Vicky Mathers, ÉCU alumni talks about her film "Stanley Pickle" and life post-ÉCU!
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Hi Vicky! ÉCU here. We’ve never met, but your film ‘Stanley Pickle’ won the prize for ‘Best Student Film’ and we all absolutely loved it. How did you find out about ÉCU in the first place?
I found out about ÉCU by searching for festivals in Paris- from the website it looked really active, and that's what drew me to it. Then I read more about it to discover it clearly had a great reputation so naturally I sent in Stanley Pickle.
What’s happened to Stanley since April 2011? Rumour has it he’s done a lot of travelling......
Stanley has been on an epic journey around the world. Highlights have been Newport Beach FF, Arizona IFF, NYCIFF, MIFF Milan, Fest Anca Slovakia, STIFF Seattle, Palm Springs FF, and Cannes in a Van! There are these guys who literally drive around Cannes and open up the back of their van to reveal a mobile cinema. They screen a hand picked selection of short films from all over the world, it’s a brilliant idea!
I’ve got a handful of festivals to announce coming up across California, San Francisco, Washington D.C, Italy, Spain, Missouri, a Swiss premiere and we’ve been nominated for a View Award in Italy. As Barry Purves would say…’The ‘Pickle Juggernaut’ rolls on.’
What got you started in filmmaking in the first place?
I got a job on a feature film when I was 17 working for Art Director Brian Savegar (Dinosaurs, A Room with a View) – he was very kind to take me under his wing. He suggested I go to Kingston University and after a degree in Fine Art then working in TV, Costume, Design, Photography, experimenting with Animation, and a whole lot of soul searching, I moved out of London and got a scholarship in to the NFTS, which has subsequently changed my life.
Who or what are you influenced by?
Art, architecture, people, illustration, stories- my family- surrounding myself with passionate people who manage to keep their feet on the ground and their head partially in the clouds.
What are the best and worst things about participating in the film festival circuit?
The best thing about film festivals is that you are brought together with an audience of people who simply love watching films. It is just bliss. You can strike up real bonds with fellow filmmakers. When you are watching each other’s films it’s like having a direct conversation with people but without talking. And I love that, it’s beautiful.
The worst thing about film festivals is not being able to afford to travel to each festival to represent your film- for example ÉCU! I would have LOVED to but money is always the enemy. Our Korean premiere was last week, I would have found that fascinating, that and when we got in to the Bahamas- that would have been a lovely trip!
I went to a screening in London the other night at ‘Short & Sweet’- I hadn’t watched Stanley Pickle for a while, it really reminded me how important it is to listen to your audience react and understand why it works, why it’s good and why its worth keeping at it, even though it’s so hard to earn money.
What are your plans for the future? Are you working on a new project?
I’ve just finished a new Fashion Film for Lulu Guinness, it’s a short stop motion piece about her new luggage collection. It’s a fun little story about her suitcases going on honeymoon, dancing from London to Paris inspired by Fred and Ginger and vintage MGM movies. You can view it here: vimeo.com/27371114
Other than this, I’m honored to have recently been named a ‘Brit to Watch’ by BAFTA. I am writing, having lots of meetings, pitching and helping Pickle roll along around the world. In September I will be travelling to a festival in Columbia Missouri (central USA), it’s called ‘Citzen Jane.’ It’s a fairly laid back festival, looking at how us ladies are getting on in the industry, it should be fun!
And finally could you summarise independent cinema from your country in 3 words?
Essential for growth