Episode 010: Loran Dunn

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The podcast is officially in its double digits, which is mad but exciting. They grow up so fast don’t they?

And for this episode, I’ve got a wonderful guest in the form of Loran Dunn. Loran is a BFI Vision Award winning producer with a background in production on BBC Dramas, independent features and major music promos and is also an Associate Lecturer in Filmmaking at Manchester Metropolitan University, a Development Mentor at Channel 4’s Random Acts North, and a Producer for Shortflix – which we come to discuss.

Loran’s first feature film as a producer was A Deal With the Universe, an autobiographical documentary from transgender filmmaker Jason Barker telling the story of a very different kind of pregnancy, through the lens of personal archives and home video diaries. The film had its world premiere on March 26 at the 2018 BFI Flare Festival. 

I really loved our conversation because we got into the nitty gritty of producing, like how you create a budget, what pitching your project is like, the public funding landscape and how Loran actually makes a living. We also talked about grander concepts like revolutionising and diversifying the industry, as well as empowering young people to make their own work and being yourself.

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Episode 009: Jordan McGarry

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So for this week’s episode, I did my first out of office recording and went to the lovely Film London offices in Finsbury Park for a causerie with Jordan McGarry. I have to say all my guests so far have been big wins for me, and Jordan continues that trend. I think she’s a force in the industry and to have lured her away from a very important job for an hour to talk about mentors, music videos and making short films was sheer heaven.

Jordan is responsible for Film London’s production and talent development strategy, as well its range of training initiatives.Before Film London, she spent five years as Director of Curation at Vimeo, leading the team that programmed the site’s illustrious Staff Picks channel for a monthly audience of 200m visitors. Jordan had also paid her dues as a journalist, in festival programming, video commissioning and as an executive producer at Partizan London.

Spoiler alert my favourite part of the chat is when we talk about cultivating relationships as the key to achieving a fulfilling career and just getting out in the world and being interested.

This was a supremely brilliant chat. Do forgive the occasional kitchen sink clinking and background chatter. Frankly I included it on purpose to convey the vibrant ambience of Film London’s office.

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Episode 008: Beccy Ashdown

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This week, I’ve got another glorious guest in the form of Beccy Ashdown. I first came across Beccy and the work that she does at Together Films at the Open City Documentary Festival in 2017, where Beccy spoke about social change and the role or responsibility of documentary filmmakers within that. I knew then that she occupied a very unique position in the industry, as someone that straddles the world of film but also politics and non for profits and as someone that can speak to changing models or approaches to distribution.

Beccy is Campaign Director at Together Films, a marketing and distribution agency that offer bespoke solutions and strategies for films looking to reach a particular audience, particularly in the realm of issues or topics that have the ability to spark conversation and positive change.

So I was absolutely thrilled when Beccy agreed to come on the pod and it came as no surprise that there was lots to talk about. Beccy has had an incredible and varied career, working for the likes of BBC, Amnesty,  BFI and TIFF and I think she’s testament to the idea that just because you don’t start out in the field you have an interest in, or can even identify that field doesn’t mean you can’t navigate and learn your way into a fulfilling career.

Frankly I felt very fulfilled and seen by this chat. We spoke about working freelance, but not putting the free into freelance, approaching people you admire (including that time Beccy wrote to Louis Theroux) and having a network of friends that can champion you to you.

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Episode 007: Emma Duffy

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Starting her career assisting directors and producing shorts in Australia, Emma returned to London where she worked for the BFI and Film London, as well as producing commercials, music videos and shorts, including Oysters which was commissioned as part of London Calling Plus in 2016.

Emma has previously taken part in the Edinburgh International Film Festival Talent Lab and the Mini Meet Market at DocFest, and was selected for this year’s Birds Eye View Filmonomics scheme. As well as producing her own projects she also works on film and drama projects for the Wellcome Trust, bringing writers, researchers and ideas together.

In this episode, we talk about producing her first feature, Mari, which premiered at the 2018 London Film Festival, the mantra she uses to keep things in perspective, how she overcame on-set obstacles, the differences between a producer and an exec producer credit and why you should send difficult emails before lunch!

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Episode 006: Caragh Davison

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This week I also spoke to BFI NETWORK co-ordinator, Forever Young Film Club programmer and all-round brilliant person Caragh Davison.

Caragh works across all of BFI NETWORK’s new talent film funding and professional development activity across the UK. She first joined the Film Fund in March 2017 as Executive Assistant to Ben Roberts and the Senior Production & Development Execs. Previously, she was working as an assistant at Creative England and before that spent two years as a Content Producer at a production company, working across short film and web content.

This was a joyous chat about soaking up knowledge at every opportunity, starting out in the industry when you don’t know anyone in it, the value of teen cinema and why there’s no shame in watching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before more than three time.

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Episode 005: Delphine Lievens

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This week I spoke to Delphine Lievens, who I was introduced to via Grace Barber-Plentie, of episode two fame.  Both Delphine and Grace worked at Altitude Film Distribution and now Delphine works in box office analytics.

We had a really lovely chat about a whole side of film I haven’t really touched on in the pod before, from data and how that can inform when a film is released, to trends in cinema and why a film might under-perform at the box office. Delphine speaks really eloquently and knowledgeably about the theatrical release landscape and it was a real insight and joy to sit down with her.  

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Episode 004: Maya Maffioli

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This week I spoke to film editor Maya Maffioli. Maya grew up in Italy, and upon moving to London worked as a runner and edit assistant in a post-production facility in Soho. She’s also has an MA in editing from the National Film and Television School. It was there she met Michael Pearce and went on to edit his BAFTA-nominated short films Rite and Keeping Up With the Joneses, as well as his BAFTA-winning debut feature film Beast.  

Maya is currently working on Sarah Gavron’s latest film, and also edited Annabel Jankels’ film Tell It To The Bees starring Anna Paquin and Holliday Grainger, which recently sold to Vertigo Releasing at this year’s EFM. As well as the controversial Russian art project Dau, in which 400 people lived as Soviet citizens in a meticulously reconstructed research facility, causing Screen International to label it “one of the strangest endeavours in European film history”.

We discussed how Maya even knew that editing was a career path, why there are still so few female editors, how she got an agent and who she counts as editorial influences. 

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