Magazine article Screen International

Joanna Hogg Remembers Gayle Griffiths

Magazine article Screen International

Joanna Hogg Remembers Gayle Griffiths

Article excerpt

I am writing this is in one of my beloved Moleskin notebooks. Gayle gave me a stack of them in different colours after we finished shooting Exhibition. A perfect message to keep on writing. I haven't used them all up yet but every time I write in one now, it will be tinged with sadness.

She was a rock and many times it was wonderful to lean on her. She gave me permission to dive headlong into difficult subject matter. No territory was too dark or too challenging for her. On the contrary she relished darkness – she would coax and cajole me to go further and deeper and always understand the time it takes to do this. We were mining together and any success for the films has to do with Gayle's encouragement and tenacity. She physically produced the films out of me.

She courted me for many months before I agreed to collaborate with her on Archipelago. I know I tried to put her off- mostly down to my ability to self sabotage - but she wouldn't be dissuaded. She had seen my first film Unrelated and had responded to the story of a childless woman.

Although married, Gayle hadn't had children herself and we had that in common. She was continually attracted to challenging subject matter and to filmmakers prepared to take risks. Emily Young with Kiss of Life, Josh Appignanesi with Song of Songs and Sally El Hosaini with My Brother The Devil, were all in their different ways pushing the cinematic form.

Of course any producer/director relationship is an intense one, especially during the making of a film. It wasn't always easy but even when we fought we always managed to bounce back quickly. That robustness was a rare thing, I know it was, and it strengthened our working relationship. I want to say many things to Gayle. I hope she knew how special she was and how much, certainly in my own work, she supported and enabled me to travel deep into my own fears and emotions.

There is a lot I never knew about her. She was an intensely private person who preferred not to reveal much about her own life. I respected this and our relationship was formed more around the films we were making together and the subject matter we were grappling with. I got to know and understand her by her response to the ideas and the emotional terrain being discovered in the films. …

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