Jo Southwell, a local businesswoman and filmmaker, has been selected as a Female Founder by Creative UK.
It is an exciting opportunity for Jo and her business, Aston productions, because just fourteen female led companies were chosen and Jo explains that the “premise for Creative UK is to help with everything from IT to creative visions and to create new platforms and new networks.” Ultimately, they want to bring together business and creativity. Jo says that Creative UK have realised there is a “mass shortage of females in HBO roles” and they have also recognised there is a “host of women who need business support to grow their creative businesses” and break down barriers. Jo quite rightly points out that women are still “underrepresented in business,” and Female Founders will help women grow and create “sustainable businesses.”
Jo’s own business, Aston Productions, has already demonstrated an impressive business record in the creative industry, proven by her selection as a Female Founder for 2022-23, however, she hopes that this opportunity will support her in bringing together the two sides of her business. She currently has Aston Productions and Aston Management, the former concentrating on filmmaking and the latter as a representative for actors. However, Jo wants them to work together fluently as one media company and hopes Creative UK will help her achieve her goal. During the pandemic, Jo received training in business growth from Creative UK which was a valuable experience, and she says it really helped in “analysing where I was and thinking about future growth.” She also wrote an article in Creative Enterprise’s book, One Thing I know, which aims to inspire new creative business leaders.
So what projects are Aston Productions currently working on? Jo has just finished post-production on a short film called Echo at Pinewood Studios. It explores loss and mental health, with a focus on miscarriage. The film also used underwater cinematography which is both exciting but costly. There is an Indie GoGO crowdfunder page for Echo for anyone who wants to support the project (https://igg.me/at/echofilm2022/x/30266737#/)
Following completion of Echo, Jo is pitching for various television projects but would also love to hear from any local creatives -writers, actors, filmmakers – who might like to work with her in the future and at this exciting time for her business.