Season’s Greetings from Directors UK!
It’s been another busy year, so once again we’re opening the doors on the Directors UK Advent Calendar.
Every day throughout December we’ve highlighted some outstanding director-focused moments from a jam-packed 2022, and brought back some of the fantastic things you may have missed.
It’s the final day of the advent calendar – and we’re going out with a bang. Today, we’re celebrating our Directors UK Inspire programme.
Inspire is a year-round mentoring programme for Full and Associate members of Directors UK. Its purpose is to support and encourage directors across all genres to pursue and manage structured support from a more experienced director.
This year, we’ve seen numerous success stories from the programme. There’s our article from member Rita Osei on mentoring with Lynsey Miller, directing second unit and shadowing on set in Istanbul. You can also read about Sasha Djurkovic’s experience shadowing on the set of Then Barbara Met Alan with Bruce Goodison. Elsewhere, director Jo Southwell wrote for us about kickstarting her TV directing career on the set of Trigger Point with Jennie Darnell, and Will Jewell and Dan Zeff discussed what they learned from each other.
Directors connecting, sharing their experiences, and learning from one another: there’s no better way to see out 2022, and look ahead to the new year. Season’s Greeting from all of us at Directors UK!
For the penultimate day of the advent calendar, we’re heading all the way back to the beginning of the year, where he hosted an event with Adam McKay, director of the climate crisis satire Don't Look Up.
Adam spoke to fellow director Sarah Gavron about how he wrote the film, assembling his incredible cast, improvisation, VFX, and so much more. You can listen back now to the discussion about a film that has only become more relevant in the time since – check out Directors UK Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, and other podcast platforms.
For day 22, we present a brand new episode of the Directors UK podcast. Listen to director Luca Guadagnino discuss his latest film, Bones and All, with fellow director Aleem Khan. Luca spoke with Aleem about how he created the film’s universe through production design, visuals, and sound, and about working with his two terrific leads, Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell. The new episode is available on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all other podcast platforms!
Today’s advent calendar is a podcast episode from our Q&A with Jordan Hogg, director of the fantastic television series, Ralph and Katie – the first TV drama to star two lead performers with Down’s syndrome.
Jordan spoke to fellow director Delyth Thomas about the steps he took to raise the bar on accessibility in his production. From employing a creative coach and easy-read callsheets, to ultilising the Call It! App as a safety net for cast and crew.
Ralph and Katie is available to watch now on iPlayer. Call It! is available to download on iPhone and Android. You can listen to the Directors UK Podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and read a full transcript on our website.
If you missed our member screening of The Woman King, you can listen to the podcast featuring director Gina Prince-Bythewood in conversation with Kevin Macdonald.
The Woman King is the remarkable story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness unlike anything the world has ever seen. Listen along to hear about Gina’s process carefully selecting her cast, the intense training they undertook, and how she directed a large-scale production with limited time and money. The Directors UK Podcast is available on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all other podcast platforms. Warning, may contain spoilers for the film!
Today, we’re revisiting our interview with BAFTA-winning director and former Directors UK Vice-Chair Susanna White. Directors UK spoke to Susanna about her new BBC documentary T.S. Eliot: Into ‘The Waste Land’, which explores the complex personal stories behind the writing of Eliot’s celebrated, 100 year-old poem. Read about how Susanna conducted her research and reflected hope and mystery on screen, as well as her love of factual filmmaking.
For Day 18 of the advent calendar, we explore directing virtual reality with our June piece on (Hi)Story of a Painting: The Light in the Shadow, directed by Gaëlle Mourre and Quentin Darras.
For the project, Gaëlle and Quentin use cutting-edge VR to immerse the viewer in the world of one of today’s most celebrated artists: Artemisia Gentileschi. We spoke to Gaëlle about how she got started in directing VR and how it differs from other forms of directing as we speak to our member about getting into the sector.
In March, we hosted director Andy Hay, actor Nicholas Ralph and animal handler Dean Clark for a session on working with animals on the set of All Creatures Great and Small.
In a fantastic session led by director Ruth Carney, who also had experience working on the set of All Creatures Great and Small, the expert panel talked through how they put together a major TV success story. You can read the highlights from their discussion, including useful tips and tricks to consider if you're thinking of working with animals on your next project.
Today, we’re travelling back to August, as the advent calendar revisits our interview with Man vs. Bee director, David Kerr.
The comedy TV series depicts Rowan Atkinson as Trevor, a desperate house-sitter pitched into battle with a crafty insect nemesis. We spoke to David about the elaborate execution of the simple comedic concept. Read about his experience directing, from pulling apart pianos to working with state-of-the-art VFX, and working with a global comedy icon. Read the article here.
For Day 15 of the Directors UK calendar, we’re revisiting our podcast episode with BAFTA and RTS Award-nominated director, Isabelle Sieb.
Isabelle’s TV work includes Episodes 4-6 of the BAFTA-nominated BBC series Vigil, and Shetland also for the BBC.
The episode comes from our Career Development masterclass, where Isabelle sat down with fellow director Samantha Harrie to discuss key career decisions, the way she uses social media to engage with her audiences, and to dissect some fantastic scenes she directed. Listen back on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your pods!
In October, we invited Directors UK member Roxy Rezvany to write a piece for our website about the making of her short film, Photo Booth. Using two lead actors and a single location, the film tells the story of a young couple in 1970s London, who find themselves tangled up in Britain’s immigration laws. Photo Booth has since gone on to screen around the country, including at Edinburgh and Leeds International Film Festivals.
Watch the short film and read about Roxy’s journey to developing her work, from funding to post-production.
Day 13 is all about our 2022 distributions. Every year, we collect and distribute payments to our members for secondary uses of their work, across UK Broadcasters and in Europe. Incredibly, this year our dedicated distribution team processed over 973,800 individual distributions to over 5,700 directors – that’s a lot of data, a lot of payments to bank accounts, and a lot of Microsoft Excel. You can find out more about our distributions here.
Back in June, director and former Directors UK Board member S.J. Clarkson joined Martin Scorsese to discuss the making of her hit TV drama, Anatomy of a Scandal.
Together they discussed refreshing the portrayal of courtroom dramas, giving a sense of memory and thought, taking visual risks, and the sugary power of Percy Pig sweets! You can listen back via the Directors UK Podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, and other podcast platforms. You can also read a transcript here!
Earlier this year, Directors UK member Zah Ahmad wrote for us about changing the narrative around Muslim creatives, and establishing his own organisaton, Mifta.org — the Muslim Institute of Film and Television Artists — which seeks to address the negative portrayal of Muslim people in the industry and in film and TV, as well as the under representation of Muslim talent both in front of and behind the camera. Read Zah’s full article for Directors UK here.
In March, Directors UK was at the House of Lords to celebrate the Film the House Awards — where we were excited to again present two Directors UK Awards for Best Film Direction.
At an event hosted by comedian Helen Lederer, the Directors UK award for Best Film Direction - Over 19 was presented to Ben Hector for 22, and the Directors UK award for Best Film Direction - Under 19 went to Freya Hannan-Mills for I’ll Be Back Tomorrow...
Film the House is run in collaboration with MPs and industry professionals as a way of celebrating UK filmmaking talent, and highlighting the importance of intellectual property (IP) rights to both creators and MPs. Find out more about the evening here.
In November, we were thrilled to host Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson at a special member event, where they discussed the making of their new film, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio – available to watch from today on Netflix!
Guillermo and Mark sat down with Edgar Wright for a discussion about the film’s remarkable craftsmanship, how they adapted the Pinocchio story, and their animation Golden Rules.
Throughout this year, Directors UK has been touring the country with a new comprehensive training course: ScreenSkills and Directors UK’s Become a Self-Shooting PD.
Delivered in partnership with DV Talent and The Story Consultant, we’ve met up with talented PDs-in-waiting in Bristol, London, Manchester, Belfast and Glasgow, for a chance to take part in face-to-face technical training on all aspects of the self-shooting PD’s role. Find out more.
At an event all the way back in February, we hosted director Will Sharpe, who discussed the making of his fantastic TV series Landscapers with fellow filmmaker Armando Iannucci.
Will spoke to Armando about placing the audience in the frame, finding the characters in the rehearsal process, and how the working contributions from costume designer Charlotte Walter helped build the intricate world for the series. You can listen on all good podcast platforms and read a full transcript of their conversation here.
Back in April, we hosted a masterclass with Bruce Goodison and Amit Sharma, directors of the fantastic BBC Film, Then Barbara Met Alan.
Then Barbara Met Alan tells the story of Barbara Lisicki and Alan Holdsworth, the founders of disability activism group, DAN (Disabled People’s Direct Action Network). Drawing on clips from their BBC Film, Amit and Bruce discussed the process of co-directing, merging factual and drama genres, and working with disabled, deaf and neurodivergent cast and crew. You can listen back to the full conversation on the Directors UK Podcast, available on SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your pods!
Back in September, we spoke to Udayan Prasad, director of Starz’ historical drama Becoming Elizabeth. Udayan spoke to us about directing a block of episodes as part of a series — “I see myself as the second runner in a relay race” — tackling the challenges posed by COVID, and how he negotiates the actor-director relationship. Read the full interview here.
On Sunday the winners of the 2022 British Independent Film Awards are announced — and we were thrilled this year to have the chance to talk to the filmmakers nominated for Best Debut Director and Best Debut Director — Feature Documentary.
On our news page, read interviews with Georgia Oakley (Blue Jean), Victoria Fiore (Nascondino), Jono McLeod (My Old School), Andrew Cumming (The Origin), Becky Hutner (Fashion Reimagined), Kathryn Ferguson (Nothing Compares), Leah Gordon and Eddie Hutton Mills (Kanaval: A People’s History in Six Chapters) and Frances O’Connor (Emily). You can also listen to a podcast from our Aftersun event with Charlotte Wells, also BIFA-nominated, in conversation with Barry Jenkins — available here and on all good podcast platforms.
In September we held our Challenge ALEXA Showcase, screening and celebrating the short films directed by six filmmakers using top-of-the-range ARRI camera equipment!
Read an interview with directors Lucy Campbell, Will Kenning, Renzo Vasquez, Emily Greenwood, David Allain, and Carolyn Saunders about how they made their films here.
Networking, for many people, is a chore — but the ability to build and maintain professional contacts can be a huge help to any film and TV career. That’s why in March, we hosted a session for members on learning how to network fearlessly, hosted by Tracy Forsyth, coach and founder of Fast Track to Fearless. We rounded up some top tips to emerge from the session and published them on our Career Development page — you can read them here: Directors UK - Careers - Tracy Forsyth’s Top Networking Tips
Back in July we spoke to director Dee Koppang O’Leary about directing one of the BBC’s most-watched dramas of 2022, The Split.
Directing The Split marked a new start in the world of fiction directing for Dee, and she spoke to us about managing the transition from factual and entertainment, and from 2nd unit to lead director. Read the full interview here.