an inspiringly creative new music video director who has been described as “original, exciting and downright weird”
Minna Attala had a chat with Prano about her work so far
What made you decide to become a director?
I studied performing arts after leaving school and originally thought I wanted to go into acting. I realized through the course that performing wasn’t totally for me – I didn’t feel fluent in adopting different characters, although I was a confident performer; I was best just being me. I became really interested in directing and in the overview and vision of productions. Then I started using film within the theatre work because it gave me more control, I suppose, of the audiences’ point of view, the locations and so on. I became pretty obsessed with filmmaking, again, for the level of control you have and the detail you can go into with things like sound and atmosphere; I found it more sculpted than theatre. From then I was committed to film and wanted to direct, because I’m a control freak (laughs).
So far, in your directing career, what do you feel is your greatest achievement?
When you work creatively each thing often leads to the next, so I couldn’t necessarily isolate and say that one thing is ‘the best’, plus I like all of my work for different reasons. My latest short film for example is probably my most grown up piece of work yet – it’s all development, experience, learning. I think the piece that got me the most exposure by elevating me, getting me signed and winning awards and attention was a music video called ‘House’ for the band Cool Fun. It got me signed with Gas & Electric, who represent me for music videos and commercials. It’s also won eight awards and has led me to be on the jury for the UK Music Video Awards and the European Independent Film Festival, so that’s obviously been a great success. There are other things I’ve worked on though that have got me recognized in other areas such as ‘Short Lease’, a short film I co-directed with Jennifer Eiss, that got us a fair amount of attention in the horror world and won a few awards too. We’re planning to make ‘Short Lease’ available online soon, so keep an eye out for it.
When you were studying and starting out in the industry did you aspire to work in music videos?
When I was studying I was much more interested in making fiction, features or drama. In fact, at university I remember a teacher telling us that we wouldn’t all go on to direct feature films and that if we were offered a role directing ‘The Bill’ in the future we would most likely end up snapping it up. I suppose she was trying to express the realities of the industry to this class of fresh, wide-eyed students. We all sniggered at the idea of working on TV programmes like that, probably imagining that we’d go out and start making feature films straight away – and some people do – but the majority of people have a journey to that point. The stepping-stone to making features is often short films and getting funding even for these can be difficult; more and more people are crowd funding nowadays. But with music videos I guess I saw an opportunity to work on a professional level, with a supplied budget. I also find music videos a really creative medium where you’re often free to be quite abstract with the form. My first music video came out of the blue, but since then I’d always had them on my mind – I was keen to get representation – it became something I strove for, and I got it. Now that I’m in that loop I find myself hoping for interesting artists to work with, because good music really helps to make good music videos!
Where do you see your career taking you in the future?
I’m developing a few ideas for feature films at the moment and have a couple of short films in the pipeline too, both very different to each other. I’m kind of greedy though – I want to do everything! I’d like to keep making more music videos and hopefully on a bigger scale – I’ve got loads of ideas up my sleeve for when the right tracks and budgets come along – I want to work with musicians who I find really inspiring. I’d love to make some fashion films too, which I think will happen soon. I wouldn’t say no to doing TV dramas either… but ultimately feature films are the goal, always have been, always will be…