DAVID reviews

11 January 2018

Young French director Fanny Hoetzeneder joins Knucklehead.

by Jason Stone


Knucklehead have high hopes for their latest signing, young French director Fanny Hoetzeneder... and having spoken to her, DAVID understands why.

With an Austrian father, a French mother and a British step-father, Hoetzeneder had the benefit of a wide range of cultural influences as she grew up in a very quiet, very Catholic town called Belleville in the middle of the French countryside.

During the course of an entertaining conversation last month, it emerged that - as she's been living in London since she was eighteen - she already knows that English people find her first name hilarious, and there's nothing wrong with eating the occasional Scotch Egg.

So what of that early move to London? It must have been quite an adventure for a young woman from rural France? "It certainly was. There's a definitely a longing for something bigger because of where I grew up. There is a danger that you only have the mindset of the people you are with.

"Going to London... it's this explosion of amazing stuff. I'd never even been in a pub before. So, yeah, London was really, really exciting."

She studied at London College of Communication in Elephant and Castle but suffered a setback when - after completing her foundation year - she had her application to do a BA rejected. But it gave her a chance to show her mettle: "I was really upset and I asked myself: 'What am I going to do?'" She opted for stubornness: "I appealed to every single tutor and finally I was granted another interview... and somehow managed to get back in."

Hoetzeneder hadn't much enjoyed her foundation year which may, of course, have played a part in their decision to initially reject her so how did she rate the three years studying film for her BA? Aside from the opportunity to familiarise herself with a wide variety of equipment, what she most gained from her time at LCC was the relationships she formed with fellow students: "The people I met on my course was the most valuable aspect... many are still friends now." And they were also collaborators on her film projects.

She emerged with a degree and very little understanding of film-making's structures: "I didn't know what a production company is or what a creative researcher does. [At LCC] they really concentrate on the dream of being a filmmaker without really showing you how to get there."

Her graduation film was 'Belleville' (above) which she describes in terms which suggest it was an act of absolution: "It was a way of saying that I was okay about growing up in Belleville because, although it was very restrictive, it was also very inspiring."

I appealed to every single tutor and finally I was granted another interview... and somehow managed to get back in.

Fanny Hoetzeneder   


Belleville was heavily influenced by the work of photographer Gregory Crewdson: "He does amazing wide landscapes and very weird themes of half-naked women in the middle of suburban America" and this informed the film visually but what she really wanted to convey was "this constant cycle of not moving anywhere but just getting older."

Her graduation film opened some real doors for her, it was premiered at the BFI and was picked up for a number of festivals, and - better sill - led to an opportunity to co-direct a film for Ray-Ban (above).

She connected with Knucklehead when she applied for a job as a creative researcher... having finally found out what this role entails after leaving university!

Her secret plan was to impress them enough to gain a place on the roster but, even though her scheming has paid off, she says the real value in the experience came from the opportunity to learn from directors like Siri Bunford and Finn McGough while helping them with their projects.

She has also gained a lot of insights into the process of pitching, and between her searing ambition, her sensible absorption of knowledge, and the support of a nurturing production company, we expect to be hearing more from Fanny Hoetzeneder over the coming years.

To learn more about Fanny Hoetzeneder, contact Leonie Ellis on 020 7292 7950 or via email at leonie@knucklehead.co.uk.

David Reviews is hand-crafted by Lovely Lenzie Ltd, 7 Seven Sisters, Lenzie, Glasgow, G66 3AW. Editor: Jason Stone. Phone: 0141 776 7766. E-mail: jason@davidreviews.com.