Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

PopLives #68: Anna Rodgers

Every week this Q&A finds out what interesting people in music, film, fashion, theatre, literature, performance, tech stuff, and whatever else are consuming.

Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 12:40


Anna Rodgers is a documentary maker, director and producer. She won Best Director (TV) at this year’s IFTAs for the documentary Somebody To Love. She also produced John Lonergan’s Circus which won Best Documenary Series.

(Photo: ©IFTA, by Barry McCall)

What are you reading?
Jon Ronson’s Lost at Sea, a collection of his GQ & Guardian essays. It’s perfect for dipping in and out of. He gives me access to the most unlikely characters, taking me into places as a documentary maker I can only dream of going. It’s ridiculously entertaining!

Last film you saw and your verdict?
The last film I saw is by British filmmaker Beeban Kidron called INREALLIFE. It really makes you stop and think about the impact of the internet on young people who have grown up immersed in tech culture. The scenes dealing with young people’s addiction to pornography or willingness to put their phones before their own safety are particularly chilling, and make us stop and question where we’re heading. I like that it’s a slow paced considered piece, but I wonder if teens themselves would watch it?

Last gig/concert you went to and your verdict?
The most memorable recent concert I went to was The Pixies in The Olympia. We were right up in the rafters and I expected in some way to be disappointed, but it was an incredible, memorable show. We were dancing in our seats and I was 15 again.

Last stage production you saw and your verdict?
I went to see Women Stood Regardless by Choreographer Catherine Young in the Project. My friend Michael Fleming composed the music. I really enjoyed it. Sometimes as someone who is forced to always seek the narrative around experiences, it’s nice to get out of your head and experience something bodily and visceral… although I did find myself projecting my own experiences onto some of the moments in it. It got a standing ovation.

You have a golden ticket to Easons, what magazine is first on your list?
I don’t ever buy magazines. I’ll have a read when they are put in front of me at the hairdressers or doctor’s surgery but that’s about it. The only magazine I read regularly is GCN but that’s free so I don’t need a golden ticket fortunately!

What are your most clicked bookmarks?
Everyone who knows me will know I’m lying if I don’t say Facebook. I’m also on a wonderful social network for documentary makers called The D Word which is 15 years old this year.

Do you have a favourite podcast or radio programme?
This American Life and Radiolab are my firm favourites – I love their mode of storytelling. I’ve been listening to some old podcasts of the Ouch! Podcast on BBC too over the last year whilst working on a documentary on disability.

Give us a tip for 2014
Print your photographs! My sister recently found some old rolls of film and called us all to the house for a surprise. She had found what amounted to a beautiful piece of the puzzle of my childhood. If like me your memories are mostly spun together from images and photographs it’s like someone handing you all this new information to process and edit back in. Most precious were images of my dog Lady who was later stolen and my brother with his pet hen. Places and people looked different to how I thought. It was very emotional. It made me question where all these pictures on my phone will be in thirty years, so I’ve sent them off to the printers.

When you fall into a YouTube hole what’s the general subject matter of the videos you’re watching?
I watch a lot of ads and virals online for inspiration. Vimeo staff picks could keep you clicking for hours, but I totally conform to the internet cliche; when I find myself glued to the screen until it’s gone dark and I realise the lights aren’t on, it’s usually the fault of cute, funny animal videos.

What song should we listen to right now?
I’m loving the David Letterman performance by Future Islands of Seasons – ‘Waiting on You’. It inspired me to buy tickets to go see them in November. I’ve got to see that passion in real life.
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Which boxset/TV series do you have on the go at the moment?
I admit I’m only watching Love/ Hate now. I’m really enjoying it and feel I missed out on the collective experience when it was broadcast. I’ve watched everything from Orange is the New Black to Breaking Bad and Borgen but I had really missed out on this home grown show. I’d let it go too long but it’s never too late to catch up.

Which app do you use the most?
Oh god, probably instagram but don’t ever follow me. It’s just saturated with photos of my dog Georgia making cute faces. I use Viber a lot with my Mum. As much as we give out to her when she forgets her passwords, she’s a pretty tech savvy Mammie. I often get coded messages made up entirely of emoticons.

Do you play video games or mobile platform games, and if so, what’s your favourite at the moment?
I haven’t played video games since the 1990′s although I’m interested in the whole game culture and other people’s attraction to them. It’s just not something I personally participating in.

What is your favourite club night of all time?
I was recently revisiting my teenage years for an article on Kurt Cobain’s death in 1994 so this question provokes memories of going to Dazed on O’Connell Street, underage and on my sister’s id. Just youthful memories of dancing unselfconsciously in our socks on wooden floorboards, and all being together with the music low enough for great conversations… Climbing down the fire escape to sneak into the back of Fibbers… I wouldn’t mind going back there for one night but I was different then, and everything was. I don’t really go to clubs now.

What was the last country you visited and what were you doing there?
Morocco. I’d never done a package holiday and we were warned off the place. Trip advisor comments said things like “turn back” or “worst trip of my life” so for comic effect we made a list of all the things we’d like to go wrong to keep our expectations low. It ended up being absolutely lovely. We enjoyed meeting the people and it was nothing but positive. Marrakech was beautiful and great to be immersed in a new culture. The trick is always to make up your own mind.

If you could transport one international cultural outlet to your home town, what would it be and why?
MOMA. I look forward to going there when I go to New York. It’s something I always do on my own and is a bit of a ritual now.

And finally, if you check out one documentary this week make it…
Pat Collins’ new film Living in A Coded Land. His work is very poetic and original. I’m really excited to see it.

Previously on PopLives: Tara Flynn, John ButlerDon WycherleyMaserRubberbanditsJames WolfSinead GleesonOlwen FouéréLe GalaxieCian O’BrienCian Ó CiobhainKatie HollyElaine MaiAisling FarinellaBrendan CantyMelanie MorrisTaylor MacTemper-Mental MissElayenousFez Fa’ananaChris JudgeXnthonyDavid MullaneJo ManganDerek O’ConnorBeardymanLynnette MoranRob DelaneyJulie Chance,  Conor O’BrienNial ConlanWallis BirdAdrian CrowleyTegan QuinEllie MacnamaraSteve RyanMumblin Deaf RoRick O’SheaGrace DyasMark O’HalloranAmy ConroyLouise McSharryMaeve HigginsRay YeatesNialler9Jeanie FinlayKevin BarryBrigie De CourcyJohn ScottWillie WhiteNiall MuckianPhil BoyleAngela DorganRoise GoanJoshua GordonMick MinogueEilis BoyleAnnie MacBen FrowMichael McDermottSinead O’Connor,  Shane LanganKathy ScottEoghan KidneyMichael Roe, and Phillip McMahon.