Winning Post: Mary Nighy

Mary Nighy – represented by White Lodge in London and Superette in Paris – picked up second prize in the charity category with her compelling film Handprint. We asked the new director what she’s been up to since her win to find that Mary has created another stunning awareness-raising film.

What have been your highlights since winning at the YDA show in Cannes?

Making Choose to See to raise awareness about child slavery with the lovely actor James D’Arcy, fantastic DOP Ben Moulden, great producer Sonya Sier, and an excellent crew. A great team and a good cause.

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What’s the best film making lesson you’ve learnt?

Concentrate on what interests you, and be as clear as you can about what that is, even if that means saying no sometimes.

And the wisest quote about film making?

Producer Barnaby Thompson said you just have to set a date for filming whether or not you have all the money, and commit with all your team to making it happen then. Even if it doesn’t happen on that exact date, you’ll be a lot closer to it if you all have a date in the diary. I’m trying to follow his advice for my next project…
Your worst nightmare production story was when….

We had to shoot a two-day shoot in one day, and cut three scenes a few days before to get it done. The film survived but in quite a different form to the one I’d imagined.

What would be your dream directing job next year?

I’d like to direct my first feature next year, and/or direct a fiction web series. I’m a fan of High Maintenance, for example, and I’d love to do a series like that here in Europe.

List five of your favourite films from the past year –  these can be long or short formats.

– Suzanne, by Katell Quillévéré, a beautiful, subtle film about what it’s like to be the gangster’s girl, or her family.
– Girlhood (Bandes de Filles in French), by Celine Sciamma about a girl gang in the Paris suburbs.
– Under the Skin by Jonathan Glazer. Amazing sound design and unusual storytelling.
– Pride by Matthew Warchus and Stephen Beresford, brilliantly witty writing about an important moment in recent history.
– Weekend by Andrew Haigh, from 2012, which I watched for the first time this year, about two men nearly falling in love over 48 hours. Concise and heart-wrenching.

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