Why do you think you are Senior Director, Legal and Business Affairs, Global Film Group, Entertainment One?
I love stories and the magic of being transported to another world be that through books, Television and of course, Film. Having started my career in the film industry in PR I realised I enjoyed the deal making side of things so I retrained as a lawyer specialising in film. Working at Entertainment One gives me the ability to work on such a diverse range of films on a global level- be those international blockbusters or territorial indie stories with incredible talent.
What’s your elevator pitch to describe the kind of films and/or filmmakers you like working with the most?
I enjoy working with true collaborators. Those who appreciate the importance of each stage of the filmmaking process. I like working on films that highlight real stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, they are always the most inspiring and unassuming people to work with.
What is it about such material or teams that you find the most inspiring?
The humility and lack of ego of true collaborators is refreshing in an industry of such privilege. Being involved in shining light on a previously unknown story is an honour and there is always such a buzz amongst those working on it to do the story justice. It’s an amazing thing to be part of.
If forced to give one tip to new people coming through what would it be?
Be kind! It’s a small industry and you’ll get further with allies than with enemies!
And what pitfall would you say is essential to avoid in your sector when starting out? (You can be general about film or specific to your area or both)
Try to get a breadth of experience early on and don’t be tempted to specialise too soon. The industry is ever changing and having that wealth of experience will set you up well to weather the unknown challenges ahead.
Tell us about where you come from or where you live now and how it filters into your work?
I was born and raised in North West London and live there now. I love London and despite living in Nottingham and Cheltenham at various stages in my life, nothing beats the hustle and bustle of London for me. I come from an Indo- Caribbean family who always supported the arts. Growing up in London you really are spoiled for choice with the latest theatre, music, ballets and museums and that has certainly helped shape the breadth of my work.
Tell us about the latest film / exhibition / book / public figure / article to have inspired you?
As cliche as it sounds my inspiration comes from those around me everyday rather than a crafted image be that in films/exhibits etc. My Grandma left her children in Guyana to come to England to make a better life for them and the generations to follow. That sacrifice inspires me every day to be worthy of the opportunities I have been given as a direct result, and having just had a baby boy, I want to push forward for his generation and those to follow.
What frustrates you about what you do?
Working on the legal side means you are often dismissed as the “bad guy”or being perceived as delaying the creative process, it can be a pretty thankless task – let’s face it how many Oscar speeches thank the lawyers!
How do you overcome this?
I try to explain the reasoning behind every decision- good or bad and if I can’t do that I question the status quo to find a way to make things work.
Do you believe in the ‘female gaze’ and what does that mean to you?
I do believe that “women tend to have a more empathetic approach to their view of a subject, seeking to understand all angles and get to the heart of the matter whilst the traditional “male gaze” tends to be more voyeuristic. I think it can be damaging to attach labels and assumptions based on gender (or any other markers for that matter) and as above, I long for the day that there is more of an individual approach to each story to be told. Post #MeToo there has been a surge in active female voices being pushed to the forefront of the film industry and I do think having a platform for our voices is essential to the re-balancing of our industry as a whole.
Parting shot – Why are programmes like FUTURE LEADERS IN DISTRIBUTION important to you and what does gender equality in film and society mean to you?
The programme has already made such an impact in how I feel about my career and future progression and we are only half way through. To have such an inspiring peer group of women and incredible leaders in Mia and Simone who are truly supportive of one another has been so refreshing. It is depressing that so many of us have experienced similar issues in our careers to date but there is power in that solidarity and shows how essential programmes like FLD really are. Equality in film and society, be that gender, race, sexuality means everything to me. As a woman from a BAME background I am grateful to those trailblazers who paved the way for me and my aim is to continue that work until true equality has been reached.