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Meet the Member: Fran Broadhurst, Director

Updated: Apr 24




Fran is a filmmaker with credits spanning commercials, music videos, narrative and documentary shorts. Fascinated by colour, she creates work with a meticulous eye for detail and a glorious sense of the absurd.

 

Working as part of directing duo MATHY & FRAN, she has worked with brands such as Google, Amazon and Target and artists such as Anna Calvi, James Bay and Two Door Cinema Club, picking up awards and multiple Vimeo Staff Picks along the way. 

 

Mathy & Fran's short films have been supported by Film London and the British Council, and screened at festivals internationally. They're currently working on a slate of long-form projects, having developed their first feature script with support from Creative England and the BFI.


 

Q: Tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a director.  Did you always want to work in this industry?


Yes - I’ve always loved film, which is what I studied at University. Growing up, I was heavily influenced by Channel 4’s Mirrorball series on music video directors, and would daydream about making my own, but never really saw directing as an accessible career option - for one thing, all of my directing influences were male. It wasn’t until Mathy and I began working together after graduating that things clicked into place. We started co-writing and directing shorts and videos for friend’s bands, and then moved to London where I got my first proper ‘industry job’ joining the Development team at Working Title Films.


That was a steep learning curve that taught me a great deal about how the industry operates, and I was still making my own shorts which led to Mathy and I gaining representation as a directing duo. When I left Working Title, I was lucky enough to get hands-on features experience, working with Dan Mazer, and then continued to work freelance under the Mathy & Fran banner, with music videos naturally progressing into commercials work, which is where I’m now established as a director.


Q: What do you love about working in film?


I love my work for the way it continually introduces me to new people, and puts collaboration at the heart of everything. It’s always been a thrilling process for me to be able to get an idea out of my head and into the world in a way that allows others their own emotional connection to it. Cinemas are like sacred spaces to me, and remain one of the few, truly transformative places where I can put everything else aside. It’s those moments - watching a great film, or having the fortune to show my work to an audience - that has kept me inspired and motivated to stick with it time and again.





Q: What’s it like working alongside a creative partner?


Having someone you love and trust supporting you creatively, is a wonderful thing, and enormously motivating. It obviously comes with frustrations if we ever have a difference of opinion, and as we’re a couple in life as well as work, we’re careful not to let tensions spill over from the professional into the personal. 

 

In the early days, we never set boundaries for who did what - we just covered everything equally, to the point where we’d find ourselves doubling up on things like storyboards, just to ensure we were creatively aligned. As we’ve grown in confidence (and scale - we have two kids together these days) we’ve become much more time efficient, and one of us will often lead a project, knowing the trust is there to progress things in a way that allows us both to stay creatively engaged. We’re also recognising that we have areas of interest that differ to one another, so we’re exploring personal projects outside of the partnership - but it’s of great comfort to know that we can always come back to each other for encouragement and advice.



Above: Mathy & Fran


Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced?


Being a duo means we share an income, so we’ve had to get used to the inevitable peaks and troughs that come from freelance work. That’s especially challenging now we have kids, and there’s often juggling to do in terms of childcare. When the kids were very little we would bring them with us on set, or take them to recces and colour grades so that Mathy and I could both be in the room.  


I’m lucky that my job allowed that sort of flexibility, and that clients were largely supportive of it, but to be simultaneously wearing ‘mum’ and ‘director’ hats at work was something I found massively challenging, along with the expectation that I should be doing both equally well! I much prefer to keep some separation now, which can be hard when creative work is often something that happens in your head - and can be quite invisible to the kids - so my big challenge is usually making sure everyone is happy, and working out how much time to dedicate to each.


Q: What’s next for you?


Mathy & I have been enjoying working directly with brands, heading up their creative concepts, so we’re excited to do more of that sort of consultancy work, along with our usual directing of commercials and music vids. I’m also eager to pursue a route back into long form work, and Mathy & I are developing our own slate of features and documentary projects that we’re seeking producers and actors to partner up with.

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