Counting Sheep

It's that time of the year again, we're getting ready for Bridging The Gap 2014; our call for applications will open very soon. In the coming weeks we will publish new blog posts from previously participating filmmakers, who will share their personal experiences in the process, and give you tips on how to apply this year.

First up, Rosie Reed Hillman, who not only managed to make Cailleach, a beautiful short film, but who also had her first baby during the process. Rosie, we salute you.

Rosie_Headshot.jpgMy passion for filmmaking is born out of my interest in people, their lives and the stories they have to tell. I had completed an MA in Visual Anthropology just as I was applying for Bridging the Gap. Prior to doing my MA, my background was in social care, predominantly in homelessness and supporting survivors of domestic abuse, which gave me the opportunity to work with and support people with compelling and humbling life stories.

For me documentary film is all about the relationship you make with people, respecting their stories and engaging them in the film making process. Applying for Bridging the Gap seemed like a great way to move on with my filmmaking practice, bringing all my experiences together and getting the opportunity to make a cinematic piece, after receiving lots of amazing training and mentoring.

Also, with a real budget - how could I not apply!?

The workshops enabled me to develop and deeply think about my proposal: Morag’s story (my main character), the approach and the aesthetic I wanted. We also focused on skills needed to secure the commission in the final pitch, essential learning for getting any future film commissions or funding in the industry. I found the pitching workshop particularly engaging and empowering. After an intensive weekend on the 'A-Z of pitching' I was able to go forth and get the green light for my film!

"focus on your own creativity and what makes you unique"

My advice to those applying this year is: 

  • Stay true to yourself and those who are going to be in your film: this is about them, so building a respectful and trusted relationship is not only essential to keeping access for your project, but will come through in the final edit, making a much more compelling film.

  • Be confident: even if you feel you don’t have as much experience, or technical wizardry as your fellow filmmakers, focus on your own creativity and what makes you unique.

  • Be realistic: think of your access, the time scale and the budget - pitch a project that can work in these parameters.

Working on Cailleach was a great learning experience. Aside from successfully hiking across bogs in the driving Hebridean rain with full camera kit; coping without broadband; and, being able to name and identify sheep from a flock, my project was enriched greatly by having a brilliant team to collaborate with on the project. They understood my creative vision and the sensitivity needed in creating a portrait of Morag.

The film was delivered (!) the week after my baby was born, so it was quite a relief to see it submitted and lovely to attend the world premiere in Edinburgh this summer with our new wee addition! Cailleach is being sent to festivals by SDI and has already been accepted for two this year: ASFF & Hebrides IFF; it’s exciting to see what journey the film will now take and a fantastic opportunity to have your work distributed so widely in this way.