How did you first connect with Film Earls Court and The Earl’s Court Film Festival?

I joined the crew as Production Manager of a short film that was being supported by the Earls Court Film Fund. I considered it important to get some “hands on” experience of production as I did not come from a film school background. It was at a time I had decided on a career change having qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2000 and spent twenty years working in practice.

When was that?

I think we are looking back to 2016. I desperately wanted to get into the film business. I say I did not come out of film school, which is true, but after selling my accountancy practice I did take a number of short courses based around film production to find out how the structures work.

How have you collaborated with them?

It’s been great. Caroline Tod-Richardson, a real driving force behind the ECFF asked me to produce a community film ‘Jan’ in Liverpool, a short documentary film about a woman and her family fleeing Pakistan and seeking asylum in the UK. I was then invited to sit on the judging panel alongside such luminaries as the late Dame Diana Rigg, Wayne Sleep and Leigh Lawson for the Earls Court Film Festival. And this year I have produced my first full length feature film ‘To A Cinder’, which is supported by the Film Fund, and whose writer/director Henry Scriven I met via our association with the Festival. So not only has Film Earls Court given me the chance to meet other people in the industry, but they also came on board with the TO A CINDER project making it their first venture into feature film production as well.

Why is what the team does so important?

Everyone knows how difficult it is to get a film off the ground if you’re an independent filmmaker, even with a good script and a great cast. ECFF are prepared to come in first with their support and this provides a foundation. Credibility is everything, particularly where investors are concerned, it’s a confidence thing and the Film Fund’s early participation helps to provide the springboard needed to start making it happen. In addition to their direct support there’s the added bonus of knowing people particularly in the Earls Court area who are prepared to allow their properties to be used for filming locations, and when problems arise Caroline is always generous with her time and her network contacts who are as keen to help.

Do you have any projects in production?

Currently I have a part time role at Grain Media a documentary production company based in south London who have amassed a couple of Academy awards and numerous other accolades. I am Director of Finance and Business Affairs, which allows me to continually explore the creative side of filmmaking while using the qualifications I got so many years back. However, my love and ambition is to continue to produce films through my own production company Ça Marche Media which generally focuses on drama with strong female leads. ‘To A Cinder’ is currently in post-production with a release date planned in 2022, and through Grain Media I have achieved my first Executive Producer credit with ‘Convergence: Courage in a Crisis’, filmed globally during the Covid Pandemic, and which airs on Netflix from 12th October.  I have three other scripts in various stages of development, along with quite an exciting slate, details of these I could champion for the next few hours but I won’t bore you with that now – but if you’re interested details are on my website

I would like to say thank you to everyone at the ECFF, I really feel they have been more than instrumental in kickstarting my career in the film business and I hope we will have many more opportunities to work together in the future. Certainly I am now pleased to consider Caroline a trusted friend.