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British Shorts Berlin 2019
Ellen Evans
Life in Miniature

Festival Screening / Documentary Special

Documentary / Animation / Experimental

Sat 19.1. 18:00 / Sputnik Kino 1

Kath Holden is an artist of the everyday. Inspired by the world around her, Kath's creations are whimsical yet keenly observed, and a far cry from the genteel museum pieces that her contemporaries are producing. A proud woman from Bradford, Kath reflects on her life and art as she carves a place for herself in the precious world of miniatures.


Hi Ellen, thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for British Shorts 2019?


Yes! Sadly I won't be able to go because I'm taking the film to Sundance and the dates conflict. But I'm excited for the film to go to Berlin; it'll be its first screening outside of the UK.


Do you ever get any nerves ahead of a festival screening?


Yes always. Seeing the film on the big screen... you end up noticing all kinds of mistakes...


What was your first film festival experience like?


My graduation film 'Everything the Light Touches' screened at the Wales International Documentary Festival in 2016. It's a small festival in the Valleys which attracts some really amazing independent filmmakers from all over the world. I remember being there and thinking that there's something special and vital about having these kinds of communities for what can sometimes be a lonely field.


How does it feel to be at the festival with Life in Miniature? 


Great! The fact the film travels around the world without me is both wonderful and unexpected. It has a life of its own now.


Tell me a little bit about Life in Miniature how did this project come about? 


The Indie Training Fund run a programme called the ‘Rising Director’s Scheme’. During the course, you’re given a small budget and 8 weeks to develop and produce a 3-minute film to screen at Sheffield Doc Fest. Given the constraints of the brief, I thought it would be fun to make a “short” film about “small” things. And that’s how it started. Soon I was delving deep into the world of miniaturists, trying to find a contributor I thought could carry the film.


What was it about Kath Holden that inspired you to want to make this film?


Asides from being brilliantly funny and deadpan, I loved how Kath saw her work; how able she is to articulate what it means to her. 


I was really interested in this idea of miniaturism; of scaling down and telling the story of someone’s life and worldview in as succinct or “small” a form as possible. Kath was brilliant for that; she's open and honest and finds great meaning in what she does. So the title “Life in Miniature” is kind of a pun... It both refers to Kath's life as a miniaturist, and how it's the story of her life in miniature - in the form of a short film.


What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing Life in Miniature life?


As ever, working in a tiny two-person crew. The logistics of that can be pretty tough. I have quite a ramshackle way of making films and I'm lucky to work with a talented and resourceful DOP.


Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?


Not at all. It's something which came to me slowly over time. When I started my MA in documentary filmmaking, I didn't have any aspirations to be a director. I had always imagined I would work on other people's films. It's only in the past few months I've even begun to feel comfortable calling myself a filmmaker.


How important is the collaborative process for you? 


Really important. I love working with other people! I find self-shooting and self-editing very tough, and when possible, I'll avoid it...


How much has your approach to your work changed since your debut project?


I think for a while I was obsessed with this idea that if I wasn't personally undertaking every technical aspect of my film, it would somehow interfere with the "authenticity" of what I was trying to do. I have now got over this, thankfully. 


Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?


Tenacity is everything. Never give up!


What are you currently working on?


Currently, I'm working on a new short film which is being funded by the BFI. Watch this space!


And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your work?


From my work in general? I'm not sure too, I think it's early days for me to have a set vision or message for my work. But from Life In Miniature? A sense of delight!

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