An American-British hybrid, Courtney Harmstone has been working professionally in film since she graduated Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Film Production from The Florida State College of Motion Picture Arts. After graduation, Harmstoneworked in a variety of positions in the film industry, from social media marketing to distribution to editing feature documentaries to building Rube Goldberg machines onstage in Las Vegas. Since the completion of her Master’s in International Film Business (with Distinction) at The London Film School and The University of Exeter, Harmstone has worked in production on three projects, including two independent feature films and one commercial. Harmstone is currently in development for a short film showcase in New York City and plans to shoot two more feature films in 2017.
On the importance of education:
I believe education, regardless of what field, is an essential milestone. Not only do you attend an institution that can guide and help you develop your skills in the field of your choice, you also build a network of fellow students and future collaborators who you will trust to help you make your films. Moreover, it is an opportunity to make mistakes without the consequences and potential restrictions of the “real world” and also assist in the understanding and appreciation of how to make a film, from inception to completion.
On the stories that inspire her as a director:
I want to make compelling, human stories that allow an audience member to exit the theatre and go “wow, that inspired me”. I enjoy a film with a strong female lead, particularly if the film is not surrounding the idea and discussion of men. There is a refreshing tide of films that have been released that have a powerful woman in the front of the film that have been around central issues we face daily, rather than just about romantic relationships.
On the women in film who inspire her:
I have always admired women who are willing to challenge the system, so it is natural that I would like women like Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep. In terms of emerging behind-the-camera stars, I always look toward power women like Andrea Arnold (American Honey) and Amma Assante (A United Kingdom), who have both directed successful films this year. ★