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After our Wakeley Women portraiture shoot, captured by the talented Laura Bailey and styled by Cathy Kasterine, Amanda was joined by Greta Bellamacina, Poet, Actress and Filmmaker, for a conversation about what led her on her journey...
Read the full interview below.
Greta Bellamacina, is a British poet, actor and filmmaker.
Amanda: Tell me a little bit about your journey from childhood to where you are now?
Greta: Growing up I did a lot of theatre acting and got my first film role at 14. I immediately felt most free when performing, it allowed me to be inventive and complicated. Writing until that point was something I did privately, but performing was when words came alive. I went on to study acting at RADA for a year before doing a BA in English at King’s College London. Slowly my poetry started to get published and I found a community of poets who gave me the confidence to keep writing. Simultaneously acting and collaborating on my own film projects. It’s been a very organic process of creating what feels most important at the time.
Amanda: How old were you when you wrote your first poem?
Greta: I was about ten years old. I would be consistently underlining words that I liked the sound of in books. I liked the quiet riot of writing. I would spend hours closely observing the structures of a leaf or a flower and wonder about all of its parts. I’ve always been fascinated with the secret world of nature and how much we need it to understand ourselves. I think that’s what I wrote about first.
Amanda: And what led you to filmmaking?
Greta: I love the idea of creating your own dystopian world. Especially in film, I realised that the collaboration is like the structure of a poem- the cinematography, the set design, the music, the costume…Last summer I directed my first fiction feature Hurt By Paradise, which is now just about to have its first screenings at film festivals, and I found the whole filmmaking experience really enlightening because I learned a lot from the crew and we tried to empower the technical people and give them creative input, really make it collaborative - you have a whole new understanding of the process that way. I think it goes back to my fascination with wanting to understand the structure of things and how you make something feel most familiar and new at the same time.
Amanda: How old were you when you made your documentary?
Greta: I was 24 years old and pregnant with my first son Lorca. I was really disheartened at the time about the decline of British public libraries. I went to my local library nearly every day growing up. It gave me a place to dream and develop new ideas. I went to a school in London where a lot of people couldn’t necessarily afford to have the luxury of space and time to learn. I saw how the library changed people’s lives, it gave them hope. I initially was going to make a short film, but the deeper I got into the history the more I learnt about the situation across Britain, the more I felt compelled to show what was going on.
Amanda: What is your favourite poem?
Greta: Winter Trees by Sylvia Plath and Lovesong by Ted Hughes
Amanda: What are you reading right now?
Greta: Robert Lundquist After Mozart (Heroin On 5th Street) and Nadja by Andre Breton.
Amanda: What’s your favourite thing in your closet right now?
Greta: I think it’s my new big-brimmed sunhat which is the perfect cinematic Riviera shape. I’m packing it for our trip to Cannes as we speak. We’re taking my film to Cannes this year, but we’re also taking the kids, so we can have a little family holiday in between the film stuff.