A mysterious and disturbing suburban narrative about a listless young mother who is torn between family duty and self-serving fantasies.
Congratulations on having your film Scrubber selected by the Sundance Film Festival for the International Narrative Shorts category! How do you see this film fitting into your development and career as a cinematographer, and what attracted you to it?
I always try to do projects that I find interesting or will give me a new challenge but primarily what attracts me to a project are the script and the director. In the case of Scrubber I found the story very interesting and liked the direction Romola [Garai] wanted to take the film in and what she wanted to say with it. So I was excited to have the opportunity to shoot the project and work with her, having enjoyed her work as an actor for many years.
Trying to avoid cliche with this question, I'd like to know your thoughts on being a woman within such a male-dominated field (not just film, but specifically cinematography). Is there a strong female cinematographer presence in England, or are you hooked into the field in another way that connects you with other women DPs?
There’s not an especially strong female cinematographer presence in the UK but I do know several fantastic female DP’s who I trained with at the NFTS [National Film and Television School in England], as well as several amazing female DP’s that have gone before me and who have helped paved the way, so I think with time there will be more females working in this role. I always enjoy connecting with other DP’s as what we do is quite specific so it’s great to share that experience regardless of gender. And whilst I recognise as a female I am not in the majority working in this area, I choose to focus on my work and do the best I can as an individual.
WATCH a clip of Scrubber on Kate Reid's website:
When I decide to work on a film I have usually already meet with the director to discuss the project and how we both see it and whether our ideas gel and we could work well together as people and also with the material.
The first time I read a script is really important, as it is this emotional or gut response that informs how I see the film. Obviously when I meet with the director to discuss the project and potentially working together we talk about how we see the film and I try and understand what the director wants to convey. So it is a combination of this gut response to the script and the conversations I have around the material with the director, that then shape the visual language of the film we create together and the frame work through which we approach the story. But essentially it comes from a feeling, and when I visualise something in my mind’s eye whether this feels right for the story we are wanting to tell.
There are several night scenes in Scrubber which required careful planning in the timing of when we shot them, to make them work on a limited budget which couldn’t allow for cherry pickers and large HMI’s. Additionally shooting handheld on a 35mm camera in a small car was physically quite tricky!
Scrubber screens again on January 23 in Park City and on January 24 at the Sundance Resort as part of Shorts Program 1. Read more about the film and see the screening schedule in the Sundance Festival Program.
Kate Reid works as a cinematographer shooting fiction, documentary and commercials in the UK and overseas. Her work has been screened in international festivals including Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand and Sao Paulo. Alongside shooting numerous award-winning short films, her feature credits as DP include Blooded (dir. Ed Boase, 2011), Having You (dir. Sam Hoare, 2012) starring Anna Friel and Romola Garai, and Pathe’s Africa United (dir. Debs Paterson, 2010), on which she worked as 2nd Unit DP. Kate studied at the UK’s National Film and Television School having worked in the UK film industry as a camera assistant prior to this.