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Cannes Profiles: Meet Catherine Bray

May 18, 2013

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Photograph by Amy Binns ©

I’m here in Cannes for the 66th Film Festival as a runner for Picturehouse Cinemas. During my time I’ll be meeting up with several industry heads to get an insight into the Film business and to hear what film they’re looking forward to most at the festival.

I had a chat with Catherine Bray, editor of film4.com.

Amy Binns: How would you describe what you do?

Catherine Bray: The main aspect of what I do is present Film4 which is a TV channel, developer and funder of film and an independent editorial outlet. But it’s a varied world, because on top of that I also do a lot of freelance on the side. Film4 is my 9-5 and freelance work happens in the weekends and evenings. It’s pretty non-stop. But for me, it is really important to keep variety there.

AB: How did you get into the industry?

CB: My first job at 21 was staff writer on Hotdog magazine, which came after doing a few internships. When I was doing my English degree, the holiday before finals, I did an internship at Virgin Books in their publicity department. The experience I got there confirmed that I might want to work in books, but that I wasn’t that interested in publicity. So over the summer holidays I interned for a month with The Observer which was great, although it didn’t lead to a full time job. That’s when I went off and did an internship for Hotdog. While I was there, their staff writer quit. They were reasonably impressed with what I’d done, so they offered me an interview for the job and I got it. It was good timing! As I mentioned, I’ve always done freelance whatever my main job has been. While working there I was also freelancing for Channel4 on the side, writing articles for their 4Talent site. This meant when Hotdog went under I was able to ask 4Talent if they had any jobs going, and then I got a full time job there.

AB: What advice would you give to someone trying to get their foot in the door?

CB: Never write to anyone saying ‘I want a job in the media, can you give me advice?’. Be more specific. It doesn’t matter if you write different letters to different  people one saying ‘I really want to work as a doc reviewer, can you tell me about how you got into book reviewing?’ or ‘I want to run Channel 5 on demand service, can you tell me about how you got into that?’. Just be particular, otherwise they haven’t got a lot to go on. You’ll get back from them something really vague. Phrases like, ‘be true to yourself’, ‘keep working hard at it’ and ‘you’ll get there’. That’s not really advice. The person you are writing to needs to have at least a sense of what you are interested in.

AB: Which film are you looking forward to seeing most at the Festival and why?

CB: I’ve just written a feature on the top 5 must see films in competition, and I put the Nicolas Winding Refn film ONLY GOD FORGIVES as number one. Although, since I’d started writing the article I finished reading Behind the Candelabra, the book on which Steven Soderbergh’s film starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon is based. I have to say, it is really edging up in my chart. Based on reading the book, I can only imagine it is going to be spectacular.

AB: What film do you predict to be the talk of Cannes this year?

CB: Again, I really feel like BEHIND THE CANDELABRA is kicking up a lot of heat for Michael Douglas’ performance. He would be a really interesting, flashy Hollywood choice of best actor. But it is so hard to tell. I have also heard the British films are extraodinary, Paul Wright’s FOR THOSE IN PERIL in Critic’s Week and Clio Barnard’s THE SELFISH GIANT in Director’s Fortnight both sound incredible.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul Binns permalink
    May 18, 2013 12:35 pm

    Excellent, Amy. x

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