Join us for intersectional feminist chat with remarkable women in film from director Amma Asante to multi-award winning composer Nainita Desai. Hosted by F-Rated founder, Holly Tarquini and BBC World Service presenter, journalist Anu Anand exploring all aspects of the film industry by talking to some of the brilliant women who shape the stories we see on screen.
Amma Asante - director (part 2)
In episode 6, we spoke to Amma Asante about growing up in racist London with her Ghanaian parents; being on Grange Hill as a child actor; going to secretarial college where she wrote her first script to get her typing speed up; and her trip to LA where she had a meeting with execs at a big studio. In this episode, we spoke to her about her first directing jobs in TV and then her break directing feature film, A Way of Life and then Belle, A United Kingdom and Where Hands Touch. This is the final episode of season one of the F-Rated Podcast. Do please tell everyone you know about this podcast.
Briony Hanson - British Council's Director of Film
Episode 10 of the F-Rated podcast features a conversation with Briony Hanson, the British Council's Director of Film. Holly Tarquini, the founder of the F Rating, hosts the episode solo since her colleague Anu Anand is away. Briony Hanson's impressive background includes directing the Script Factory Training Organisation, heading Tyneside Cinema and the BFI Programme Unit, co-programming London's LGBTIA Plus Film Festival, chairing BAFTA's original debut award jury, and being a critic for BBC Radio 4's Front Row and Saturday Review shows.
Briony describes her role at the British Council, which is the UK's cultural relations organisation. The council aims to build trust between the people of the UK and people around the world, using various tools, including the arts. As the Director of the Film Team, Briony's job involves championing UK filmmakers on a global stage and promoting the diversity and breadth of UK film beyond the stereotypical representation. She also encourages the UK film community to have an international outlook and seeks collaborations and inspiration from the global film industry. The British Council works closely with international film festivals, bringing them to the UK and showcasing UK features.
During the discussion, Holly and Briony touch upon the perception of film as the "poor cousin" in the arts world, where other art forms like poetry often receive more public funding and support. However, Briony emphasises the power of film as a tool for cultural relations, capable of reaching and engaging audiences who may not typically engage with other art forms. Film can entertain, educate, inform, and challenge, allowing for a broader exploration of different perspectives and breaking stereotypes associated with the UK.
The conversation also delves into the F-Rating, which Holly founded in 2014 to highlight films directed and/or written by women. They discuss the underrepresentation of women, especially women of colour, in the film industry and the need for change. Briony shares her observations of the increasing presence of women filmmakers, but acknowledges that there is still work to be done, particularly in promoting intersectionality in film, including the voices of women of colour and those from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.
The podcast episode concludes with a discussion on the impact of significant events such as Brexit, Covid-19, the murder of George Floyd, and the war in Ukraine. These events have had profound effects on the film industry and organisations like the British Council, prompting a need for adaptation and a greater focus on intersectional support.
Overall, the episode provides insights into Briony Hanson's role as the British Council's Director of Film, the importance of film in cultural relations, the progress made in promoting women filmmakers, and the ongoing challenges of intersectionality in the film industry.
Úna Ní Dhonghaíle - editor
Multi-award winning film editor, Úna Ní Dhonghaíle ACE, BFE is best known for her work on the Oscar winning film 'Belfast', Bafta winning series 'The Crown' Series 1 and 2 and 'Three Girls', 'Stan and Ollie', 'Wallander', 'The Missing' Series 1, 'Dr Who', Roddy Doyle's 'Rosie', amongst many others. She has worked on the leading lights of British drama in what some are calling "The Golden Age of Television". Having completed a four year degree in Film and Media Studies in her native Dublin, Úna specialised in film editing at the prestigious National Film and Television School (NFTS), UK.
Úna has since gone from strength to strength, earning her first of five BAFTA nominations in film editing in 2009 for her work on the Abi Morgan's feature 'White Girl' and in 2020 for her editing of Sir Kenneth Branagh's 'Belfast'. Over a five year period, she co-directed and edited a documentary about her father entitled 'Invisible Man', for which she won the 2016 IFTA for Best Editing in Television. Úna has also received much recognition for her editing of the highly acclaimed BBC drama 'Three Girls' (currently shown on Netflix), winning the BAFTA award for Best Fiction Editing, the Technicolor Craft Award from Women In Film UK, the IFTA for Best Editing, the RTS Award for Best Editing of Fiction, the RTS West of England Award for Editing and the Televisual British Bulldog Award for Editing.
In 2018, Úna worked hard, editing three feature films, Roddy Doyle's independent film 'Rosie', Pathé's 'Misbehaviour', directed by Philippa Lowthorpe and 'All Is True' by Kenneth Branagh, as well as editing episodes 1 and 2 of BBC's acclaimed drama Andrew Davies' Les Misérables. In 2020, Úna had the privilege of editing Stephen Daldry's Bafta winning film, 'Together', written by Dennis Kelly and starring Sharon Horgan and James McAvoy. Úna has just finished editing a Disney/Bruckheimer film 'Young Woman and The Sea', starring Daisy Ridley, Stephen Graham and Christopher Eccleston, directed by Joachim Ronning, written by Jeff Nathanson and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. This film is due for release late 2023.
Philippa Lowthorpe - diretor
Philippa Lowthorpe is a three times Bafta winning TV and Film Director. She became the first woman to win a Bafta for Best Director at the Bafta Television Awards in 2013. She was awarded her second directing BAFTA in 2018 for Three Girls, the highly acclaimed and multi award-winning TV Series which won 5 Baftas in total. She was lead director of the first series of "Call The Midwife", which became an immediate hit, gaining the highest viewing figures of any BBC show for the previous 10 years. Philippa was born in Yorkshire and grew up in Lincolnshire. She began as a documentary maker before moving into drama. She is known for The Third Day, Misbehaviour, The Crown, Three Girls etc.
Nainita Desai - composer
RTS award winning composer Nainita Desai is a World Soundtrack Awards, Ivor Novello, BIFA and Cinema Eye Honors nominee; a Bafta Breakthrough Brit, and the IFMCA Breakthrough Composer of the Year. Amongst various Bafta, Oscar and Emmy acclaimed productions, Nainita's recent projects include Oscar 2020 nominated and Bafta & Cannes winning feature doc For Sama, Sundance 2020 winning feature The Reason I Jump, Bad Boy Billionaires (No1 Netflix series in India), American Murder Netflix's most watched documentary to date, BBC drama series Unprecedented (James Norton, Olivia Williams, Gemma Arterton), and Interactive game / video game Telling Lies, the acclaimed release by Annapurna Interactive. Film4 labeled her as one of the top 5 'composers of 2020 who should be on your radar'.
Amma Asante MBE - director
Amma Asante MBE is a multi-award winning writer and director who won a BAFTA for her first film, A Way of Life (2004). This made Amma the first Black director to win a BAFTA Film Award for writing and directing a feature film. The film went on to garner 17 additional awards worldwide, including FIPRESCI, and Grand Jury prizes.
Her follow up movie, Belle (2013) drew widespread critical acclaim, going on to become one of the highest grossing independent films of the year and saw Amma named one of CNN’s Leading Women of 2014, as well as being named by Variety as one of their 10 Directors to watch.
In 2016, A United Kingdom, (2016) directed by Amma for Pathé and Fox Searchlight US, was released and its European Premiere saw Amma celebrated as the first Black director to open the BFI London Film Festival in its 60 year history.
Amma’s most recent film, is Where Hands Touch (2018). The film which was inspired by historical events, is set in 1944 Germany and stars Amandla Stenberg.. She has also directed episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale (season 3) and the critically acclaimed “Shirley” and “Betty” episodes of Cate Blanchett’s first US television series, Mrs America.
Amma was so insightful that we have split her F-Rated Podcast into two: this is Part One, about her childhood, growing up with Ghanaian parents in Streatham, working on Grange Hill as a child actor and writing her first screenplay.
“Empathically seeing the world through other peoples eyes”
Incredible discussion around all parts of film and the role it plays for women.
Discussions like this need to be integrated into secondary curriculum and ignite discussion around gender in film.
Wonderful warm feminist chat
Really recommend spending time with Holly, Anu and their terrific guests. Great deep dives into fabulous women in film.
Brilliant to hear women being showcased in this podcast. Lively conversations and thoughtful questions.