launched in 2015. 

Some of their recent titles include Herself directed Phyllida Lloyd and produced by Element Pictures, Josephine Decker’s enthralling psycho-drama Shirley starring Elisabeth Moss and Michael Stuhlbarg, the screen adaptation of Emma Jane Unsworth’s Animals as well as an upcoming project called The Fantastic Flitcrofts starring Mark Rylance and directed by Craig Roberts.

Jo came to Cornerstone having spent five years at HanWay Films where she managed the international launches and releases of award-winning films including Todd Haynes’ Carol and John Crowley’s Brooklyn

We talk about the intricacies of marketing for a sales company as opposed to a distributor, the creative point of view it requires, what happens when a film goes to a market and the best piece of advice that Jo has ever received.

As someone who had a brief stint working in sales it was a joy to revisit that element of the film industry and also during a year where things have felt decidedly quieter on the cinematic front, to be reminded of the madness and magic of a market. So I’m very grateful to Jo for joining me.

Episode 69: Jayisha Patel, VR Filmmaker

Episode 69: Jayisha Patel, VR Filmmaker

November 10, 2020

This week my guest is Jayisha Patel, an award-winning British filmmaker who works at the intersection of cinematic film and VR. 

Her short film, A Paradise, premiered at the Berlinale in 2014 and was nominated for over 37 international awards. 

In 2017 she directed Notes to My Father, an award winning VR experience commissioned by Oculus. The film launched at Oculus House during the Sundance Film Festival, before premiering at SXSW and Locarno. It won the UN Women’s Global Voices award for best 360/VR film and it was shown to policy advisers fighting gender violence at the World Economic Forum’s India Summit.

In May Jayisha finished a three-year spell as an artist in residence at London’s Somerset House, where she started to develop her next VR project After The Fire and in September she was named a ScreenDaily Star of Tomorrow.

I was thrilled to welcome Jayisha to the podcast, not least because VR is completely unchartered territory for Best Girl Grip. We talk about her incredibly fascinating journey into the film industry, how she utilises VR to tell personal, poignant and painful stories, how she stays creatively centred and what her experience has been like operating within both the tech and film industries. 

In other news I feel like we breathed a collective sigh of relief at the weekend with the eventual update that Joe Biden has been elected as the next President of the United States. For some context this interview was recorded just before that on Friday and I felt quite tense and tired and then I had this wonderful experience of talking with Jayisha. And even before the news broke, it made me hopeful and curious and connected. So thank you to Jayisha for her time and wisdom. I hope as ever you get as much from it as I do.

Episode 68: Gabrielle Stewart, Managing Director of HanWay Films

Episode 68: Gabrielle Stewart, Managing Director of HanWay Films

November 3, 2020

I’m excited for this episode because international sales isn’t a realm of the industry we’ve covered massively on the podcast and to my mind it’s obviously a hugely important chunk of the film’s journey, but one that sort of gets maybe less attention, particularly once a film is out in cinemas, we more often than note associate the film with its distributor or producer but sales agents are the bridge between those two entities and who better to give us insight into that world than Gabrielle Stewart whose is Managing Director at London-based sales agent HanWay films.

HanWay are an incredibly prestigious who have sold some astounding films in the past decade, some of my personal favourites include Brooklyn, Carol, High-Rise, Tale of Tales, 20,000 Days on Earth, The Guest, Tracks, Only Lovers Left Alive and Colette

Gabrielle joined HanWay Films in 2016 and their current slate includes Matteo Garrone’s Pinocchio, Viggo Mortensen’s debut Falling, Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter, and Made in Italy starring Liam Neeson.

Gabrielle came from serving as SVP of International Sales and Distribution in Los Angeles for Bloom Media since its 2013 inception and they sold films such as The Nice Guys and Suburbicon. The company has since been acquired by Endeavor Content. She joined Bloom from Exclusive Media where she worked on films such as Rush and Jane Got a Gun. Prior to Exclusive Media, she spent eight years in London at Focus Features International where she served as Vice President of International Sales, selling films by international directors including Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar, the Wachowskis, Fernando Meirelles, Gus Van Sant, Alejandro Iñárritu, the Coen Brothers and Joe Wright.

So suffice to say, Gabrielle has a wealth of experience and insight and I feel very privileged to have gotten to talk to her for the podcast. We cover how the landscape of international sales has changed during Covid, the difference working in LA and working in London, how Gabrielle has learnt to manage a team and what it was like being the first ever woman that served as MD at HanWay. There are lots of good nuggets of advice within, so thank you to Gabrielle for sharing them and I hope you enjoy listening.

Episode 67: Malinda Kaur, 2nd Assistant Director

Episode 67: Malinda Kaur, 2nd Assistant Director

October 20, 2020

This week’s guest is Malinda Kaur, a second assistant director whose recent credits include Clio Barnard’s upcoming film Ali & Ava, HBO & Sky Atlantic’s TV series The Third Day, British independent dramas Rocks and Monsoon and a little show calling Killing Eve

Malinda started out as a floor runner working on Andrea Arnold’s Wuthering Heights, before becoming a third assistant director. We discuss in-depth that particular hierarchy and how her responsibilities change depending on both the role, and the project. 

Malinda is also a writer-director in her own right, having made two short films, Amishi in 2016, which was shot by Robbie Ryan and Blind in 2019 which was shot by former podcast guest Rachel Clark. Malinda was selected as a mentee on the 2019 Women in Film & TV mentoring programme for writing & directing and she is currently preparing to shoot her third short. 

It was really heartening to hear how Malinda has balanced her creative ambitions with the need to get full-time work, and how the practical elements of her roles on set have gone on to inform her own filmmaking process.

Episode 66: Dionne Farrell, Development Executive

Episode 66: Dionne Farrell, Development Executive

October 13, 2020

I am very thrilled to be able to introduce Dionne Farrell as this week’s podcast guest. 

Dionne is a Development Executive at BBC Films where she has worked across several of their releases, including Rapman’s Blue Story and Francis Lee’s Ammonite which is closing this year’s London Film Festival. Dionne began her career as an office runner for Raw before moving into script development as the BFI’s Script Editor Trainee. We talk about those experiences, as well as gaining confidence, learning when to speak up but also finding value in silence, slowness and the idea of not feeling guilty when we’re not being maximally productive, how she assesses projects and trusting her gut instinct when it comes to championing them. 

I’m really grateful to Dionne for her openness and I hope as ever you enjoy the insight into this part of the film industry.

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