Best Girl Grip

#115: Aoife McArdle, Filmmaker

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Episode notes

My guest this week is Aoife McArdle, a filmmaker from Northern Ireland who you may know from her recent stint as a co-director and producer on Apple TV's Emmy-nominated series Severance

Severance depicts a world in which people can choose to surgically divide their work and personal lives, so neither selves have any idea who they are outside of those realms. It stars Adam Scott, Patricia Arquette, John Turturro and Christopher Walken and it recently secured 14 Emmy Award nominations, including the first Outstanding Drama Series for Apple TV. It’s truly an exceptional show, so inventive and cohesive and the storytelling is just chef’s kiss. The final episode, which I won’t spoil, is on another level.

And so I was thrilled to speak to Aoife on the basis of that alone, but then I discovered her extensive background in directing music videos for artists like Bloc Party, Jon Hopkins, James Vincent McMorrow, Anna Calvi and U2. Her direction is consistently gorgeous and her eye for visuals outstanding.

In 2017 Aoife directed her first feature Kissing Candice, about a 17-year-old girl who desperately wants to escape her small seaside town and finds solace in her imagination. More recently she directed a short film starring Cillian Murphy called All This Unreal Time, an immersive sort-of performance piece written by Max Porter - a preternaturally gifted writer - that explores themes of repentance, masculinity and environmentalism. Description of any sort won’t do it justice, so I urge you to click the link in the show notes and give it a watch.

We talk about how Aoife discovered filmmaking was a career and how she began to pave her way into it, her creative process when directing music videos, the learning curve that was her directorial debut, adapting to the environments you’re shooting in and working with what’s available, and of course, her experience on Severance, working with a very talented ensemble cast and in tandem with Ben Stiller and what she’s working on now…