17th Berlinale Talents | 2019
Katie Hodgkin is a London based producer working across fiction and documentary, looking to work with fresh voices and talent from around the world.
Hi Katie thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the Berlinale?
Yes I think so. We just got the schedule through for the 6 days and it looks really varied and interesting.
Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?
I’m not really nervous, I’m just excited to be spending a week meeting new people and learning more about the international filmmaking landscape.
What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?
It means a lot actually. I’ve never been part of any sort of lab before and to be selected from so many applicants gives you a kind of validation that you must be doing something right.
What do you hope to get from this experience?
I hope to meet people from around the world and build up a strong network of contacts. I also hope to learn more about co-productions and different ways to structure a film.
Can you tell me a little bit about your work, what was it about producing that interested you so much?
My producing work so far has been quite varied, but I try to be self-aware and knowledgeable of what’s going on in the world and, if I can, do my part to make it a better place or prevent it from getting worse. I, therefore, have the most satisfaction when I have the opportunity to engage with a project that allows me to do this, to make films that are not only entertaining but also say something valuable and authentic.
What attracts you to a project?
Usually, the person telling it. I work a lot based on instinct. The same way a director has to have a strong feeling for their story, I have to have it for the director. The stories are important but more so the voice that tells them. Some producers tend to look for projects, I usually look for people.
"...only produce projects that you truly love."
What was the first film you produced?
It was a short film called Spirit. It was my graduation film and is about a guy who sells his soul to the devil.
Looking back would you do anything differently?
There are a few jobs I probably wouldn’t take if offered again.
What are some of the biggest challenges a producer might face on a production?
There are so many! The biggest challenge is definitely finding the money. Once you’re in production then the main challenge becomes balancing practical restrictions with creative ambition. Making sure you finish the film on time and on budget while at the same time supporting the director and ensuring that you make the right decisions to deliver on their vision.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
I have always loved films, or stories in any form really. But it wasn’t until I was 23 that I realised I wanted to work in this industry. I started out making short films with a few friends in Sheffield and then moved to London to do a 1-year filmmaking course.
How important is the collaborative process in filmmaking for you?
Very important. Bringing a group of people together for several weeks or months to create something collectively is what I enjoy most, and being part of the creative process from the very beginning until the very end.
How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?
I spent the first 5 years of my career working in production, so my focus was very much on the practical and logistical side of filmmaking. I then worked in development for 2 years, which meant I was more focused on talent, story development and the creative elements which go into making a strong package. I am now a freelance producer and find that I utilise both of these skillsets a lot.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just produced my first feature film. It’s called Bruno and is by writer/director Karl Golden. It’s about a homeless man in East London. We follow him over the course of 24 hours and discover the reasons why he has ended up where he is. I’m very proud of the film and we are currently entering it into festivals.
I am developing several other projects, including a ghost story called Martyrs Lane from writer/director Ruth Platt. It’s been developed with the BFI and we are hoping to shoot this summer.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any up and coming producer?
I would say only produce projects that you truly love. When trying to get a film made you will receive a lot of “no’s” and there will be many setbacks. Your belief in the film’s potential has to be strong enough to withstand all that. You’re in it for the long haul and can’t find yourself running out of enthusiasm just when you need to be pushing the project the hardest.