Meet a Member: Chantal Feliu
What is your background in filmmaking?
After a couple of years organising events in Barcelona, I came across the Leonardo da Vinci EU funded programme focused on training and regional co-operation in North Wales. I spent eight unforgettable months with Knew Productions that awakened my vocation for audio-visual communication and documentary production. When I returned to Spain, I worked as a camera operator and video editor for Barcelona Television until the economic crisis came. Then, I contacted the University of Staffordshire to pursue an international career in documentary filmmaking.
In 2009, I landed in the UK because I wanted to work with professionals from the oldest national broadcasting organisation in the world, the BBC. What I found was a hierarchical work structure with fierce competition. According to the BBC, each year around 100,000 people apply for internships with them and less than 3% get it. However, with a lot of patience and determination, in 2015, I got a placement at BBC Birmingham, an experience where I made every opportunity count.
Through these years and thanks to The Producers' Forum’s advice and support I have been involved in amazing short films with Stickleback Productions. During the ‘Get My Film to the Market’ workshop, I had the pleasure to learn from people who have a wealth of experience. This led me to an Assistant Producer role for an exciting documentary Rothley, Slavery and Mewith Candy Arts CIC.
In January 2018, I attended a Creative Skillset funded event organised by The Producers’ Forum. The Dramatic Beginnings Boot camp not only extended my knowledge about the High-End TV Trainee Finder Application process for 2018/2019 but was also a great chance for someone like me who is looking a way into the industry.
What inspires you?
Several years after I gained a BA (Hons) in Film, Television and Radio, I studied for a Masters in Broadcast Journalism at Staffordshire University, graduating in 2016. Since then, I have focused mainly on the filming and editing of promotional, corporate and documentary films, recently producing one for a regional museum accessible via https://vimeo.com/196951952
I have been doing some freelance MCR work after finishing a three-month internship at the Online Post Production Department for TVF Media in London. During this time I have developed new skills: quality control of the image and audio; encoding of media and ensuring that British television broadcast standards are met, including titles and subtitles for different programs and clients around the world.
With the political instability in Catalonia, Spain and Brexit negotiations, I would like to continue being part of projects that are keen to enrich the lives of individuals, transform communities and improve societies, rather than fighting for its borders. Maybe that's why I have prepared myself thoroughly and I can look to working anywhere in the world as long as I am making documentaries!
Whilst I have a genuine interest in documentary style of filmmaking, in October 2017 I assisted the DIT and Camera departments on set for the British Sign Language Broadcasting Trust sci-fi 28min TV drama Reverberations.
I am proud to give support to Screen Northants, a social enterprise that uses the film industry to promote Northampton, directing workshops for disadvantaged youth and producing films in the region. We are entering week 4 of 5, where I have been assisting the Lighting department on set for their BBC Children in Need film, a modern urban Macbeth.
The film is looking great and after that, who knows? My intent is to build on that experience/exposure and keep pushing to the next level.
What would you recommend to someone who wants to try his or her luck in the film and TV industries?
The first step is to believe in yourself. One of the best tips I learnt from The Producers' Forum was not to wait to achieve the job of your dreams. Find a job that allows you to pay bills at the end of the month and use the spare time to live doing what you really love.
Secondly, take your time and do not despair. Hanging around for enough time, people will get to know you and trust you. Freelancers working in the creative industries in the UK lose an average of £5,394 each year through working for free or feeling undervalued, according to the Guardian Small Business Network. While flexibility and patience are important, the ability to negotiate and lead conversations is also essential. Show initiative, enthusiasm and common sense and the rest will come sooner or later.