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Industry Insights: Darcia Martin

Darcia Martin is a factual and drama director and producer. Darcia worked for many years at the BBC where she directed documentaries and drama serials. Early on she cut her teeth directing countless episodes of the long-running medical series Doctors, before moving on to direct Judge John Deed, Casualty, The Bill, Hollyoaks, and most recently Call the Midwife. She has also directed a number of factual and learning programmes for the BBC.

Why do you think you are a Director?

– I love discovering. I have always been interested in learning about people, places and events. When I made factual programmes I enjoyed telling peoples’ unique stories but you had to find a contributor who was willing to tell that story. Drama is most effective when you don’t have that contributor.

If forced to give one tip to new people coming through what would it be?

– Don’t compare yourself to others. We all have our own pathway. You’ll get there in the end.

Tell us about where you come from and how it filters into your work?

– I’m a black, female director. I love my ethnicity and am incredibly proud to be a woman. I have faced judgements and pre-conceptions on many levels. Overcoming them at various stages of my career has just made me stronger.

Tell us about the latest film / exhibition / book / public figure / article to have inspired you?

– I read an article featuring inspiring women. Ava DuVernay said ‘don’t ask for permission’ to create. Her philosophy that ‘whatever it is you want to do just get on and start it’ immediately inspired me to write and tell the stories I want to make.

What frustrates you about what you do?

-You can be pigeon-holed and therefore not considered for certain genres. When scripts are late the opportunity to create what you are capable of becomes limited.

How do you overcome this?

– I’ll let you know when I’ve worked that out. I think DuVernay’s philosophy is the best answer!

Do you believe in the ‘female gaze’ and what does that mean to you?

– My life experiences impact my work and daily life and I feel this is the case for everyone. Being a female director gives me an interesting perspective in telling some stories.

Are you hopeful about equality in film, and wider society? Please tell us why.

– We’ve made a lot of progress since I started my career but unfortunately from personal experience I’d say we’re not quite there yet.


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