Spotlight

Wendy Mitchell

We're anticipating an exciting new year as Wendy Mitchell joins the Film team from her current position as Editor of Screen International. Having previously been Managing Editor of IndieWire, Assistant Editor at Rolling Stone, and Assoc. Editor at Time Inc, Wendy has also written for the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, Playboy, Glamour, Salon and Billboard, among many others. A huge fan of UK film, Wendy will be looking after our Festival Selector screenings programme - and working with international colleagues to produce a range of innovative programmes.

Wendy Mitchell

What’s your connection to the British Council?
I’m about to start as a Film Programme Manager, on a one-year maternity cover for Rachel Robey. I’m stepping down from my current post as editor of Screen International and will be freelance writing and editing for Screen alongside the British Council post – hopefully the best of both worlds. I’m thrilled to be joining the British Council because Screen has teamed with them on some special projects recently including a Cannes roundtable and a Stars of Tomorrow dinner during the LFF, and I know what great work they do supporting filmmakers.

What are you currently working on?
First up will be figuring out where to sit when I start my first day of the job on January 5, and reading Rachel’s amazing handover notes before that. In February, I’m looking forward to going to the Berlin Film Festival with the Film team – I’ve been to Berlin about eight times before but usually stuck in an office editing Screen International dailies, so I’m excited to see the festival from a slightly different perspective.

What has been your career high so far?
When I got to meet Oprah and interview her on stage to talk about The Butler. She’s the queen of interviewers yet I was the one asking her questions. She was every bit as amazing as I expected her to be, both onstage and off. It was even better than meeting Lassie in LA a few years ago (I’m a sucker for a dog film). More mundane but still thrilling is watching any film in the Palais Des Festivals during the Cannes Film Festival. When that amazing music (The Carnival of the Animals: Aquarium) cues up and you get the sense you’re in a holy place of film history about to watch an important piece of work that nobody has seen before. It always makes me feel lucky, even if I’m struggling to stay awake at an 8:30 am screening.

What was your first job in the film industry?
After writing about the music industry for several years, I joined the indie film publication indieWIRE in New York in 2001. And have been writing about the film industry ever since.

What is your favourite British film? Why?
You can’t ask a film lover to pick a single favourite! For a classic I’d say Kes or Blow-Up; more recent faves include Sightseers, Bright Star and Shame. From this past year, ’71 and Paddington.

If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be? Why?
I’d have love to have been on set for Thomas Vinterberg’s Festen. Not just for roaming around that estate, but for seeing a young filmmakering pushing cinematic language with Dogme 95 while also telling an emotional story.

What’s your favourite line or scene from a film? Why?
I get goosebumps in the final scene of Lost in Translation when Bill Murray whispers into Scarlett Johansson’s ear. We’ll never know what he said which makes it all the better.

Who would play you in the film about your life? Why?
I think Reese Witherspoon would have the right amount of Southern sass! (I grew up in North Carolina). Or Sheridan Smith if I’m pretending to be English.