April’s meeting began with our newly streamlined monthly notices where we heard about various opportunities and events open to us as WI members. This included information about the Denman College Trip priced at £255 for members and £295 for non-members. Also part of the new format are the notices posted outside the main meeting room with details about different spin-off group events, so remember to read them if you’re interested in joining up!
Then, after the usual – and very important – tea break, we sat down to hear from Barry Ryan, Head of Production at Sheffield’s very own Warp Films. With creations such as This is England, Four Lions and Submarine, members couldn’t wait to hear what Barry had to say.
Talking about the history of Warp Films, which began in a spare bedroom before graduating to the garage, we learned that Warp have now won seven Baftas, have made eighteen feature films and seven television series and even have one world record for the largest collective amount of zombies at a music festival! We were shown clips of Those in Peril, Warp’s first film to make it to Cannes and Southcliffe, a TV show which aired on Channel 4 last year.
With a number of exciting projects coming up, including feature film ’71 starring up-and-coming actor, Jack O’Connell and the next installment of the This is England television adaptation, Barry told us more about the average amount of time it takes to make a low-budget British film (210 days) and how difficult it was to get Jihadist comedy, Four Lions, off the ground.
Interestingly, Barry turned the subject onto how only 12% of directors and writers in the film industry are women, which prompted one of our members to ask if they could submit an unsolicited manuscript!
At the end of the talk, various hands shot up with questions such as how could we get involved as extras, how were certain special effects created and, with regards to the instrumentality of Brass Eye’s Chris Morris in aiding the success of one of Sheffield’s best exports, how significant relationships are within the film industry?
Eventually time ran out and the meeting had to end but members left feeling proud of Sheffield and its exports, aware of how it can stand on its own two strong feet, independent of the big city in the South. But members also left wondering how we, as the WI, can introduce and encourage more women into the fascinating industry that is the media?
Hannah Sutton, SHWI member