Sunday News

‘I’m always looking for each project to be different’


ASK director Michelle Savill what 2023 will bring for her and she hesitates.

‘‘That’s such a tough question, because it’s the freelance life . . . things will suddenly happen, you know.’’

Although Savill does go on to name some pretty epic things in the pipeline, you could place a solid bet on the talented creative having another busy year indeed. Speaking over the phone from the UK, where she’s been directing the fourth series of the popular Netflix show Sex Education, Savill is gearing up for a summer in Melbourne, before returning to finish up on the series in March.

The comedy drama series follows the lives of students and staff at a fictional high school. The Guardian called it glorious, heartfelt and eye-wateringly funny.

Prior to her stint on Sex Education, Savill in 2021 created her first feature film, Millie Lies Low, which premiered at Whā nau Marama New Zealand Film Festival, and then internatio­nally at Berlinale Berlin Internatio­nal Film Festival. The film (which the Guardian also called ‘‘ingenious satire’’) follows an anxious Millie travelling from Wellington to New York for an internship at a prestigiou­s architectu­re firm.

This year, Savill is looking forward to making headway on a new project – it’s in the advanced stages – with Sophie Henderson and Chelsie PrestonCra­yford, about a woman with a little-known gynaecolog­ical condition, vaginismus.

‘‘It’s inspired by one of our friend’s experience­s with it,’’ says Savill.

‘‘And the more we’ve researched and talked to other women who have had it, it just really wasn’t talked about much, openly. We all know about how men, they can’t get it up and there’s a pill, but women’s health and women’s bodies are always the least studied.

‘‘We wanted to explore that, but it’s a comedy, in a humorous way. The more content made about people’s experience with it, the better.’’

How does she pick what she wants to work on? ‘‘I’m always looking for each project to be different. I just know it when I see it or hear it or think it. I just want to work, ultimately, I guess on good projects that fascinate me, and the key on that is to work with good people as well. It’s really just that simple.’’ Finishing up on Sex Education will be bitterswee­t.

‘‘It’s been such a great project. I’ve loved everyone I’ve worked with. On every film or TV show, you become a family and then the project ends and you will leave and there is a sense of sadness because you will never be together like that again. But it’s nice to move on and catch up on sleep and spend time with your family – and release what you’ve made into the world.’’

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