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Profile: Ken Wardrop, director of documentary His & Hers

Irish director paints collective picture of woman in Irish Midlands

Profile: Ken Wardrop, director of documentary His & Hers

Ken Wardrop

Born 24 Oct 1973, Portarlington, Co. Laois, Ireland

Background Wardrop grew up in a farming community in rural Ireland. After a stint working in London he enrolled at the National Film School, Dublin where he graduated in 2004 specialising in creative documentary making. His graduating short film, Undressing My Mother, won over 25 international awards. Since then he has also received acclaim for his films The Herd and Useless Dog. His work centres on finding beauty in the mundane and explores themes of family and relationships. He recently set up production company Venom Films with producer and former classmate Andrew Freedman through which the two have developed television programmes, commercials and short and feature film projects.

What’s he up to now? Wardrop’s first feature length film, His & Hers, is released in cinemas this month. For the project he pieced together interviews with over 60 women to paint a collective picture of a single life of a woman in the Irish Midlands.

On the inspiration for His & Hers
‘I thought I would look to my Mum’s life as a kind of narrative spine [for the film], my Mum got married very early in life, she married her childhood sweetheart and had a very straight-forward, simple life until my Dad passed away prematurely in his early sixties. I set out to see if I could create that kind of narrative via lots of ladies’ stories at different stages in their lives.”

On the women he interviewed ‘They were all such wonderful characters, it was surprising that they thought they weren’t worthy of being involved in a film. I’ve been making films about my own family, who are very simple folk, so I’ve been dealing with the ordinary for so long that I forgot other people don’t see their lives as interesting as they are.’

Interesting Fact In 2007 he was commissioned to make a short film by singer Robbie Williams. Bongo Bong, a response to one of the artist’s songs from the album Rudebox, was nominated for an Irish Film and Television award.

His & Hers, selected release, Friday 11 March.

His & Hers

  • 2 stars
  • 2009
  • Ireland
  • U
  • Directed by: Ken Wardrop

Attractively filmed, yet narrowly focused documentary knitted together from more than 60 interviews with women aged between 5 and 90 to paint a collective portrait. The overall picture is strangely outdated and at odds with contemporary times.

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