(Left of image Amanda Posey & Right of image Nick Hornby)AP: As Nick is my husband the ‘pitching’ relationship is not the same as with a writer who isn’t at home every night! In the case of Brooklyn, it was Finola bringing him the book; but in many cases Nick floats an idea, or emails me and Finola a link to story or article, or he recommends a book. We’ve been much more circumspect about adapting his books for screen and since Fever Pitch have largely avoided it (with the exception of A Long Way Down). It’s more complicated because he’s both involved and not involved (as he’s not adapting and doesn’t want to adapt his own books - as memoir Fever Pitch was a different beast). We both prefer to work properly together with him as screenwriter on new projects. NFF: There's been lots of media discussion recently around the lack of diversity in film - how have you seen this from your time being in the film business? Do you feel there is still a lot more that needs to be done to help diversity in the film world? AP: It’s about widening the number and variety of voices contributing stories. How we do that is tricky but an awareness is a big start. We as producers need to actively look for these stories, and development financiers need to support them. NFF: I always enjoy hearing about how it all started, and I was wondering how it all began for you – was producing always something you wanted to pursue? And whilst working in the early days of your career in film did you have any mentors who influenced your decision to become a film producer? AP: I did a lot of theatre at university - there was next to no film happening at university at that time - and as I got more interested in film there, I assumed I’d want to direct as I wanted to be across the whole project, that’s how it was in theatre. It was on my first film job - working for Stephen Woolley - that I got to see how creative and integral the producer’s role is that I realised that was both where I wanted to be and something that suited my skill set much more than directing. When a director friend brought me Fever Pitch (it was early days of its hard back release but already gaining a cult following) and it turned out Nick wanted to write it, I took it to Stephen who I was working for this time in development. He didn’t know the director and of course Nick was an unproven screenwriter, but he said - you believe in them, you should do it yourself. That faith - and later his and Nik Powell’s support when they came on board as exec producers on the film - gave me the impetus to take my first step, set up a company (Wildgaze Films even then) and option the book! And now we’ve just finished working alongside each other producing WE HAPPY FEW (aka THEIR FINEST HOUR & A HALF) so it’s been a happy turn of events. NFF: You have an incredible working relationship with long-time producer Fionla Dwyer. How did you both meet? And how did Wildgaze Films come about? AP: We both came into contact with each other working with Stephen - so I have that to thank him for too - Finola was producing BACKBEAT with him at the time. We shared an office on a number of projects working alongside rather than actually WITH each other, and then started working more closely on her Scala projects, and once we went independent we decided to share an office, an assistant and overheads… It was only a matter of time I suppose that we then started working together, knowing each other really well and each other’s skills and temperament: An Education was our first joint project and we were Oscar nominated so it was quite a nice kick off!
(Left of the image Amanda Posey & Right of the image Fionla Dwyer)NFF: What would you advise for up and coming producers, how do you think they can get on the ladder of becoming a producer? AP: Working with a producer, assisting a producer/in a production company is the very best place to learn it all - seeing it all from that vantage point is incredibly educational. Alongside that, producing your own short/s also gives you the hands on learning you need. ON the other hand, Finola came from being an editor, so there are a few different ways to approach it. NFF: Can you tell our readers a little more about your next project? AP: We Happy Few is set in London in the Blitz, about a small team making a Ministry of Information film against the odds, and the female screenwriter at the centre of it (Gemma Arterton), and she’s ably supported by Bill Nighy and Sam Caflin (amongst a lovely best of British cast). Is very witty, moving and a delight to watch. Anyone who loves movies will revel in it! NFF: Finally, The Norwich Film Festival focuses on short films, how important do you think the process of short film development is for filmmakers wanting to get onto the ladder of feature productions? and do you have any additional advice for filmmakers out there? AP: As I said above, making a short is something you really have to get under your belt - only by actually working at the cliff face, however ‘small’, will you learn certain things about your capabilities and how you like to approach the process, from financing to casting to post production. Interview by Craig Higgins (Norwich Film Festival Co-Director)