May 3 2023
Briony Hanson - British Council's Director of Film
Episode 10 of the F-Rated podcast features a conversation with Briony Hanson, the British Council's Director of Film. Holly Tarquini, the founder of the F Rating, hosts the episode solo since her colleague Anu Anand is away. Briony Hanson's impressive background includes directing the Script Factory Training Organisation, heading Tyneside Cinema and the BFI Programme Unit, co-programming London's LGBTIA Plus Film Festival, chairing BAFTA's original debut award jury, and being a critic for BBC Radio 4's Front Row and Saturday Review shows.Briony describes her role at the British Council, which is the UK's cultural relations organisation. The council aims to build trust between the people of the UK and people around the world, using various tools, including the arts. As the Director of the Film Team, Briony's job involves championing UK filmmakers on a global stage and promoting the diversity and breadth of UK film beyond the stereotypical representation. She also encourages the UK film community to have an international outlook and seeks collaborations and inspiration from the global film industry. The British Council works closely with international film festivals, bringing them to the UK and showcasing UK features.During the discussion, Holly and Briony touch upon the perception of film as the "poor cousin" in the arts world, where other art forms like poetry often receive more public funding and support. However, Briony emphasises the power of film as a tool for cultural relations, capable of reaching and engaging audiences who may not typically engage with other art forms. Film can entertain, educate, inform, and challenge, allowing for a broader exploration of different perspectives and breaking stereotypes associated with the UK.The conversation also delves into the F-Rating, which Holly founded in 2014 to highlight films directed and/or written by women. They discuss the underrepresentation of women, especially women of colour, in the film industry and the need for change. Briony shares her observations of the increasing presence of women filmmakers, but acknowledges that there is still work to be done, particularly in promoting intersectionality in film, including the voices of women of colour and those from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.The podcast episode concludes with a discussion on the impact of significant events such as Brexit, Covid-19, the murder of George Floyd, and the war in Ukraine. These events have had profound effects on the film industry and organisations like the British Council, prompting a need for adaptation and a greater focus on intersectional support.Overall, the episode provides insights into Briony Hanson's role as the British Council's Director of Film, the importance of film in cultural relations, the progress made in promoting women filmmakers, and the ongoing challenges of intersectionality in the film industry.