Interdoc Alums (3): Su Bainbridge

Su Bainbridge works with Glasgow-based Aconite Productions, making international documentary films which bring stories of global significance to the world stage. She took part in Interdoc Scotland 2012.

Su-Bainbridge_320.jpgPassionate about making films, Su has years of experience spanning documentaries, drama, commercials, music and arts. Su has worked as a Production Manager, Producer and Assistant Director with many production companies for almost two decades. Also, in 2004, David Hayman invited her to join the team at his charity Spirit Aid to develop and run a pilot film project which enabled a range of young people to make their own films. They learned how to develop films based on their own ideas. Su looks back at it as a great success. She continued to work with Spirit Aid to further develop the Shooters Film Project and to roll the project out to other areas around Glasgow. As a freelancer she has made many programmes and films for theatrical release and for broadcast on BBC, Channel4, STV, ITV and ARTE. One of the latest productions she managed was My Lives and Times for Aconite which was nominated for a Creative Diversity Network Award and broadcast on BBC2 last July. A longer version will be released later this year, called Everybody's Child.

Su was selected to participate in Interdoc Scotland 2012 to develop an international documentary, Playground  directed by Palestinian director Wesam Mousa in the Gaza Strip. The film explores how four children, between 12 and 14 years old, play in the streets of Gaza. Their games, dreams and fantasies reflect their desire to live normal lives and also their way to survive the consequences of war. It is an intimate portrait that exposes how children view the world and their future when their playground is in the middle of a war zone.

Here is what Su said about her experience at Interdoc:

It was great to pitch PLAYGROUND at Interdoc. A good pitch is crucial and it’s brilliant to practise it in a supportive environment and to get feedback to enable further development. For PLAYGROUND, it was an especially good opportunity to get feedback at an early stage of development. This helped to take the proposal and pitch forward.  

Let the children tell the story

One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to encourage the director to focus on defining the story through the eyes of the children, to hear their voices clearly throughout whilst uncovering the paradoxes. I realise that sometimes, we pay too much attention to the environment and backdrop of the story, to the detriment of the story itself!

It was also great to see the pitches and visual material from other members of the group.  It was very inspiring and exciting to hear about their fantastic and diverse projects.

playground_320.jpgParticipating in Interdoc was a great and very rich experience, I highly valued sharing with a group of talented filmmakers, and to have the opportunity to work with with Noé Mendelle and Flore Cosquer from SDI and benefit from their great expertise. The programme was jam-packed with useful advice from industry guests, who spoke to us either in person or via Skype. The programme included budget and finance surgeries; a session on trailers, budget, finance plans and the international market by Noé with Aimara Reques; international distribution advice from Peter Jäger of Autlook Films, MEDIA Development funding advice from producer Stefan Kloos; a legal session with Richard Findlay; narrative strategies by Geoffrey Smith; working with theatrical exhibitors by James Rice from the Filmhouse; audience engagement by Angela Fernandez Orviz; and a session on trailers by Grant Keir.

Interdoc "invaluable"

My experience at Interdoc has been invaluable in taking the project forward as we were able to use the feedback to develop the story and treatment.  Director Wesam Mousa was invited to Ramallah Docs and we were able to prepare a new pitch which gained interest from broadcasters and potential sponsors.  We have made excellent progress with the development of PLAYGROUND and hope to shoot a pilot in March.

Following Interdoc, we also began to develop a half-hour film with Wesam, 15 IN GAZA. This film follows Shorouq, a young girl from Gaza who will soon be 15, not ready to face womanhood as war rages around her.  This has recently been commissioned by Al Jazeera. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to produce this exciting film with Wesam and we are working with a talented team of industry professionals from UK and Gaza. We will shoot in February, and the film will be released later this year.

Interdoc Scotland currently has an open call for applications. Deadline is Monday 25 February.