Emily: A Piece of Me

Anne Hollowday

1) How did you get into directing?
I never set out to direct. Photography was one of my first passions and then people told me I was good at writing so I did that for a while before I landed at a production company producing documentary style branded content pieces. I got a tremendous amount of creative autonomy there from the beginning as it was a very small company and after a few years of doing everything from writing treatments, pitches, scripts to leading shoots and directing edits, I realized I was directing and that I’d found this thing I’m really into.

2) What is your most recent project?
I’ve just wrapped shooting a branded content piece for a telecoms company and am working on the edit now. I’m also prepping for another big personal project - a series of short commercials about losing yourself to a moment—that I’ll be releasing late summer. I like to do at least one big personal project a year, there’s nothing like putting your all into something that’s entirely your vision and seeing it come to life.

3) What is the best part of being a director?
I love immersing myself in a topic, idea or story for a month or two and becoming a weird sort of short-term expert on it. The restless part of me is always kind of sad I didn’t become a physicist or an engineer or a philosopher so having this job means I get to be all of those things and many more in rotation which is very cool. I’ll be out at dinner with friends and start all these strange conversations about things like communications networks and high frequency financial trading and amateur astronomy and historical engineering societies and people are like, what are you talking about?

5) What is your current career focus: commercials & branded content, TV, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre—comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
Professionally I’m focusing on documentaries, branded content and commercials. I’m fascinated by people so the sweet spot for me is projects that allow me to explore the incredible stories of everyday people. That said, I’ve found that my visual side is increasingly dreaming up scenarios and stories that I can’t find a place for in my documentary work so I’m writing a couple of fiction scripts and doing at least one fiction project this year. I think the two feed each other. My documentary work has always been very cinematically led which I think creates an interesting dialogue between the audience, the filmmaker and the subject.

8) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man. For me the best art creates a mood that you connect with viscerally and emotionally. Everything about that film—the music, the cinematography, the performances, the ideas it engages with—all combine to create something so incredibly powerful I can’t fail to be moved by it every time I watch it. On the commercial side I loved Kim Gehrig’s “This Girl Can” spots for Sport England recently. They display a real sense of camaraderie between women that we don’t see enough of in advertising.

9) Tell us about your background.
I’m British and grew up in and around London making dens and visiting museums almost every weekend. I moved to the US last year. Previously I’ve worked as a music writer and in science policy at the UK’s Government Office for Science before settling into filmmaking and photography. I love creating work inspired by a sense of endeavor, adventure and self-expression which is usually sourced through travel. Spending time away traveling whether its on the road, in nature or somewhere exotic is so enriching not just personally but to my work as well. The dream for me is to be able to mix work and travel, discovering hidden gems, incredible stories and beautiful places along the way.