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This week I spoke to Catherine Slater, an associate producer at The Imaginarium, the production outfit founded by Andy Serkis and Jonathan Cavendish, and a BAFTA-nominated producer, whose first short film Wale was shortlisted for the Oscars.
It was brilliant to hear about Catherine’s journey from assistant to associate producer, as well as how she balanced a full-time job with the full-time job of producing a short film.
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For this episode I spoke to Chloe Trayner, who was one of the first names I jotted down on my podcast guest wishlist, so it was a real treat for me for to record this interview.
Chloe is festival director at the Open City Docs, an organisation which celebrates the art of non-fiction and nurtures the next generation of filmmakers, audio producers and VR filmmakers through training programmes, an annual film festival, a feature documentary development lab, and other screening projects throughout the year.
Chloe is responsible for the direction of the festival as well as industry programming, partnerships and development and she has worked as a film & events programmer and producer with organisations such as BFI Future Film Festival, Overnight Film Festival, UnderWire Festival and Bertha DocHouse.
We talk about also these various positions she has held, as well as how she managed being freelance, the state of documentary funding in the UK and what she loves most about her job.
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Way back in February I had the pleasure of meeting Harry Wootliff, a writer and director whose debut feature film Only You premiered at the BFI London Film Festival last year was also recently shortlisted for the IWC Schaffhausen Filmmaker Bursary Award. Harry’s first short film Nits was BAFTA-nominated and premiered in official selection at Director’s Fortnight in Cannes.
We talk about self-belief when you’re first starting out as a writer, visual storytelling, coming up with ideas and directing for TV versus directing for film.
Only You will have a preview screening on the 4th May at the Barbican in London, and will include a screentalk with Harry, so I definitely recommend getting tickets for that and the film will be released later this year by Curzon.
- The book Harry bought when she first started directing
- Jerwood Arts Prize
- The Bureau – the film company that helped develop, finance and produce Only You, there other credits include Lean on Pete, Daphne and 45 Years
- Last year Harry was on the shortlist for the IWC Schaffhausen bursary, the biggest funding grant of its kind in the UK
- Deep Water, the six-part ITV drama starring Anna Friel will be Harry’s next directorial venture
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So for this week, I spoke to Síle Culley who is a Theatrical Sales Executive at Altitude Films and former colleague Episode Five guest Delphine Lievens. She is mind bogglingly knowledgable about the part of the industry in which she works and has lots of insightful nuggets for you to snack on. And stats, expects some stats.
Síle joined Altitude in 2017, after having working in production management and event cinema, and talks about her path into the industry from hometown in Dublin to her recent trip to Berlin for the festival’s talents programme, as well as enlightening me as to what theatrical sales actually entails (hint: they’re the people that book the films into cinemas!)
Síle is incredibly determined and actually quite inspirational in how focused she is in pursuit of her goals. I did this interview at the end of quite a long day and I was feeling pretty tired, but I came away from our chat feeling really renewed and invigorated, so I hope you do too. It’s like the podcast version of an exfoliator.
I should also mention that Altitude have a bevy of brilliant releases either currently out in cinemas, or coming very soon, so keep your eyes peeled for those. They include:
- Being Frank, a documentary about the life of maverick Manchester comedian Frank Sidebottom and his hidden creator Chris Sievey which is out now in cinemas.
- Mid 90s, Jonah Hill’s directorial debut about a 13-year-old kid in 90s LA who ingratiates himself with a skateboarding crew, that’s coming to cinemas this very Friday and I 100% recommend it.
- And lastly but by no means least is Beats, also set in the 90s about two Scottish friends who go on one final rave before heading their separate ways. That’ll be dropping in UK and Irish cinemas on May 17.