Get to know: Natasha Wilson, Film Hub Midlands Talent Exec

New Midlands Talent Exec and Paddington fan Natasha Wilson reflects on her decade in Wales, returning to where she grew up, and her appreciation for Bong Joon-ho.

23 December 2021

What made you want to work in film?

I have been obsessed with film and cinemas for as long as I can remember. While I was fascinated by filmmaking growing up in the West Midlands it never felt like it was a real possibility. I was incredibly lucky that my love of film kept tugging at the corner of my career path until I eventually decided that I needed to properly take the plunge. Film is so unique in its ability to tell stories to audiences in such an accessible and exciting way. Ensuring that people with great ideas and the aspiration to create film can do that is incredibly important to me. 

 

If you could recommend one film to an aspiring filmmaker, what would it be?

I recently saw Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria and have been thinking about it ever since. I think I loved it but I can’t quite be sure. I think that is part of what makes it a great film. I can see it being a little Marmite-y when it is released widely but there is such confidence in its slow, quiet approach and hugely cinematic style that it makes for an incredibly beautiful film and a lesson in stepping back from fast narrative and dialogue, embracing visual storytelling and allowing cinema to breathe.

What are you most excited about for your new role?

After working in Wales for the last ten years, I’m really excited to be heading back to the Midlands and getting to work with emerging filmmakers there. I know first-hand the feeling that film wasn’t a feasible or realistic career for me, but it definitely has been, and I can’t wait to support Midlands filmmakers with taking steps to making those big screen ambitions a reality.

 

What advice would you give to a filmmaker whose project has been rejected?

While I absolutely don’t see a rejection as a failure, I was taught quite early in my career to make sure that if I feel like I’ve failed to always “fail forward”. That means taking a brief pause to think about feedback and what I’ve learnt from the experience and how I can use it to fuel my next steps or seek what I need to next time be successful. Also, don’t give up – a project rejection is never a rejection forever or for everything!

 

If you could make one change to the film industry, what would it be?

Breaking down barriers with more transparency in hiring practices and the wider sharing of opportunities. If I’m being cheeky though, I’m requesting two changes (although it ties into the other issue) and removing the expectation to work for free to “build experience”. It economically excludes so many people from pursuing a career in the industry and perpetuates the same types of voices being the loudest.

 

Who is a filmmaker that has really inspired you?

It feels incredibly mainstream to say but I’ve felt really inspired watching the career of Bong Joon-ho over the last few years and how it felt like such a huge shift in attitudes of “mainstream’ cinema when Parasite was released and won the Academy Award. That journey from struggling to get films recognised outside of South Korea and the festival circuit, to becoming the first title not in the English language to win the Best Picture Oscar, felt like a huge moment. Hopefully that shift hasn’t been dampened by the difficult time the industry has had since then. His ability to create cross-genre films while remaining loyal to social and political commentary in a deliciously darkly comedic way has always been beautiful and it is always exciting to see what will create next.

 

What would you say is the biggest challenge that emerging filmmakers are facing today?

The lack of financial security for emerging filmmakers during the time needed to produce and develop creative work is a huge challenge. We are inevitably losing promising emerging filmmakers to other industries with more security and it is disproportionately impacting those already with barriers to accessing the industry.

 

What is the key to a great collaboration?

Being open about your own strengths and weaknesses both as individuals and a team, knowing when to ask to advice and then listening to your collaborators or supporting their development as you learn from each other.

 

What makes a perfect pitch?

Being confident in the foundations of your film and its story, as well as the considerations for the genre you are working in and who the audiences of your work will be. The detail can come later but hooking in whoever you are talking to with a strong concept and idea will help to ensure that they will want to continue the conversation and get those details later.

 

What’s your favourite line from a film?

“If we’re kind and polite, the world will be right.” The world always needs more Paddington!