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Film Journalist Hanna Ines Flint Discusses Interviewing Stellan Skarsgård, The First Film Club and Her Time in Nottingham

13 September 21 interview: Frieda Wignall

Screen journalist Hanna Ines Flint has had an enviable career since graduating from the University of Nottingham with a degree in English and American Studies in 2009. This time, she experiences some role reversal as she answers our questions about the film industry and her career path

What’s your top film recommendation for a fresher settling into university?
Legally Blonde. I love that film. It’s a great shout for someone who’s starting somewhere new, might not feel like they fit in, might feel like they’re not smart or serious enough. I think the film tells you that who you are is exactly what makes you a success and you shouldn’t have to change. 

Any favourite experiences from your time in Nottingham?
So many! I had the best three years at Nottingham. In my final year I was captain of the basketball team when we got Team of the Year and were promoted to the premiership. Playing for the university team gave me a whole group of girls who were amazing and great fun. 

What would you tell your university aged-self?
I would say don’t restrict yourself in thinking you have it all mapped out, because this is just a period to learn about yourself and the world and really work out what you want to do. You’re not supposed to have all the answers yet. 

Was media and journalism always the plan?
Originally, I wanted to do fashion journalism. I saw How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and thought, ‘Ooh, that sounds fun.’ But I did a work placement during one summer at a fashion magazine and I spent the whole time in a cupboard organising clothes. Media was definitely the goal, but my idea of what I could do definitely expanded as I grew up and got into the field. 

Who has been your most interesting interviewee?
Stellan Skarsgård. I interviewed him for The Painted Bird. That movie is four hours of pain - I do not recommend it! But I really enjoyed speaking to him, because he had a really dirty sense of humour. I was laughing so much the whole time.

Any advice for young creatives and writers, especially those of colour?
As someone who’s half-Tunisian, being able to find places where I can promote Arab, Middle Eastern and North African cinema is quite meaningful to me. I’ve been able to understand myself through my work and writing - but also don’t let your identity limit what you’re able to write about. I can write about The Man Who Sold His Skin, the Tunisian Oscars entry, as much as I can write about The Suicide Squad. You should be able to write about anything. Equally, if you want to write about your identity and feel like you have something to say: don’t stop, especially if you have something worth hearing.

I feel very privileged, very lucky, but I also know that I’ve worked really hard to get to this point

You co-founded The First Film Club. Tell us a bit about that.
It’s an event series that brings together a community to celebrate film and usher through emerging talent. We screen an established filmmaker’s directorial debut paired with an emerging filmmaker and bring them together to have a discussion afterward. The last screening was with Gurinder Chadha just before the first lockdown where we screened Bhaji on the Beach. It’s just a really informative and entertaining way to build a connection between everyone in the film community.  

You’re also a co-chair of the Time’s Up UK Critics Committee. What needs to change in the industry four years on from the #MeToo movement and what do you hope to achieve on the committee?
Time’s Up isn’t just about achieving a safe space for women. It’s also about fair pay and fair opportunities. One of the things we’ve been working on is empowering our members, most of whom are freelancers, to have the confidence to negotiate for fair pay. We’ve partnered with the National Union of Journalists, the British Film Institute and Sundance. We organise Zoom meetings so people can have a space to share advice, network and just to vent. One of the things we learnt from MeToo was strength in numbers. That’s what the committee is about - a communal effort to empower the individual. 

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
It’s not one thing, it’s more that I can do this career as a living. I’m now at a point where I’m writing for the outlets I used to read. My dad has read Empire since the first issue, so to now be writing for them is massive. I feel very privileged, very lucky, but I also know that I’ve worked really hard to get to this point. I hope that anyone who wants to venture into this field feels empowered to know that it’s not always going to be a straight path, but even a winding road can get you to where you want to be if you’re willing to put in the effort.

flintonfilm.com
@hannaflint

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