What is your name? Kate Villevoye
How old are you? 28
Where do you live? London
Where are you from? Breda, the Netherlands
The last creation your eyes landed on. This brilliant animated short by Claudius Gentinetta.
We are at the start of a new decade, the 2020s.
What were you doing at the start of the last decade, in 2010? How old were you, where were you, how did you feel about your life and your future?
I was 18 and just started studying film at university. I remember leaving for the UK with a feeling of "Nothing is impossible! The world is your oyster", totally supported by my parents - being their fifth and last child, they've really let me be happy-go-lucky, I feel. And then reality hit. Ha! It's been an overwhelming decade in which I walked down many different paths, but I'm so happy I did. A lot of learning by a lot of doing.
What are your hopes and fears for this new decade?
I really hope that some of the crucial realisations we are collectively coming to during this pandemic will stick. Personally, sometimes I do feel defeatist looking at the bigger picture, skeptical about whether I can ever really help make any substantial changes - but to be honest, I have a lot of faith in the younger generation. They're more informed and better organised than ever. They might just save us all.
"I have a lot of faith in the younger generation. They're more informed and better organised than ever. They might just save us all."
What I love the most about living in London is ironically both the people as well as the anonymity. I don't care how cliche it sounds, there are so many different kinds of people to get to know in this city and I really love that London truly feels like it belongs to anyone and everyone. At the same time, the city is so big that I can easily dance my way down the walkways of the underground without anyone looking at me strangely. It made me feel lonely in the beginning, but now it's absolutely my favourite thing.
Could you tell us a bit about your transition from working in-house as a filmmaker to working freelance?
Between 2015 and 2019 I worked full-time at i-D Magazine and Dazed and Confused; a very exciting period in which I learned an incredible amount about the craft of filmmaking, how to consistently cater to an audience, and all of the production-heavy stuff that goes into making a film. I love that both platforms really trust their staff and give them lots of responsibility. The first film I got to oversee for i-D was about rave culture in Kiev: I think I was petrified on my way there, and exuberant on the flight home. But the most important things I learnt throughout these years overall, in hindsight, was about what I like and what I don't like, and what I thought were important films to make, and which ones were not.
More and more I felt that the films I was making were great, but that if sign-off was up to me entirely, there's things I would have done differently. That's when I realised my take on filmmaking was not entirely the same as the platforms I was making them for, so I decided I should take the leap and make space in my life to bring those ideas into fruition.
What were the trade-offs and what are the benefits? The trade-off is obviously stability in income, especially when you suddenly have a pandemic hit the economy. And also, having a community constantly around you to interact with and feel part of. The first six months of freelancing felt funny in that way - no one to report to, no one to double check your work and your processes. But I'm getting the hang of it and starting to love the freedom that comes with freelancing. I actually think the pandemic has helped me with that, in finding more comfort in working from home and planning my days just how I want them. And when I'm feeling too isolated, I share work in progress with friends and just open the conversation up so I don't get too bogged down.
So, let’s talk about your documentary ‘Marina’. A beautiful film with an insightful subject. 16mm aesthetic paradise with piercing words from 13-year-old Marina. How did reaching out to Marina go? Was there any reluctance or was it a very welcome collaboration?
I stumbled across Marina's Youtube channel one evening and loved how earnestly she was sharing all of her life with the viewers, as if the videos were diary entries. I felt like she was sharing such an interesting insight into what it is like to come of age blind today - so I reached out to see if she was interested in working on something together. She was very excited.
Start-to-finish, how long does a project like this take?
About a year start to finish - a few months in pre-production and finding the right shoot dates, and after filming another 6 months. I was learning how to edit during the post-production of this project, it took me longer than what I usually imagine it to take.
I see on your website that you had festivals you were meant to attend. I assume Covid-19 has led to them all being cancelled or postponed? I was supposed to have a film showing at the Chronic Youth Festival at the Barbican, which has been postponed until further notice.
What is the festival experience like as a film-maker? A highlight in your calendar? Albeit slightly overwhelming, festivals are incredible experiences - I always discover new makers and get tons and tons of new energy and inspiration to go out and make more films.
"I actually love bringing in friends who aren't active in a creative industry on a project, or get them to share feedback. I think film is accessible enough for that and I like making use of that."
Your friends, are they also in the industry? Yes and no. I have made some great friends in my years active in the industry, but most of my closest friends I've met elsewhere. I actually love bringing in friends who aren't active in a creative industry on a project, or get them to share feedback. I think film is accessible enough for that and I like making use of that.
What creators, also operating in 2020, are you loving right now? A big mix of all kinds of things: the podcast Radiolab is always up there; Tiny Desk Concerts for perfect 15-minute musical breaks; and I'm loving the work of cinematographer Diana Olifirova. I'm also always excited to see what filmmaker Roxy Rezvany is creating.
Who is soundtracking your 2020? There are many different songs in rotation right now; I'll give you 3 of my favourite recent tracks: Chega Mais - Rita Lee, Hungboo - Peggy Gou and The Barrel - Aldous Harding.