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Adventures in Producing interview series

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

I've started an interview series delving into the careers of my unsung heroes, independent film and TV producers. I know so many inspiring ones that I thought it was time to give them the spotlight. Females only for 2021 but will share some love with the excellent male producers I know from 2022 onwards.

A podcast version will soon follow, stay tuned for those if you prefer audio-only.

Thanks to anyone watching these and of course a huge thanks to the interviewees.

You can see the full collection here on YouTube and subscribe to updates.

or individual links, alphabetical by last name:

Farah Abushwesha, an Irish-born, Libya-raised, London-based, BAFTA-nominated producer. Her company is Rocliffe and she is also the creator of the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Competition and Showcase, for emerging talent. She was a Screen International's Star of Tomorrow in 2017. She has worked on films and TV shows including The Scouting Book for Boys (Tom Harper), The Comedian (Tom Shkolnik), The Rise aka Wasteland (Rowan Athale), Pressure (Ron Scalpello), Identicals (Simon Pummell) The Party (Andrea Harkin), The Last Photograph (Danny Huston), Irreplaceable You directed by Stephanie Laing and starring Christopher Walken and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, The ABC Murders, an Agatha Christie adaptation directed by Alex Gabassi, written by Sarah Phelps and starring John Malkovich; and ITV’s The Singapore Grip directed by Tom Vaughan, written by Christopher Hampton and starring Colm Meaney, David Morrissey and Luke Treadaway. She has also written two books, Rocliffe Notes: A Professional Approach for Screenwriters & Writer-Directors and Rocliffe Notes: A Guide to Low-Budget Filmmaking.

Katja Adomeit, a German-born, Denmark-based producer who runs Adomeit Film. She has worked in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Germany, Denmark, France, Russia, Ukraine, China and New Zealand. Her film credits include The Weight of Elephants, Loving Pia and Resin by Daniel Borgman; Pine Ridge, Lida and Transnistra by Anna Eborn; Team Hurricane by Annika Berg; and Wolf and Sheep and The Orphanage by Shahrbanoo Sadat. She has also been a co-producer on Ruben Ostlund’s Force Majeure and The Square. She has been named a Future Leader by Screen International and an EFP Producer on the Move in Cannes.

Birgitta Björnsdóttir, Icelandic producer who previously worked at Zik Zak Filmworks before setting up Vintage Pictures. The films and TV shows she has worked on as a producer or line producer include The Swan (Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir), Agnes Joy (Silja Hauksdóttir), Happily Never After (Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir), The Minister, The Falcons, I Remember You, and as a co-producer, Land Ho! (Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens) and Woman at War (Benedikt Erlingsson). She’s working with The Swan director Ása Helga Hjörleifsdóttir on a new film with the working title of A Reply To a Letter From Helga. She’s been an EFP Producer on the Move in Cannes and a Screen International Future Leader.

Mary Burke is a BAFTA and BIFA award-winning producer who was born in the US and is based in London. She worked for many years with Warp Films on films like Submarine (Richard Ayoade), Bunny and the Bull (Paul King), Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland) and For Those In Peril (Paul Wright). She was a Film Fund Executive at the BFI for five years, working on films like God’s Own Country and Ammonite (both with director Francis Lee); Censor (Prano Bailey-Bond), Saint Maud (Rose Glass), Little Joe (Jessica Hauser), Yardie (Idris Elba) and I Am Not A Witch (Rungano Nyoni), among many more titles. She left the BFI in 2020 to become an independent producer at her own company, Public Dreams Ltd.

Karin Chien has produced films like Patricia Benoit's Stones In The Sun, Bradley Rust Gray's The Exploding Girl and Jack And Diane, Maryam Keshavarz’s Circumstance, The Michael Kang's Motel and Greg Pak's Robot Stories. She is also the founder of dGenerate, the North American distributor of independent Chinese cinema, which has worked on 70 titles in partnership with Icarus Films.

Andrea Cornwell, London-based producer whose credits include The Scouting Book for Boys (Tom Harper), Last Days on Mars (Ruari Robinson), Suite Francaise (Saul Dibb), Apostasy (Daniel Kokotajlo), Saint Maud (Rose Glass); and the documentaries Sea Horse (Jeanie Finlay) and Bruce Lee and the Outlaw (Joost Vandebrug). Next up she is working on Clio Barnard’s series The Essex Serpent, with See-Saw Films for Apple TV+.

Julie Goldman is a New York City-based, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning producer and executive producer of documentary feature films and series. In 2009, she founded Motto Pictures alongside Christopher Clements (and prior to that Julie worked at Cactus Three and Wellspring). Just a few of her 100+ films include The Mole Agent by Maite Alberdi; Abacus: Small Enough To Jail by Steve James; The Final Year by Greg Barker; Life, Animated by Roger Ross Williams; Weiner by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg; the Facebook series Humans of New York with Brandon Stanton; The Yes Men Are Revolting by Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno; One Child Nation by Nanfu Wang, Goth Cruise by Jeanie Finlay; Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry by Alison Klayman; and Buck by Cindy Meehl. She’s now working with Todd Haynes on his Velvet Underground documentary. She has been awarded the Amazon Studios Sundance Institute Producer’s Award and the Cinereach Producer’s Award.

Marie Therese Guirgis, a New York-based film producer who has worked in both fiction and documentary film. She is currently head of production at Play/Action Films and previously worked for companies including Ratpac and distributor Wellspring Media. Some of the films she has worked on recently include Summer of Soul, Questlove’s hit at Sundance 2021; The Meaning of Hitler (Petra Epperlein & Michael Tucker); Totally Under Control (Alex Gibney & Ophelia Harutyunyan); and MLK/FBI (Sam Pollard). Past credits include The Brink (Alison Klayman), Before The Flood (Fisher Stevens), On Her Shoulders (Alexandria Bombach), Author: The JT LeRoy Story (Jeff Feuerzeig), The Loneliest Planet (Julia Loktev) and Keep The Lights On (Ira Sachs).

Venla Hellstedt is a producer in Finland and she works with the amazing group of women at Tuffi Films, including fellow producer Elli Toivoniemi and writer/directors Selma Vilhunen, Jenni Toivoniemi and Kirsikka Saari. Venla's credits include Frozen Hell, Dance of Outlaws, Hobbyhorse Revolution, Stupid Young Heart, Games People Play and Sihja, The Rebel Fairy.

Katie Holly is an Irish film producer and the owner of Blinder Films. Katie has worked on films including Citadel directed by Ciaran Foy; The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology and Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami directed by Sophie Fiennes; Vita & Virginia directed by Chanya Button; Love and Friendship directed by Whit Stillman; and French Exit directed by Azazel Jacobs.

Mynette Louie is a New York-based producer who has worked on films including I Carry You With Me By Heidi Ewing; The Tale by Jennifer Fox; Swallow by Carlo Mirabella-Davis; The Invitation by Karyn Kusama; Buster’s Mal Heart by Sarah Adına Smith; Mutual Appreciation by Andrew Bujalski; Hunting Season by Natalia Garagiola; Children of Invention by Tze Chun; and Land Ho! by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz. She ran Gamechanger Films from 2013 to 2018 and now has a company called The Population that she co-founded with Mollye Asher and Derek Nguyen. She is the winner of the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards Piaget Producers Award.

Kate Ogborn is an award-winning film and television producer and executive producer whose credits include Carine Adler's Under the Skin, starring Samantha Morton, This is England, The Deep Blue Sea, and Abandoned Goods. Kate set up Fly Film with Lisa Marie Russo where she worked on films including The Spirit of ’45 by Ken Loach and Hockney by Randall Wright. She has also worked with The Bureau and at Revolution Films (including on The Red Riding Trilogy and The Unloved). She has recently moved into episodic drama, with credits including The End of the F’ing World, The North Water directed by Andrew Haigh and the forthcoming Life After Life adapted adapted from Kate Atkinson’s novel by Bash Doran and directed by John Crowley.

Rebecca O'Brien is Ken Loach’s longtime producer, who founded Sixteen Films in 2002 alongside Ken and Paul Laverty. Rebecca has produced Ken’s films starting with Hidden Agenda and going on to include Land and Freedom, My Name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, Angels’ Share, The Spirit of 45, I, Daniel Blake, Sorry We Missed You and more. She has also worked on non-Loach films like You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay, Lynn and Lucy by Fyzal Boulifa and up next is Christian Carion's My Son. She’s also very very active in the industry on boards of organizations like PACT and the European Film Academy and the British Screen Advisory Council.


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