Producer April Kelley is the founder of Mini Productions, the latest recipient of our Raising Films Ribbon.
Ahead of going into production on two short films – DO THIS FOR ME and JUST IN CASE – April talked to Raising Films about the working practices herself and her business partner Sara Huxley, have put in place in order to build a supportive infrastructure to help meet the needs of the parents (and a soon-to-be parent) who make up the crew across both productions. Over to April…
“Due to the nature of short film financing, weʼre unfortunately unable to give direct financial support to cover childcare for the parents on our crew, so instead we prioritise working around their schedules. This covers all aspects, everything from prep and meetings, to the shoot, to the post-production deadlines. It’s all been built around the parents. The key to doing this is flexibility, which we have in abundance!
“We never expect anyone to source paid child-care for the sake of the project so we scheduled a lot of our prep back in October during the hours of 11am – 3pm. We also work in the evening but only when that suits and works around family commitments. We’re also building in a parent-friendly approach to our post-production schedule.
Doing pre-production work on DO THIS FOR ME
Weʼll wait until heʼs back from paternity leave to continue the project with him.
“For example, Marnie, one of our directors, is the mother of an 11 year-old girl and a 14 year-old boy and we were conscious of Marnie’s schedule with her children when they were able to attend school and also the logistics of home-schooling when they weren’t. We also respected the challenges Marnie’s children may be experiencing as they embark on their teenage years, especially given the past year of lockdowns and living through various tiers and how that might impact on Marnie’s physical and mental availability. We met virtually with Marnie roughly one evening a week around family mealtimes and the needs of her children.
“Our other director, Kirsty, is the mother of a toddler and a new born, so we schedule our meetings around her children’s bedtimes, feeds and everything else in between, if this means Kirsty (or any other crew member) can only speak at 8pm then we speak at 8pm.
“Adam, our Colourist on both films, is expecting a baby at the end of February. So if, for example, the edit only gets blocked mid-February, we won’t replace him. Weʼll wait until heʼs back from paternity leave to continue the project with him.
Doing pre-production work on JUST IN CASE
DO THIS FOR ME and JUST IN CASE are produced by Mini Productions and Finite Film and TV.
Parents on the crew include:
Amy Gardner (Producer – Finite Film and TV)
Marnie Baxter (Director – DO THIS FOR ME)
Kirsty Robinson-Ward (Director – JUST IN CASE)
Franklin Dow (Cinematographer – DO THIS FOR ME)
Catherine Myers (Location Manager – DO THIS FOR ME and JUST IN CASE)
Philip Glenister (Actor – JUST IN CASE)
Josh Robinson-Ward (Sound Recordist – JUST IN CASE)
Jeanna Mortimer (Editor – JUST IN CASE)
Father-to-be Adam Stannard (Colourist – DO THIS FOR ME and JUST IN CASE)
Marnie Baxter previously wrote about her experiences of motherhood and filmmaking for Raising Films. Read Marnie’s piece on BAD MOTHER – her “excellently unsettling directorial debut” according to Mark Kermode.
Kirsty Robinson-Ward took part in our Making It Possible development programme in 2019 and has also written for Raising Films. Read Kirsty’s piece on ‘Fighting the inner battle and carving out time’
Founded in 2012, Mini Productions is a multi-award-winning production company, which at its core believes in the power of storytelling and the magic that lies behind escaping reality and diving into the world of another. Mini Productions’ debut feature ROSE: A LOVE STORY premiered at BFI London Film Festival and has been nominated for the Raindance Discovery Award at the BIFAs. Mini Productions eclectic collection of short films have screened all around the world, with many available to watch on Amazon Prime including EDITH and TREACLE.
Header image: April and Sara from Mini Productions, additional imagery of pre-production courtesy of Kirsty Robinson-Ward