Featured Female Filmmaker – Part 30

30 Amazing Women & Counting

Featured Filmmaker 30! It such a momentous occasion to have featured this many fantastic filmmakers on the blog and so for this post we’re showcasing a director with two varying film projects to talk about. I asked Hannah Brooke what made her want to become a film director and I think it’s best if I let her explain in her own words:

The truth is I have always been a dreamer. I have never settled for most people’s version of reality. And I don’t mean that in a negative or condescending way, I just always knew my mind worked a little deeper and I lived within my thoughts more than I lived in reality. As an adult, I have realised more and more that we create our own limitations. As a young adult I read a book called Yes Man by Danny Wallace… something clicked in me and I decided to say yes to as many opportunities that I could and to create my own opportunities by working hard for them, despite how far they take me outside of my comfort zone. This lead me into the film industry (and also brought me to the name that I will release my films under – YesGirl Productions). I found my way onto professional film and TV sets wandering around in the background, drinking coffee, even a couple of featured roles. I loved watching how it all happened. I remember my mum saying to me as a child “only boring people get bored” and it made me giggle to hear so many of the extras group complaining about the waiting around when I was sat there watching, listening, trying to absorb as much as I could dreading the moment they wrapped us.”

I saw an advert for extras for an independent zombie film being made in Melbourne and, as a yes girl, I decided to apply. This was absolutely a turning point in my adult life. I was inspired by the way people didn’t wait for funding, or for access to the big professional equipment, or for it to be made “easy”, they just did it anyway. I worked on a few independent crews as well as taking on some bigger supporting acting roles and after a short while I became inspired enough… and brave enough… to start thinking about writing something myself. I continued to work on independent crews and getting myself onto professional sets as often as I could so I could learn. I watched how director’s directed, how DOPs set up shots, how actors performed, the terminology they used, how it was all pulled together. The moment I called action on my very first scene we shot I knew directing was something I was going to fall head over heels in love with. And I have loved seeing my vision come to life ever since!

Hannah’s two productions Day Forty Five an apocalyptic action drama that follows two characters as they take on a final mission before they join the rest of the population living in the new Quadrants, and Dreamer Ballerina a modern drama about following your dreams despite what those closest to you might say, are both very different in their styles but still explore the idea of new forms of reality. “The idea for Day Forty Five sort of hit me in the face while I was working at my day job.” Hannah explained, “I wrote Day Forty Five over 3 weeks. Before I knew it I had completed my first full feature script. That in itself was a moment I was immensely proud of.

3 more drafts later and Day Forty Five was ready to be shot. With only a slight amount of pushback from men regarding the genre of the film and Hannah’s gender as director she soon realised that she could in fact direct an action/sci-fi and the feedback on rough edits was coming back positive. “I can’t explain how amazing it is to see something that came from your own mind happening in 3D right in front of you” Hannah exclaimed, “And I can’t not mention the thing that I “wasn’t telling anyone” (but yet here I am), because I’m truely excited by it… One of the producers from The Walking Dead has seen a couple of the scenes from Day Forty Five. Regardless of whether that opens any doors or absolutely nothing comes from it THE PRODUCER FROM THE WALKING DEAD HAS SEEN SOME OF THE SCENES FROM MY FILM! (Read that in excited squeal voice)

Dreamer Ballerina came about in a moment with a friend at brunch whilst discussing ideas for projects. “I first had a visual of a dusty floor and someone in ballet shoes walking and moving around it. I felt excited anticipation, a moment of belief after the feeling of defeat through the feet of the person that they belonged to.” Hannah said, “That was the seed and after brunch I went straight home to start writing. I completed the script the same day. I definitely drew from experience for this script.

Not only does Hannah have multiple projects on the go but she also has multiple roles within the projects; directing, producing, writing, and even starring in the films. I asked about what some of the hardest parts were about having to juggle so many roles at once. “Probably the hardest part is to keep the belief in yourself that you *can* do it.” Hannah said, “That and the amount of work that is involved in taking on all of these roles! I’m never one to shy away from hard work but I have definitely realised how important the support of a solid team and good communication is.

The aim for both Dreamer Ballerina and Day Forty Five is to enter them into festivals once complete, but the ultimate goal is just for as many people as possible to see them and for Hannah to keep learning and growing every step of the way. “I have a t-shirt that has written on it ‘Women will change the world’ and I genuinely believe that. Fear of failing is absolutely normal, I have that feeling often, but as long as your drive to succeed and to grow is stronger you’ll always come out of the other side either more knowledgable and more experienced, with something you’re truely proud of, or quite often both!” Hannah said, “Never stop learning, never stop putting yourself forward to work on other people’s projects, put yourself outside of your comfort zone as often as possible, and never stop sharing your story with others.


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