Strange Machine is a London-based production company that aims to disrupt conventions in the film industry and bring different perspectives to the screen.
By exploring complex themes via experimental genre films, and using the freedom they offer to push narratives in unexpected directions, we hope to uncover truths about the way we live and who we are.
Francesca is a London-based writer and director. She trained in performing arts at Goldsmiths before forging skills in production and the wider industry by working with companies including Universal Pictures, New Regency, See-Saw and Porchlight Films.
Her short Undone, about an encounter between a young woman and an older married woman, screened at festivals including Aesthetica, East End, Inside Out Toronto, NewFest and Pan-African Film Festival, and was picked up for distribution by Peccadillo Pictures. Previous work includes Lynch, a short about social paranoia commissioned by global ad agency DLV BBDO.
Francesca was recently mentored by director Gina Prince-Bythewood, with whom she worked extensively on Netflix’s film The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron. Most recently she worked with producer Andrea Cornwell and writer Anna Symon on the Apple TV series The Essex Serpent, directed by Clio Barnard. She was also a visiting writer on Season 3 of HBO’s Succession as part of the HBO UK Director Programme.
She is a 2021 Women In Film LA Pathmaker Awardee.
Manuel is editor and publisher of the arts, science and politics journal, After Us. Through essays, pictorials and fiction, the journal focuses on how the latest technological developments and emerging political ideas might affect society in the future, and explores how the arts can help guide us through a changing world.
Manuel is also an art director for several clients in the independent music industry, having formed his studio, Optigram, in 2008, and commissions have encompassed album covers, interface design, kinetic art pieces, multi-sensory installations, and experimental animation. In 2020 examples of his record label work were shown at London’s Design Museum as part of their exhibition, Electronic, and in 2021 a retrospective of his print and animation work is to be shown at Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern Electronic Music. For twelve years he owned and ran the retro-futurist record label, Citinite, and since 2011 has presented a monthly radio show on NTS.
In 2018 he was invited to join MPC in London as a designer for film, focusing on worldbuilding and language systems, including those seen in the live-action Pokémon Detective Pikachu film.