Women’s History Month: Clare Sturges

Biography

Clare Sturges is a writer and director based in Cardiff, Wales. She recently wrote and directed BAFTA Cymru-nominated narrative short THE ARBORIST through the BFI Network, which premiered on BBC Two and is currently available on BBC iPlayer.

Clare’s short documentary MY BRIEF ETERNITY won the BAFTA Cymru Short Film Award in 2016. The film was nominated for Best Short Doc at London Short Film Festival 2016, longlisted for a British Independent Film Award in the same year and the EE BAFTA for British Short Film in 2017. Clare won the BAFTA Cymru Breakthrough Award for her documentary SEXWORK, LOVE & MR RIGHT in 2015, which was acquired for broadcast by ABC Australia.

Since 2017, Clare has been shadowing director Euros Lyn – on Channel4 mini-series KIRI, Jack Thorne’s BBC adaptation of HIS DARK MATERIALS and Film4/Raw feature DREAM HORSE. She has also shadowed series DP Adriano Goldman on the Aberfan episode of Netflix’s THE CROWN (S3), and director Phil John on Sky’s LUCKY MAN (S3). 

In 2020, Clare was awarded bursaries from Ffilm Cymru Wales and the Welsh Broadcasting Trust to support her development as a director of scripted work.

When was the first time you realised you wanted to make films?

I was 30 years old, recently made redundant from a desk job I hated, and freelancing as an advertising copywriter. One of my agencies asked me to write an AV script for a corporate client. I wasn’t sure what an AV script was and had to look it up. Then they asked me what the meta-narrative was and again I scurried off to Google to find out. A whole new world of visual storytelling opened up to me and I was hooked from then on.

What was the last project you worked on / made?

I wrote and directed narrative short The Arborist through the BFI Network scheme, via Ffilm Cymru Wales / BBC Wales. It’s a deeply personal film – a drama about grief and loss and the power of objects, places, people and memories to connect us to those we’ve lost.

What are you up to now? What is the next project you’re working on?

I’ve recently signed with United Agents and we’re working together to progress my career to the next level… having ‘generals’ with producers and execs, applying for career development opportunities and being put forward for jobs. It’s all about landing upon a lucky opportunity to break through into drama directing, while developing my own projects alongside. I’m currently writing my first feature film: a ghost story set in the Highlands of Scotland. And I’m developing a documentary series and a factual drama – both of which explore the ripple effects of homicide.

Useful links:

Check out the many other female filmmakers telling unique stories in Wales yma.

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CY