KATHRYN FERGUSON

Interview by Niccolò Montanari


What led you to use film as way to convey your ideas?

Growing up I dreamed of being a photojournalist
but then became very enamoured by fashion.
These two interests lead me to undertake a degree course
at Central Saint Martins. 
While there, I began experimenting with fashion and film and starting to make very rudimentary films.
I never had a defined route, a lot of film career has been trial and error driven by a huge passion for storytelling.

A lot of your work is focused around creating a more positive representation of women, identity and diverse casting.
What inspired you to focus on this?

I worked for a film festival for many years
called "Birds Eye View Festival".
This festival celebrated films by female filmmakers and often featured women’s stories.
I was also very aware of the lack of diversity in advertising, music video, and of course fashion, and it infuriated me.
So to begin to challenge this, I began casting my films with the people I wanted to see regardless of whether it was the accepted fashion image or not. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face in your career?

The biggest challenges are often around casting as this is one of the most important aspects of my work.
I like to leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting the right people for my films,
this is quite a gruelling process but always worth it.

Your latest film, The Greatest Luxury, launched this week. Can you describe your creative journey from realising this concept to your final narrative?

The great thing when working with Selfridges is that they give you creative freedom.
It was a tougher brief than normal as luxury is such a loaded word so I was interested it’s emotional meaning. Once I had collated my thoughts I went about creating my vision for the film and I worked with the very brilliant Rhea Theirstein who’s work I’d admired from afar for a long time.
The next stage was casting.
I am a huge fan of Mykki, Holly and Gareth and I had wanted to interview each of them for a while so when this brief came up, they felt like the natural trio.
All live and breathe their work and in today's world with rising rents and young creatives being forced out of the most major cities, this is becoming more of a rarity and, dare I say it, a type of luxury.
I spoke to each of them pre-shoot then used their answers to weave together a world and a scenario for them to appear in.
I always like to feature people as they really are rather than project what I think they are onto them.
The house and the dance worked well as the threads that weaved everything together.

Out of the films you have directed, what is the film the you’re most attached to?

My film “Taking the Waters”,
it’s a new longer documentary of mine about wild sea swimmers and the redeeming qualities of swimming in cold water.
I made it at a point when I had just moved out of the city and next to the sea and the joy I felt was so heightened I had to translate it into a film.