Our very own Stefan Pape sat down with her to talk about her work with BAFTA, how she got into the industry and what advice she would give to budding new TV and radio presenters out there. They also talk about movies that were missing from the 2013 BAFTA Awards, what she loves and what she’s most looking forward to in the world of cinema coming up in 2013. Finally Stefan asks about being interviewing huge Hollywood celebrities, being star struck and her favourite interviews.
The interview is broken into two parts with part one looking more towards BAFTA and the movies that Edith both enjoyed and should have had more recognition. Part 2 looks more towards the British film industry in general, how to get into film journalism and some of her favourite movie interviews.
The interview was conducted at the Sanderson Hotel in London (@SandersonLDN).
HeyUGuys: Of course you’ve done lots of work with BAFTA in the past, I wonder how you first came to be involved with them?
Edith Bowman: They do this great online content leading up to the awards themselves, they got me involved in that way and then also doing the side of stage as all the winners come off which is utterly terrifying but exhilarating as well. You get them in this real unique state of mind where they’re normally in a little bit of awe and surprised and excited about the fact they’ve just picked up a BAFTA.
So when you’ve done these side of stage interviews have you ever had a crier?
I’ve not had anyone crying but you get people who are speechless. I remember Cary Mulligan, she just didn’t know what to say. It was very sweet because Colin Firth was there as well. It’s kind of like having a protective big brother arm around her trying to make her feel more relaxed. No criers but never say never guess.
In terms of the 2013 BAFTA nominations, are there any glaring omissions, anything you wish should have been nominated?
In terms of getting more recognition, I wish Sightseers had gotten a bit more recognition. I think it’s a great film, it touches and highlights a certain British sense of humour. I think Ben’s [Wheatley] just a real talent who again I’m excited to see where he goes next. Being able to go on radio and talk about that and really promote those things that aren’t getting attention because they’re aren’t big blockbusters and don’t have huge names attached to them, for me that’s a really important part of my job.
Of course there’s only one British film in the [BAFTA] Best Film category which is Les Mis. Do you think that is an issue or is it fair that you just reward the best films no matter where they’re from?
It’s hard isn’t it because how do you class a British film? You’re never going to have every element of that film British but you see the success and the attention that British film gets at other film awards, Berlin, Venice or Toronto and there’s a real kind of attraction to see what’s coming out of Britain. I think as well that British film is stepping outside of what people except from it. We’re known for doing quite gritty, depressing indie films as well and in terms of where Tom Hooper has taken things on the flipside of that a film like The Imposter has done so well around those festivals.
You look at someone like Steve McQueen, how his career has grown through just those few films from Hunger to his next one which I cannot wait to see (12 Years a slave).
It’s got an amazing cast, that one.
Five of my favourite actors in the world are all in it.
It’s insane, I’d love to sit down for an hour with him and delve into that mind and see what’s in there.
You’re very much at the top of your profession. What do you think is the best way for younger people to get into film journalism ?
My advice would be if you’re doing something, whether you’re still at university or doing work experience at a radio station is just try and involve it in what you’re doing. Whether it’s offering to write reviews for your local student magazine or for the radio station or whatever. It’s just that kind of there where you’ve just got to do it, and then try and get it to people. It’s that thing where knowledge is power in making sure you know what you’re talking about rather than just trying to blag it as well, is another important thing to do.
When I started doing radio, I borderline stocked the controller into giving me work experience and it paid off ‘cos he gave me a weeks work experience and I lived and breathed at that radio station for the week and got asked back to come and do weekend work and things like that. Get involved, get in touch and offer up your services. No one else is going to champion you apart from yourself.
You mentioned just before about being star struck, do you ever go into an interview just being star struck?
Most of the time, today! I did Paul Rudd a couple of weeks ago who’s just one of those again consistent funny actors who…. I Love You Man, is such a silly but brilliant film you know. “Slappin da bass”! He’s always been around, whether it’s Anchorman or whatever and me saying I’m a film fan is genuine! I’m sat there going “Good god it’s Paul Rudd!” I have to take a deep breath and slightly step over that complete geek in me.
I also like being surprised by things by things. Kind of going in there going “oh, it’s going to be a bit like this”, you can’t help but have those preconceptions about the types of films, the people in them, the people that are making them.
In terms of big actor names and those who have surprised me, Leonardo Di Caprio. I was blown away by how into what he does he is. A name of that stature. You know what it’s like, you have these junkets where there’s five publicists in the room, you got two and a half minutes with them. He walked into the room, on his own, sat down, he was engaging, eye contact, really wanting to have a conversation and I absolutely loved it. I’m dreaming of my next Leonardo encounter… and also the moment that I get to interview Ryan Gosling….. that will happen!