Image of Filmmaker Frankie Shaftain-Fenner

A bit about her...

Frankie Shaftain-Fenner is a filmmaker based in Essex, UK. She specialises in producing short documentary films and promotional videos. Frankie is used to collaborating with a range of creative businesses, charities and artists. Whether it's street interviews, studio shoots or out on location, Frankie has operated in almost every area of video production.Her large skill set and knowledge of film production allows her to take projects from the initial ideas, storyboarding and scripting stage in pre-production, all the way through to filming, sound recording, colour correction and subtitling the final finished work in post-production.Frankie graduated with a 2:1 in Digital Film Production (BA Hons) from the University of Suffolk and were featured as a student profile in the University prospectus.Specialising in film during her UAL Art Foundation Diploma, she achieved a Distinction for her coursework and final project, a 20 minute documentary about unused buildings in their home town of Colchester, featuring interviews with local historians and an MP.Frankie has worked with clients including Cancer Research, Firstsite art gallery, St Botolph's Church and St Elizabeth's Hospice on a range of promotional films and documentaries.Frankie has been featured in a film for LGBTQIA+ charity Mermaids, celebrating Pride Month. The video featured Frankie among other members of the LGBTQIA+ community and is available to watch here.Equipment she uses includes: Canon 800D, Sony FS5 II, Blackmagic Design URSA Mini Pro, Sennheiser G4 Radio Mics, Zoom F8n sound mixer, Zoom H4n, Zoom H1n, ATEM Mini Pro ISO, DJI Ronin-S Gimbal, Dedolight 150W Kit.Software she uses includes: DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop.To discuss your project, please send an email to frankiesfenner@gmail.com

Mehdi Jalalaghdamian: Art In Exile exhibition

Skills: Photography, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop
Format: Press photography
Client: Firstsite art gallery, Colchester | Firstsite.uk

Premise:
Mehdi Jalalaghdamian is an Iranian rug maker currently seeking asylum in the UK. Mehdi draws attention to the experiences of asylum seekers and refugees worldwide through the traditional craft of Persian rug making. All of the images that make up in the largest rug are from Mehdi's lived experience and photography featured in newspapers and press around the world.
Work:
Photographing Mehdi himself as well as members of staff handing the rugs featured in the exhibition Mehdi Jalalaghdamian: Art In Exile. Photos were for use in press material, such as local newspapers and the Firstsite website, to promote the exhibition. I colour corrected the images in Adobe Lightroom and exported as high-quality JPGs.
Challenges:
I needed to capture a range of images of both the artist and the rugs themselves for the Gazette newspaper to publish. The main challenge here was taking a variation of photos so that the press could select images that they liked the most.
I was most happy with the image of Mehdi with his arms crossed in front of the main rug - this was the main image used by the newspaper and I was very happy with how it came out, considering the quick turnaround for taking, editing and sending off these photos and also the limited lighting available in the gallery space.
I shot the photo with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 as the limited lighting in the gallery space meant the image was too dark and grainy with my normal zoom lens.
Equipment/software used:
Canon 800D
Canon 50mm lens
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop

Holiday Fun at Firstsite

Skills: Photography, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop
Format: Event/press photography
Client: Firstsite art gallery, Colchester | Firstsite.uk

Premise:
Holiday Fun summer events at Firstsite include sport and movement activities, art workshops and lunch. The sessions are free for families that receive free school meals, or those that require additional support during the school holidays.
Work:
Photographing the range of activities available at Holday Fun, including the sport and movement activities, art workshops and food. Images were for use in press material, such as local newspapers and the Firstsite website, to promote the Holiday Fun events to families. I colour corrected the images in Adobe Lightroom and exported as high-quality JPGs.
Challenges:
Some of the activities, like sport and movement, are very fast paced so I had to respond quickly to ensure I got a range of photographs. We had around 20 minutes to photograph some of the activities, so I had to shoot a range of images in that time.
Equipment/software used:
Canon 800D
Canon EF-S 18-135mm lens
Canon 50mm lens
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop

Simon Carter and Jevan Watkins Jones: Shore Lines exhibition

Skills: Photography, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop
Format: Press photography
Client: Firstsite art gallery, Colchester | Firstsite.uk

Artwork credits:
Installation view, Simon Carter and Jevan Watkins Jones: Shore Lines, Firstsite, 2022. Photographs by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.

Premise:
Artists Simon and Jevan present their new exhibition at Firstsite art gallery, a collection of large scale charcoal drawings inspired by their shared experience of the Essex and Suffolk coastline.
Work:
Photographing both artists in front of their artworks for press usage, along with images of them 'rotating' the artworks, which happened half way though the exhibition, to show a different perspective, as the artworks were created with each artist positioned on opposite sides of the paper.
Challenges:
The artists are very busy people and were only around for 10 minutes for me to capture these images, so I had to direct the artists to capture a range of images that the marketing team would select their favorite image from for press materials.
Equipment/software used:
Canon 800D
Canon EF-S 18-135mm lens
Canon 50mm lens
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop

Home Grown festival, Young Art Kommunity

Skills: Photography, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop
Format: Event photography
Client: Firstsite art gallery, Colchester | Firstsite.uk

Premise:
For their Fest en Fest Youth event, Home Grown, Firstsite gallery's Young Art Kommunity (YAK) worked with local artists Daniel & Clara, Wyrd Flora and CLiP.
A series of participatory performances and workshops took place on 11th June 2022 in Colchester town centre, all based on themes of nature and sustainability.
Work:
Capturing a range of photographs that showed the artist talks, foraging walks, painting with natural inks and other art activities available for members of the general public to try out at this one-day event.
Challenges:
Having a lot of members of the public around meant that I had to keep a mental note of who I was allowed to photograph and I did not have any assistance on this occasion with the consent forms, so a lot of my time was getting people to fill them in, rather than taking photos. Luckily, the event was taking place all day so I had plenty of time to capture everything and most people were more than happy to be featured in any photography of the event.
Equipment/software used:
Canon 800D
Canon EF-S 18-135mm lens
Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop

Siren Festival

Skills: Editor, Photographer, Camera Operator
Format: Event photography
Client: Siren Festival | Sirencalling.org

Premise:Siren Festival was curated by 16-25 year-olds from all backgrounds and abilities, who ran three livestreams broadcast from Suffolk to YouTube and Facebook. These streams featured live music performances, pre-recorded video content and talk-show style discussions of environmental issues effecting the youth of today.
The streams covered subjects including vegan recipes, reusable bottles, foraging, reusable soap, plastic-free packaging, upcycling clothes and reducing water consumption.
Work:I took on a range of roles, including editing many of the pre-recorded segments that were played throughout the livestream, operating cameras during the livestream and photographing the event and speakers. There was three livestreams in a 'talk show' style with pre-recorded video segments.Challenges:We were on location in a remote village, so the internet connection was not ideal for the streams. However, we streamed in lover resolution and a lower bitrate to counteract this, so the stream was still watchable and not buffering. It was also incredibly hot and hard to see the monitors in the bright sun light, though we managed to move the camera gear into the shade so that nothing would overheat.Equipment/software used:Sony FS5 II
Canon 800D
ATEM Mini Pro ISO
OBS

Film Showreel

A one-minute showreel which showcases Frankie's skills in filmmaking.With many of these projects, Frankie was the sole producer of the film, taking the project from the initial idea all the way through production from the inital ideas or script, to the final finished product.Artwork credits:'Deaf for 4'33''' (2022) Chisato Minamimura. Installation view, WAIWAV (We Are Invisible We Are Visible) performance, Firstsite. Videography by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.Installation view, The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion, Firstsite, Colchester. Artworks © The Singh Twins. Videography by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.Keep Being Amazing, Words by a Firstsite Holiday Fun Family, Design by Morag Myerscough, Firstsite, Colchester. Videography by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.Michael Landy, Essex Man (after Collet), 2021. Based on an original drawing by Edward Collet. Installation view, Michael Landy’s 'Welcome to Essex', Firstsite, 2021. Videography by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.The Essex Way (2021) Michael Landy. Installation view, Michael Landy’s 'Welcome to Essex', Firstsite, 2021. Videography by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.'Our Family Album' (2021) Harold Offeh. Installation view, 'Keep Being Amazing', Firstsite, 2021. Videography by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.'Untitled' charcoal on paper, (2021) Simon Carter and Jevan Watkins Jones. Installation view, 'Shore Lines' Firstsite, 2021. Videography by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner.

Denis Wirth-Miller: Landscapes and Beasts exhibition

Skills: Director, Director of Photography, Editor, Colourist
Format: Documentary, 5 mins, 2022
Client: Firstsite art gallery, Colchester | Firstsite.uk

Below: Denis Wirth-Miller: Landscapes and Beasts exhibition trailer

Premise:Film for Firstsite art gallery about the Denis Wirth-Miller: Landscapes and Beasts exhibition. The exhibition features work by Denis, Francis Bacon and Richard ('Dicky') Chopping. Denis' work is largely a collection of landcapes, captured around Wivenhoe, local to Firstsite in Colchester. Richard is well known for illustrating the original covers of Ian Fleming's James Bond books. Richard and Denis were partners and were close friends with Francis Bacon, an artist whose work has found much more popularity and monetary value in the art word. Denis and Francis both inspired each other's work and this exhibition aims to highlight Denis, whose work has mostly gone un-noticed.Work:I filmed an interview with James Birch, author of Bacon in Moscow, and owner of a collection of Bacon artworks. James was close friends with Denis, Richard and Francis and so could share some interesting stories of their time together. One particularly interesting and dramatic story, featured in the final edit, was about Denis' exhibition in 1977, where Bacon mocked Denis' paintings. Denis then destroyed the whole exhibition and never painted again.
I also shot an interview with Kirsty White, who along with James curated the exhibition.
I combined some royalty free and creative commons licensed footage and audio in this film; I paired footage from Pexels with artworks by Denis of rain clouds, the sound of rainfall and some beautiful ambient music from Chris Zabriskie. I thought combining these elements helped to set the mood after James discussed the depressing story of why Denis stopping painting.
Challenges:The aim of the film was originally around discussing the exhibition quite generally, which we filmed about a month and a half before the exhibition opened; we wanted to have the exhibition film ready for the opening, to help promote the exhibition. Sadly, the team changed their mind about the film's purpose after I had filmed and edited a rough cut, instead wanting the film to be around Denis' life specifically, providing more of a biography.
This meant that almost all of the film was scrapped and re-shot with a completely different script, with only two weeks left until the deadline. (This is why Kirsty swaps into a black shirt for one shot; did you notice?) Despite these setbacks, I worked very hard and had the final edit finished in time for the exhibition opening.
Equipment/software used:DaVinci Resolve
Adobe Premiere
Adobe Photoshop
Canon 800D
Zoom F8n
Sennheiser EW 112P G4

The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion exhibition

Skills: Director, Director of Photography, Editor, Colourist
Format: Documentary, 6 mins, 2022
Client: Firstsite art gallery, Colchester | Firstsite.uk

Premise:Film for Firstsite art gallery about The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion exhibition. The Singh Twins explore narratives around Empire, enslavement, conflict and luxury consumerism connected to the story of India’s historical trade in textiles, and the relevance of these issues in our world today.Work:I shot this video with the Singh Twins before the exhibition opened, so that there were no visitors in the space. The Singh Twins had suggested to walk around the gallery spaces and talk about a few of their favourite works, which I agreed was a good concept for the film.I edited this film and also cut together a short trailer from the footage which was shared on social media to promote the film and exhibition. This is available to watch below the main film, to the left.Challenges:Lighting was an issue in this film. The lighting is very dark and moody in the gallery spaces and the lightboxes featuring artwork are very bright on camera in comparison to their surroundings. Due to restraints with the building, we could not turn the house lights up further to compensate, so I aimed the exposure for somewhere inbetween the bright softboxes and the darker surroundings. While I am not especially happy with how this film looks, I did get some nice shots of the Twins walking around the gallery space and admiring their artworks.Equipment/software used:DaVinci Resolve
Adobe Photoshop
Canon 800D
Zoom F8n
Sennheiser EW 112P G4

Keep Being Amazing exhibition

Skills: Director, Director of Photography, Editor, Colourist
Format: Documentary, 5 mins, 2022
Client: Firstsite art gallery, Colchester | Firstsite.uk

Premise:Film for Firstsite art gallery about the Keep Being Amazing exhibition, inspired by their Holiday Fun programme. The film features interviews with artists Morag Myerscough, Celia Pym and Harold Offeh, along with Firstsite staff Sue Hogan (Programme Manager, Learning and Education) and Emma Howe (Programme Manager, Communities). The exhibition also includes artworks from artists Tracey Emin, Paula Rego and Oliver Beer.Work:As the sole person working on this film, I took on every role, including filming interviews with a minimal video and audio setup, to editing, adding music, colour correction, artwork and music credits, subtitling and posting the final product to YouTube with chapters, description, title and a thumbnail.Challenges:The main challenge was video editing and pacing, as the film needed to include staff discussing Holiday Fun, why artworks were chosen and artists talking about their work in the exhibition. There was a lot of content that needed to be covered in just over five minutes, so there was a lot of feedback involved and different drafts produced during post-production.Equipment/software used:DaVinci Resolve
Adobe Photoshop
Canon 800D
Zoom F8n
Sennheiser EW 112P G4

Pronouns in Bio

Skills: Directing Editing, Cinematography, Editing, Colourist
Format: Documentary, Director's Cut 70 mins, Short Film cut 20 mins, 2022

PremiseThrough a collection of video diary entries shot over two years, Frankie, a recently "out" transgender, autistic person reflects on her past mental health struggles as a teenager with gender dysphoria.
Frankie utilizes direct-to-camera monologues, mixed with an original soundtrack written and performed by herself to create an intimate portrait of what it is like to discover your authentic identity and fight for the right for legal recognition.
WorkShooting and editing a near feature length documentary by myself was certainly a good challenge. I also wrote and performed the original soundtrack along with accompanying music videos, which was a lot of fun!
The poster artwork was designed by my friend Leo Mateus (Ocean) (he/they), a fellow queer/trans artist. You can see his work and online store here.
ChallengesThe whole hour long film was edited and most of it was shot whilst I was in my final year of university, so I did not have much time to work on it. Pronouns in Bio is easily the largest project I have ever undertaken and is a result of years of footage; YouTube content and personal video diaries, along with hundreds of hours of editing. I also cut two versions of the film, so that I could submit to both feature and short film festivals.Equipment/software usedPremiere Pro
DaVinci Resolve
Adobe Photoshop
Audacity
Canon 800D
Sony FS5 II
Zoom H1N
OnePlus Nord 5G

Autumn at The Oak Tree Farm

Skills: Directing Editing, Cinematography, Editing, Colourist
Format: Documentary, 20 mins, 2021
Client: The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm, Ipswich

PremiseThe Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm is a Community Supported Agriculture Scheme run in Ipswich. The aim of the farm is to reconnect farmers and the local community to the land where their food is grown, without using any chemicals in the process. In exchange for volunteering at the farm, the produce grown is shared out equally in the weekly ‘veg boxes’.
Inspired by documentary films such as Agnes Varda's The Gleaners and I (2000) and Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Our Daily Bread (2005), this film documents The Oak Tree Farm in a slow-paced and naturalistic way.
WorkThe film documents the people who run the farm, as well as those who volunteer there, during the Autumn of 2020. Many areas of the farm are shown, including the range of vegetables produced, the farm’s chickens and the eggs they provide.ChallengesSince the whole film was shot throughout the UK COVID lockdowns, actually being able to physically travel to the farm was complicated. Of course, safety had to be the main priority and so social distancing was adhered to. I did have a sound recorder as another member of the crew, however they moved house during COVID, leaving me to film much of the documentary as a one person crew.
I would have preferred to film at The Oak Tree Farm during summer, however that would have been too late for me to hand the film in as my final piece for university.
Equipment/Software usedSony FS5 II
Premiere Pro
Zoom F8n
Sennheiser EW 112P G4

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A selection of awards and events

Best LGBTQ+ Film, UK Film Review Festival 2022 for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Director's Cut)Event: Chisato Minamimura, Deaf for 4'33” artist performance shot and edited by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner, screened at Snape Maltings' Festival of New'Pronouns in Bio' (Director's Cut) shown on Latest TV in Brighton, Northern Visions in Belfast, KMTV in Kent and Sheffield Live! in Sheffield with an average of 5,000 viewersOfficial Selection, Out On Film: Atlanta's LGBTQ Film Festival for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Short Film)Official Selection, FilmPride - Brighton & Hove Pride LGBTQ+ Film Festival for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Director's Cut)Event: Director's introduction and screening of 'It Costs Nothing to Be Nice' at Mediorite's 'Get Seen' Short Film festivalEvents: Filmmaker Networking Hour, 'Speed Friending', Game Night at TRANSlations: Seattle Trans Film FestivalEvent: Live Q&A at MHSA (Mental Health and Suicide Awareness) Film FestivalOfficial Selection, Believe Psychology Film Festival 2022 for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Director's Cut)Video: 2022 TRANSlations Trailer, Three Dollar Bill CinemaOfficial Selection, TRANSlations: Seattle Trans Film Festival for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Director's Cut)Official Selection, MHSA (Mental Health and Suicide Awareness) Film Festival for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Short Film)Official Selection, Hastings Rocks for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Short Film)Official Selection, London Rocks for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Short Film)Best Documentary Runner Up, Brighton Rocks for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Short Film)Honourable Mention, Brighton Rocks for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Director's Cut)Honourable Mention, London Rocks for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Director's Cut)Award of Recognition: Best Shorts Competition 2021 for 'Pronouns in Bio' (Short Film)Film: #MyPrideFamily, Mermaids GenderOfficial Selection 20 Years of CRASSH Film Festival 2021 for It Costs Nothing to Be NiceGold Award, Creative Conscience for Homeless in ColchesterHighly Commended Certificate, Design Museum Student Awards, for Homeless in ColchesterBronze Award, Creative Conscience for Autumn at The Oak Tree Farm

Videos for Social

A selection of TikToks, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and other video content shot and edited by Frankie for social media

Above: 'The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion' Tour Reel

Above: 'Sculpture at Firstsite' Reel

Above: 'Mehdi Jalalaghdamian: Art In Exile' exhibition Tour Reel

Above: 'The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion' Portraits Activity Reel

Above: 'Keep Being Amazing' exhibition install timelapse

Above: 'Holiday Fun' trailer

Press cuttings

A collection of cuttings from press materials and links in which my work appears - Click images to magnify

Above: Top left photograph by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner

Above: Photographs by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner except top row left, middle row left and bottom row right

Above: Art Quarterly magazine, Winter 2022 issue, Art Fund

Above: Third image from the top taken by Frankie Shaftain-Fenner

Press: 'Pronouns in Bio' Film Review, UK Film ReviewPress: 'Pronouns in Bio' Film Review, UK Film ReviewPress: Editor's Pick: The TRANSlations Film Festival Is A Virtual Treasure TrovePress: Why everybody should be part of the 2022 TRANSlations: Seattle Trans Film Festival - Capitol Hill SeattleArticle: This Trans Awareness Week, let’s celebrate gender euphoria, written for Mermaids GenderPress: Editor's Pick: The TRANSlations Film Festival Is A Virtual Treasure TrovePress: Mehdi Jalalaghdamian: Art In Exile, Visit ColchesterPress: Firstsite and Harwich Holiday Fun Leaflets, Community360Press: Firstsite, Holiday Fun, National Academy for Social PrescribingPress: Holiday Fun is back!, Harwich FestivalPress: Opening celebration | Mehdi Jalalaghdamian: Art In Exile, Refugee Action ColchesterPress: Colchester Easter holiday event for children is simply cracking, Daily GazettePress: Colchester asylum seeker invited to exhibit works at Firstsite, Daily GazettePress: Monsters spotted during Firstsite's Holiday Fun scheme, Daily GazettePress: Colchester asylum seeker to launch exhibition at Firstsite, Daily Gazette