#77: Grace Bridger & Runyararo Mapfumo, Producer & Writer/Director

I spoke to Grace Bridger and Runyararo Mapfumo who are a producer / director duo that work together under the banner DessyMak films and have made a number of short films through that company. They have their own careers separately and we talk about both of them, but that producer-director relationship is such a unique thing and so I was keen to ask them about how they formed that bond and what their journey together has been like!

Their short film MASTERPIECE premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in 2017 and was selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick. Grace then went on to develop and produce DAWN IN THE DARK, written and directed by Runyararo, which was supported by BBC Films and BFI NETWORK and which premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2019 and has also been selected for festivals such as Encounters Film Festival, Underwire Festival and the Norwich Film Festival. Grace then produced Runyararo's BBC and Google Arts commissioned short SENSATIONAL SIMMY which was released and broadcast on BBC and BBC iPlayer and then Grace developed and secured funding from Uncertain Kingdom for Runyararo's documentary WHAT'S IN A NAME? which was released as part of an anthology of films aiming to provide a portrait of contemporary UK.

Grace is originally from Perth in Australia, and has most recently worked on a number of films with producer Tracy O’Riordan at Moonspun Films; as a Production Secretary on Clio Barnard’s Ali & Ava, and then as a Producer’s Assistant and Assistant Producer, working in post-production on Hong Khaou’s Monsoon.

As well as continuing to work with Runyararo, Grace is also currently working with Producer Fiona Lamptey as Post Production Supervisor on four Sci-Fi short films supported by Film4.

Meanwhile Runyararo is currently developing her debut feature film and has recently finished directing block 2 of Netflix’s Sex Education, Season 3.

We talk about their respective career paths, setting up their own production company, the learning curves along the way and how they’ve supported each other, we also chat about making shorts, transitioning to bigger projects, making career pivots and asking stupid questions.

This is episode 77 of Best Girl Grip.