Today I’m curating the Story of Mum online tour.
The concept is that as a curator, I select an image from one of the stills from the Story of Mum Gallery that speaks to me and I contribute something myself.
The image from I’m a Mum and a… exhibition truly resonated with me. That’s me I cried!
I’m at a point in my life where with two young children, aged 3 and 11 months respectively, my freelance work life is constantly changing, shifting, adapting… still there yet modified, sometimes compromised, other times intensified…like the lady above, I’m a loving mother and still an artist.
I always wanted children, as a filmmaker I would describe myself on set as the mother of the crew, nurturing, leading, offering vision and hopefully inspiration whiles always learning myself, listening, collaborating.
My work ranges from social documentary and drama, film, music videos and fashion films. One of my most accomplished pieces is a short film I directed titled ‘Broken’ which in fact tells the story of my own mother as a Greek Cypriot immigrant to the UK set in the 60’s. It won many awards internationally and was shown on TV here and abroad. It was incredible that my own family archive, a film based on my mother and her story touched so many.
You can watch the trailer here:
You can find out more about it on my film website here.
I actually want to share this photo of Mum and I. My Mum is my hero. There is a no more giving, selfless, loving mother than she. Caring, super intelligent, creative, considered, always fair, her achievements and love for her children are endless. I have also shared this in I Love You Mum at the Story of Mum.
Mum learnt English is an year when she arrived to the UK then passed all her O’ levels and then A’levels with flying colours, got a degree, a Masters of Philosopy, a PGCE, became a lecturer and only decided to stop her PHD because at age 2, she missed me too much. She and my father George whom she met at Uni, opened their first Greek restaurant 30 years ago and run three award winning ones in Leeds, although since my own kids were born, she dedicates most of her time to helping me raise them. She is utterly amazing.
Without her I couldn’t continue to have a creative career in the way that I do…
There are so few female directors in the film industry-approximately 7 % and I can see why, it’s hard juggling a career where you’re on set for 12 hour days with a young family, children who need you and you need them.
When I had Oliver, I took a year off directing. Some thought it was a risk to take off what was perceived as a long time post several awards and industry recognition and at only 28 years of age (young for a director), but I was determined I wanted a family and simply hoped I’d have a career to return to.
As a creative, I had always worn many hats throughout my carer. I was editor of the film magazine Film & Festivals, taught, lectured, directed and produced, wrote short stories, exhibited my oil paintings…always endevouring to exercise my creativity is some way and I suppose it’s all I’ve ever known (I made my first film at 11 and would draw when sad or upset as child). I come from a long line of teachers (from my father’s side) and creatives from my mother’s.
From as long as I can remember, if I found a creative outlet I was happy. It has always been my constant.
First time motherhood was not easy for me, far from my folks and a shock to the system, I felt I’d lost my identity somewhat, my previous reference points, adrift in the haze of sleeplessness, utterly lonely and unsure of my new role as a mother.
A traumatic birth had also taken my voice away and my confidence…only returning slowly from starting this blog when Oliver was 10 months old.
I remember hitting publish on that first post and feeling genuine suprise that people wanted to read what I had to say, and furthermore they seemed to relate to it and enjoy my brave new world. I was not alone. Suddenly I’d found a small space for me, to be creative again, to make me feel a little like the Vicki I once was.
4 weeks from starting honestmum, I became a finalist at the BritMums’ Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the Fresh Voice Category. I was elated. I was a loving mother and still an artist. A writer recognised for what I loved doing: telling stories and now it was my child who was the one inspiring me, fuelling my creativity.
The nomination helped me in so many ways.
It gave me the confidence to get back on set and direct some fashion advert films.
It gave me the confidence to realise I can be a mother and still do what I love and that’s OK. It doesn’t (it never) eradicate/s the ingrained guilt but as time goes by it gets easier. I need that outlet for me and for my family.
It gave me the confidence to make the important film below raising awareness and offering support to women about the pregnancy liver condition OC I had myself in my first pregnancy. It was made for charity, unpaid and meant I could help thousands of other women through my skills as a filmmaker. My blog, my new creative life gave me purpose and my career back.
Now, with a second son, nearly 1 and a blog that is my third baby (and another newborn-a style blog mummy’sgotstyle.com) operating as creative businesses, giving me a good living, my freelance writing is focused on blogging along with a TV project I have in development with an established production company.
Blogging has made me feel part of an incredible community and together with seven other accomplished bloggers, we have set up MASH, Mothers & Shakers, a boutique social media collective providing services to bloggers, creative entrepreneurs and small bussinesses.
I’m not ready to get back on set yet, this time not through lack of confidence but choice. I’m loving the freedom this blog and freelance writing gives me. The fact I can juggle kids and work far more easily (not that the juggle is easy believe me) but easiER than if I was away or on set for long hours each day no doubt. This doesn’t mean I won’t return to directing ever but right now, my creativity has found a, a space, a window for me to breathe, to hopefully flourish be it this blog or screenwriting… so I can be a loving mother and an artist too.
I always, whatever creative role I’m undertaking define myself as a filmmaker as filmmaking to me is about being creative, entrepreneurial, collaborative, it involves working with others, writing, directing, making, sharing. This is the picture taken of me at BritMums earlier this year.
I love what Story of Mum is doing to immortalise us mothers’ roles, goals, desires, dreams and achievements whichever path we’ve followed, whomever we may be or may become.
I love that we are being recognised, celebrated and loved. It is the sisterhood in action and I’m proud to be a part of it. Motherhood to me is the focus of my world, my life and feeds the artist in me too.
Story of Mum is a community of supportive mamas doing creative stuff to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood. Join us!
Why? Because getting creative connects us to who we are and what we want. It makes us happier, braver, and we shine brighter together. Sharing our stories reminds us that all mums, including you, are amazing. Especially when we make mistakes.