Recently promoted, Laura Esteban discusses what brought her to London and what made Hamlett Films the perfect match.
What actually brought you to filmmaking?
Film was very present during my childhood. On Saturdays we used to go to the cinema and in summer we used to watch a film from my mother’s VHS collection of classic films.
I started to freelance in Barcelona with a camera. Then I moved to London and directed the documentary ‘Daughters of the Sea’ about discrimination amongst fisherfolk which was selected for 14 festivals and received numerous awards. I haven’t looked back since.
Why is the position of Researcher at Hamlett films the perfect job for you?
I saw the job position advertised at Hamlett Films. I had never realised there might be a way to combine my passion for education and documentary. I couldn’t believe my luck.
What has been your biggest success and challenge so far as a Researcher?
A change of country has meant starting from the beginning for me. Adapting myself to a completely different industry and language has been an absolute challenge. Luckily the HF team has been incredibly supportive. Recently assisting on location across the UK on a fast turnaround on 12 careers films for BBC Bitesize has been challenging and fun.
What are the key elements for great video content these days?
I believe we are living in a society over-obsessed by image. We consume them in a frantic and ephemeral way, so audiences become jaded easily, even with amazing aesthetics. I frequently feel I am watching something beautiful, but empty.
That’s why I believe the preproduction and research processes are so important. They allow you to build consistent and playful storytelling that provokes its audience.
What other figure in the industry do you tend to look up to?
Laura Poitras, Carla Simon, Jonas Mekas, Alan Berliner, Nanni Moretti, Asif Kapadia,…
I really like their approach to the different realities they talk about, fiction or documentary. They are an absolute inspiration for me.
What determines cultural fit between yourself and the company?
I am committed to bringing about change by helping people with opportunities and education. I find projects like Hamlett Films’s mentoring project for Local Trust very inspiring. I was also delighted to work on topics like decolonisation of universities for The Open University’s Criminology Course – it completely opened my mind to different perspectives.
While living in Barcelona I had a great opportunity to work as a photography teacher for people with SEND. It was an amazing experience which gave me the pleasure of seeing how the students improved. It was priceless.
Give us a few words that would describe you the best?
Thinking outside of the box.
If you had known you would become an entrepreneur quite early on, what would you have told your 18 years-old self?
Believe more in yourself and trust your intuition.