David Reviews

 Biting the hand that feeds us since 2002.

ANDREA KAPOS DRAWS ON DARK ENERGY

Andrea Kapos has joined Matt Brown's band of merry directors at Dark Energy and we caught up with the two of them a little while ago in a Soho cafť.

Since it was the day after the 'Free the Bid' event at the LSE, our conversation inevitably drifted towards the lack of opportunities for female directors. But mainly we discussed Andrea Kapos's path to her current position and her ambitions for the future.

Andrea Kapos started off as a runner at BFCS - a powerhouse in film production during the 1990s - where she was continually obliged to turn down the opportunity to become a production assistant to avoid being steered by her well-meaning bosses towards a career as a producer.

Although her resolve was tested by the chance to earn a lot more money, she really wanted to direct and when one of the established directors dropped out of a £5k pop promo project, she was asked if she'd be willing to step into his shoes.

One opportunity led to another: "It was a dingy old music video and then they had a dingy old charity commercial so they asked me to do that as well. And then they signed me as a director."


Just 22 years old, she thought it was "really terrible" that she was only getting a job every three months! How things have changed.

She felt she needed to be doing more and learning more so she moved to BBC Broadcast as a trainee. While she was there she learned how to write because creative training was part of the process too.


If you're available, you can do it and they just think of you as a director. You're a story-teller.

 ”

And she was still getting repeat work from her stint at BFCS, which she was able to bring into BBC Broadcast/Red Bee so she had the best of both worlds.

She was there for eight years and became part of the team that helped to put Red Bee Media - as it became - on the map.

Best of all, there was no pigeon-holing: "The brilliant thing about 'broadcast' as a starting place is that you'll do whatever scripts there are... if you're available, you can do it and they just think of you as a director. You're a story-teller and you don't have to be in a particular kind of pocket to do it.... I got to do loads of different types of stuff."


This was part of an overall progressiveness within the organisation. Drawing a comparison with remarks made at the 'Free the Bid' event by Chaka Sobhani - now at Leo Burnett but once of ITV Creative - Kapos said she was never made to "feel her femaleness" during her time with the BBC.


I don't think you need a big voice, you just need to be able to communicate.

 ”

Part of the discussion around the 'free the bid' initiative has formed around the idea that men are naturally more authoritative than women and have a more commanding physical presence.

Andrea Kapos is tiny. Does she feel this has been an added barrier? "I just have a very different [film] set. I do things in a completely different way. I have a very quiet set. I don't ike shouty 1st ADs. I don't raise my voice. I don't think you need a big voice, you just need to be able to communicate. It's actually about the quality of your communication... that's what translates to good work."


A documentary-style film for CBeebies which won a number of awards prompted Red Bee to make Kapos their resident child-wrangler and she became something of a specialist.

It wasn't something that troubled her: "I'm not complaining about that. I love kids and I do find them incredibly entertaining. And I think I do have the right approach."

Becoming a mum five years ago hasn't really influenced her work but - picking up on a theme at the 'Free the Bid' event - she recalls being quite anxious about how others would treat her: "I did that thing where I disguised the fact that I was pregnant. I wore big clothes at the meetings and always sat down very quickly. I was really nervous the first time I came into Soho." It worried her that there would be a shift in people's perceptions of her capability if they saw her with a baby.

After Red Bee, Kapos set up a company called Think. Make. Create. with fellow BBC alumni Marcus Jones and Jacquie Beaumont and pursued a directing career both as a freelancer and with Another Film Company.

One of the benefits of having worked somewhere like Red Bee is that the people who've come away from it are involved in a wide sphere of different activities and Kapos doesn't want to limit her opportunities.

This makes Andrea Kapos a perfect fit for the highly pragmatic approach taken by Matt Brown and his company Dark Energy and their collaboration looks set to be hugely fruitful.

For more on Andrea Kapos, draw a deep breath and call Matt Brown on 07976 257 431 or email him: mattbrown@darkenergyfilms.com.

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David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.