The Dancing Floor at Hay Castle plus Women Directors rule ok!

The Dancing Floor at Hay Castle plus Women Directors rule ok!
View of Hay Castle

Before I write about the inspiring and wildly talented women directors I met last week, I want to remind you that, if you’d like to come to our special event at 7pm on Wednesday 9 September at Hay Castle, with music, storytelling and a chance to see the pilot version of ‘The Dancing Floor’, then please RSVP us at  We need an idea of numbers.  It’s free with refreshments by donation and celebrates the launch of our crowdfunding campaign.

Image result for Appropriate Behaviour
Desiree Akhavan starring in her own movie

Meanwhile….women directors are being celebrated here, and I have just returned from a special Female Directors’ lab run by the BFI/FFilm Cymru Wales and funded partly by BARBARA BROCCOLI’s company EON.  I knew I was lucky to get a place but not how lucky till I met the mentors for the events, four of the most talented women making films today.  That’s Destiny Ekaragha who made the boisterous and hilarious ‘Gone Too Far’ set in south London and the Lenny Henry biopic ‘Danny and the Human Zoo’, (on BBC 1 at 9pm 31 August); Desiree Akhavan, an Iranian-American whose sharply scripted ‘Appropriate Behaviour’, about being a confused bisexual in New York, has made quite a stir – I loved it, seen it twice. Those two are the comedy experts.

Image result for Rebecca Johnson (Honeytrap)
Rebecca Johnson (far right) with her young cast

Then there’s Rebecca Johnson who made ‘Honeytrap’ an exquisitely crafted tragedy about a young woman who sets up her aspirant suitor to die, and Corinna McFarlane whose ‘The Silent Storm’ is set on a remote Scottish island and presents a dramatic yet painterly version of the mythic love-triangle.  We also had a visit from the charming Debbie Isitt whose largely improvised films (‘Confetti’ and ‘Nativity’ x3) manage to combine big laughs with a lot of heart.  In fact all these films have heart, they all make you think, they are all extremely captivating and good to look at, and I strongly urge you to seek them out, in cinemas, on BFI Player or wherever you can.  It is just so great to see this flowering of the female point of view in cinema.  I don’t know about you, but I am tired of films designed for fourteen year old boys and jaded couch potatoes.

Among the gems of great advice given by these women, to those who want to direct, were:

If you get harsh but truthful feedback, then suck it up, don’t talk back and justify yourself! 

Be nice, you never know who you might need to help you in the future.

Your strength comes from your collaborators

Your journey can be very lonely and full of rejection, but there are these amazing moments….!

There was good advice from other great women from the industry, including the distinguished editor, Mali Evans:

many directors don’t visualise the script before they shoot

and this from, I think Sadie Frost but also from others in different words:

Be ruthless, work really hard and don’t give up.  Give yourself permission, don’t wait for someone to give it to you!

I think that last one might be the most important – and the hardest too.

So now I feel enthused, energised and inspired and ready to go for the next phase of this film-making journey.