Best Girl Grip
Episode 65: Sophie O’Neill, Costume Designer

Episode 65: Sophie O’Neill, Costume Designer

October 6, 2020

This week my guest is Sophie O’Neill, a costume designer whose credits include Clio Barnard’s upcoming film Ali & Ava, costume supervising on British indie films like Jawbone, Iona and The Selfish Giant and costume buying for the likes of Everest and the TV series The Last Panthers. Don’t worry, if you’re wondering what all those different roles mean, we break it down.

We also talk about how she finds inspiration, where she looks for costumes and what happens to them after a production wraps, how getting an agent has changed her career and what her favourite part of the job is. 

This episode was recorded pre-lockown, if you’re wondering why we sound particularly cheery and there’s no mention of the Rona. 

Episode 64: Anu Henriques, Associate Director of Rocks and Founder of Skin Deep

Episode 64: Anu Henriques, Associate Director of Rocks and Founder of Skin Deep

September 29, 2020

Hello podpals and welcome to Season 3 of Best Girl Grip, I’m very excited to be back with another round of guests who will help guide us through the many different roles in the film industry.

It feels very special to be launching a new series with this week’s guest, because it has been a long-time coming and it was an interview that was delayed due to Covid, and that guest is Anu Henriques.

Anu is a development and production assistant at Fable Pictures, whose films include Stan & Ollie and Wild Rose. Their latest production is Rocks, a vibrant and vital film about a teenage girl living in London who is trying to protect her younger brother from the authorities after her Mum disappears. Anu has a credit as an Associate Director on that film, having worked closely with director Sarah Gavron through development, production and post production. 

Alongside her work at Fable, she is also the founder and co-editor-in-chief of Skin Deep, a creative platform that is redefining culture and amplifying voices of colour through discussions of race, politics and activism through print, film and live events.

Anu and I talk who gets to be storytellers, how she formed Skin Deep to probe that question, the organic and collaborative process out of which Rocks was born and the tools she’ll be taking to all her projects having had that experience.

It was a joyous chat, and having seen Rocks and also having followed the press campaign for it quite closely, everyone involved just radiates such pride and enthusiasm for that film. It’s really infectious and the same can be said of the film itself. I would urge you to get out to a cinema and see it while you can.

In the meantime, here’s episode 64 of Best Girl Grip. 

Episode 063: Brett Story, Non-Fiction Filmmaker

Episode 063: Brett Story, Non-Fiction Filmmaker

August 21, 2020

I’ve interrupted my own break to deliver a bonus episode of sorts. It was recorded last week, and I didn’t want to hold onto it for a new season, it was a really mind-expanding conversation if that’s not too self-important to say and I wanted to share it ASAP. 

It’s with award-winning non-fiction filmmaker and geographer Brett Story whose is based in Toronto. I became aware of work maybe last year when I saw The Hottest August at CPH:DOX, a documentary festival in Copenhagen and I was really wowed by it and then I saw Brett speak at Sheffield Doc/Fest and again found her to be a very interesting and illuminating figure in the non fiction scene. And yeah with zoom and these lockdown podcasts, I figured why not reach out and see if she would talk to me about her career. 

Her 2016 feature documentary, The Prison in Twelve Landscapeswas awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. Her follow-up film The Hottest August was released in 2019 and has screened world-wide and considered to be one of the best films of the year, according to places like Variety, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Sight & Sound and IndieWire. 

Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor in the School of Image Arts at Ryerson University. She is the author of the book, Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America, and co-editor of the forthcoming volume, Infrastructures of Citizenship. Brett was a 2016 Sundance Institute Art of Nonfiction Fellow and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow in film and video.

Her interests across the fields of documentary and critical theory are expansive, and include experimental cinema and essay films, politics and aesthetics, racial capitalism and Marxist political economy, and visual geography. We touch on some if not all of those ideas. 

We talk about how academia facilitated her filmmaking interests, how she formulates ideas and then tethers that to form, what production looks like and how she funds her films. It’s a far-reaching and provoking conversation, which is exactly what Brett’s films feel like to me, so it was a joy to connect the dots in that sense and I hope you get something out of it too!

I’ll be back later in the year with Season 3. For now this is episode 63 of the Best Girl Grip podcast. 

Episode 062: Georgia Oakley, Filmmaker (Live at Watersprite Film Festival)

Episode 062: Georgia Oakley, Filmmaker (Live at Watersprite Film Festival)

August 7, 2020

I’m rather excited and a little bit trepidatious to release this episode because it was recorded live at the Watersprite Film Festival in Cambridge back in March and so it feels rather antiquated. There were people there! Georgia and I sat face to face! We mention SXSW being cancelled which Georgia was due to attend with a pilot she directed called Bored. So listening back to this was odd, it felt a bit like a time capsule. But the conversation is still great and Georgia is wonderful, so I am of course very happy to have spoken with her and to do so for Watersprite.

Georgia is a writer and director with a raft of award-winning short films under her belt, including Little Bird which is being adapted into an 8-part drama with Riverstone Pictures. Her first feature 'Blue Jean', was developed through the iFeatures, I think in 2018 and is now backed by BBC Films.

Other upcoming projects include ‘The Isles’, a feature film in development with Creative Scotland and ‘The State of Us’, a six part series in development with Origin Pictures.

I particularly loved this conversation because it feels rare to me that you hear a director speak prior to their first feature being made or released, obviously all the PR is done after the fact, and so it felt special to me to get a bit more of an insight into what that interim bit entails. And truth be told it’s not really an interim, it’s Georgia’s career and one of the things she happens to be working on next is a feature film. And Georgia mentions this later one, about not ever getting complacent or thinking that one film is going to elevate you to permanence in the film industry, it’s all about persistence, so I guess my point is that I liked the idea of divorcing that first feature from the sense of having made it. 

We also chat about staying motivated during development, balancing lots of different ideas, how she stays creatively energised, being mentored by Desiree Akhavan and the invaluable advice she gave and the collective she’s part of called Cinesisters.

Episode 061: Louise Ford, Editor

Episode 061: Louise Ford, Editor

July 31, 2020

My guest this week is Louise Ford, a film editor who has worked on some of the most original and startling and accomplished features of recent times. I don’t think that’s overstating it. They include Robert Eggers’ The Witch and The Lighthouse, Cory Finley’s Thoroughbreds and his recent release starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney Bad Education, as well as Paul Dano’s directorial debut Wildlife starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal. 

We talk about a myriad of topics, from Louise’s pivot from journalism to film editing, how in a roundabout she was inspired by 70s Hollywood editor Dede Allen, her approach to editing and what that process actually looks like. We go deep into The Lighthouse talking about performance, and the layering of sounds to achieve such a deeply unsettling finale. What else? Mentorship, confidence, instinct, films... 

I really adored this conversation. I sort of had some knowledge about what editors are responsible for and capable of, but talking with Louise tipped me off just how important an editor is and I just came away with a much better sense of how they do the brilliant and often magical work that they do.

Episode 060: Grace Snell, Costume Designer

Episode 060: Grace Snell, Costume Designer

July 24, 2020
My guest this week is Grace Snell, a BIFA-nominated costume designer, whose glorious work you'll have no doubt seen in Joanna Hogg's The Souvenir, as well as Billie Piper's directorial debut Rare Beasts, and an upcoming film starring Riz Ahmed called Mogul Mowgli.
We talk about her path into costume design, mentorship, mental health, getting an agent and the story behind that sumptuous gown that Honor Swinton Byrne wears to the opera in The Souvenir. I had a wonderful time talking to Grace, about the specificities and responsibilities of the role and definitely got a new appreciation for not just the costumes that you see on-screen but the role that costumes play in an actor's ability to perform a role and just situating you in the world of the film.
Episode 059: Mahalia John, Central / Clapper Loader

Episode 059: Mahalia John, Central / Clapper Loader

July 16, 2020

I’ve got what I consider to be a really exciting episode this week and it’s with Mahalia John, who is a central and clapper loader. If you have no idea what that is don’t worry, we get into it. I was somewhat clueless going into this and really appreciate Mahalia’s time in breaking it down for me. 

Straight off the bat I’ll say this is one of my favourite conversations I’ve had for the podcast, it’s very giggly and Mahalia’s just a very open and lovely and funny person to talk to, so in that regard it was very easy. But also besides interrogating how Mahalia worked her way into the camera department and what that experience has been like and what it’s taught her, we also talk about some thorny and topical issues around Black Lives Matter. 

I came across Mahalia on Instagram after she published a post entitled To My White Friends in the UK Film Industry - I have hyperlinked to that post - and I impel you to read it and then take up Mahalia’s advice and do some more reading and learning beyond that. It was apparent that Mahalia’s perspective would be unique and I was hoping that maybe she could expand on some of the points she made in that post, but also just use this platform however small it is, to talk about how she got into the film industry because that is one of the salient statements that she makes. This is a nepotistic industry and people of colour aren’t always taught about the job roles that exist or granted access to them and Mahalia sets a great example I think, in both existing and excelling in the film industry and I am very grateful that she wanted to talk to me about her career thus far. 


Show notes:


Episode 058: Rebecca Horsburgh, Grip (Key Grip & Best Boy Grip)

Episode 058: Rebecca Horsburgh, Grip (Key Grip & Best Boy Grip)

July 10, 2020

This week's episode is pretty exciting because as you know this podcast is called Best Girl Grip which is play on words for the role on a film set called Best Boy Grip, meant to highlight the historical and in fact present tense lack of women within the film industry. And this week I am actually speaking to a grip, to hear about that role and what it is. So I’m hoping that 58 episodes into the life of this podcast, it will all finally make sense.

The grip in question is the delightful Rebecca Horsburgh, who has worked on lots of brilliant British films including Free Fire, Films Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Journeyman, Stan & Ollie, Rocks and also has credit on Chloe Zhao’s upcoming Marvel film The Eternals.

We chat about how she learnt about this rather lesser known role in the camera department, what it is she’s responsible for, how she built her confidence in the role and what’s it like being one of very few women in the profession.

I’m so grateful that Rebecca spared the time in lockdown to talk to me, because even though the podcast bears the name grip, it’s something I don’t have a lot of knowledge about, so I was just excited to learn from her and I hope you do as well.

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

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