Kat Mansoor
Kat is co-director of Animal Monday Ltd - a double Grierson award-winning production company based in Brighton, in the U.K.

Run by Will Hood, Adam Lavis and Kat Mansoor, Animal Monday prides itself on telling real stories about real people, involving them in the process of filmmaking as much as possible. Animal Monday create original films and documentaries to inspire and inform and credits include Here's Johnny (Britdoc Channel 4/The Wellcome Trust), Timepiece (Film Council), Retrograde (ITV) and Pakistan's relations with Israel (PTV).

Interview with Kat Mansoor
Kat speaks about the old man in the sea
Why did you decide to be part of the Against The Tide project?

I thought it would be great to work with archive. It's such an evocative tool for film-makers. You can conjure up thoughts, feelings and atmospheres in a single moment. It lends itself so well to stories and I really wanted to see what could be done with it. I love films like Man on Wire - and thought the use of the archive was accomplished with such intrigue and so cleverly.

What came first - the archive or the story?

When we first started thinking about stories relating to the region, I began to at archive from Screen Archive South East as well as researching other archives. Looking at SASE's collection gave me a sense of excitement around the possibilities - but essentially, it was the story itself that dictated the archive I used. The story came first through the assistant producer Louise who knew about David at the Brighton Swimming Club. We then researched the history of the club and thought it had great possibilities.
I went and interviewed David at length and looked at all of the pictures and memorabilia that he and his wife Truss have in their home. It brought the story to life and I left with a strong idea of what David's polemic was. I also knew that we had to make the film IN THE SEA to really understand his point of view. From there, I did some searches and found archive footage available within the sea, and with a further in depth look with Screen Archive South East, I found some footage of the Swimming Club in the 1950s. This footage was absolutely fantastic and I knew would really add to the story. So, in essence it was the story that came first - but archive was undoubtedly part of it.

What were you looking for in the archive?

David was very clear about his position from the beginning. His grandmother's grandfather was one of the founders of the swimming club 150 years before, so his knowledge and understanding of it was second to none. He recounted the heyday of the club as being the time when 1000 men bathing off of the men's beach in Victorian times - and he was genuinely sad that the our modern day connection to sea swimming seemed to be lost. I was looking for footage that showed that heyday to contrast with David's story, which is all about the trivialisation of the seaside - people taking more interest in eating ice-cream than in understanding the power of the sea.

What appealed to you about the particular footage you have chosen?

The photos of the Swimming Club support David's family history. The footage gives an understanding of a bygone era - it's quirky and funny and I love the sheer bravado in which they enter the sea in the freezing cold. We also use shots from the sea of the coastline - of those summer days when the whole of Brighton seafront is cramped with people.



A testament to the joys of swimming in the sea.
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