Interview with Documentary Filmmaker Anne Hollowday

Anne Hollowday makes mini documentaries about makers. A common theme she hits on is that a life spent making things and fixing things is incredibly satisfying. It’s a message that really resonates with me. I was interested in her projects and wanted to learn more and luckily she agreed to a short interview. You can find more about Hollowday on her Vimeo, Twitter and at The Makers of Things.

Tell me about the inception of your documentary series. How did it come about?

I started the series after meeting the Society of Model and Experimental Engineers (SMEE) entirely by chance. I went along to the London Model Engineering Exhibition on a whim because I thought it sounded interesting and met a whole bunch of incredible makers there but SMEE were super approachable, had an amazing breadth of work on display and were really open about sharing their projects and bringing people in. I met a bus driver turned hobby engineer, a professional model maker for films and television and a woodworker and just felt there was a bigger story to tell. So a short film about some people I met at an event turned into a pitch for a longer documentary which eventually spun out into a series of 4 films when I received funding to develop the idea.

What is it about makers that drew your attention?

I guess I always knew that there'd be a bunch of people somewhere who made low energy heating and hot water systems for their homes or theremins for their grandsons or carved furniture from trees in their back gardens but I had no idea how to find them. As I said, SMEE were so friendly and open about their skills and very eager to share those with people in a very broad way. Your entry point can be anywhere and I loved that. They don't require you to know particular tools or have a passion for steam engines of the 1890s for example. I thought there was something very universal in that passion for making and creating that made them each who they are, but also ties them together as a community and I wanted to capture that and show other people that this world exists and they can be part of it too.

What have you learned from meeting and filming these people?

That a lifetime of making is the best, most satisfying and most fulfilling way to exist. 

Are you working on more? What's next?

I would love to make more and have some plans to. I'm also interested in making a series that captures people making things today that could be like the people in The Makers of Things in 30-40 years time. I'm also dabbling with a couple of short fiction pieces too - lately a few ideas have felt too fully formed in my mind to just exist in the documentary world so I'm excited to see how that turns out.