Edinburgh TV Festival supported by Screen Scotland

Mary johnstone

Producer, Doubleband Films

Ones to Watch 2019

Mary Johnston

Why did you apply for Ones to Watch?

Having first attended the festival as a trainee, I quickly realised that being one of the ‘Ones to Watch’ was kind of big deal! It was clear that they were the brightest and best talent in any room and who wouldn’t want to be part of that? The scheme has an incredible reputation in the industry.

Aside from the bragging rights (!), I really wanted the opportunity to be part of a peer group of super talented people. The relationships and bonding experience that is formed between OTW cohorts can’t really be replicated – it’s a very special scheme. That’s been the best thing by far. Being based in the regions you can feel a bit cut off but OTW has really helped in feeling part of the wider industry.

Which speakers really stood out in your OTW programme?
Matt Worthy and Kieran Doherty’s session was really inspiring. Having started on an Edinburgh TV Festival scheme themselves, to now running one of the biggest indies in NI, I think it gave us all something to look up to.

What was it like being at the Festival as part of Ones to Watch?

FUN! Honestly a lot of fun! Besides meeting 29 amazing OTW’ers, we had day after day of incredible speakers and sessions. Incredibly educating, stimulating and inspiring. From taking part in the live pitch (as terrifying as it sounds) to socialising at the end of each day, everything was a learning experience in getting to know the industry and the people in it. It is intense – I would describe it as a non-stop, high octane, crazy train of a week. You’ll be exhausted when you get off it, but you’ll have learned so many things along the way.

How would you describe your experience with your Ones to Watch cohort?

I’m actually obsessed with all of them. Some of the most talented, funny, kind, and impressive people I’ve ever met – who continue to go from strength to strength in their careers, winning awards and generally smashing it. I’m sure I’m biased but our year were a truly legendary bunch – we are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. 3 years on, our whatsapp group is still hopping and everyone is always on hand for industry advice, contacts, suggestions, and drinks whenever we can find the time!

How has Ones to Watch impacted your career?

Ones to Watch helped me grow my confidence, my network and my industry knowledge – all of which I carried through to my work as a producer. It’s widely known that Ones to Watch is a hugely competitive scheme so getting on to it in the first place gives you a nice bit of industry kudos!