We recently caught up with ISB alumna, Annika Hagemann ('12), during her visit to Basel earlier this year while working on a documentary about multiple sclerosis. "With Grace" tells the story about a young actor and singer living in Basel, Grace Sanders, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 26. It is being made in collaboration with a media education platform which will educate school children about the neurological condition and dispel the many myths that surround it.
When did you attend ISB?
I'm a long-timer...I was at ISB from preschool all the way until I graduated in 2012!
What were your favorite subjects/teachers at ISB?
I especially loved Drama, History and English class (which is a big testament to Ms. McKelvey, Ms. McKenzie and Mr. O'Neil). Apart from that, there were so many teachers over my time at ISB that I looked up to – too many to list!
What are some of your favorite memories from ISB?
There are many happy memories! Some favourites (in no particular order) include putting on plays, going to ski camp and other amazing school trips – like the History trip to Russia!
When you graduated from ISB, what career did you want to go into?
I was always passionate about film, writing and psychology but for a long time felt cautious and unsure about how I could put those interests into practice. I knew I wanted to do something creative, but definitely wasn't someone who knew exactly what she wanted to do after graduating. I always envied those people! I very nearly studied Law simply because I thought it might be the more sensible thing to do. But luckily, I had some great people around me who encouraged me to follow my curiousity.
What did you do after graduating from ISB?
I went to study Film & Literature at Warwick University. I loved it!
What career are you working in now?
Documentaries! I'm currently working on a BBC / Universal Pictures feature documentary in London. Next to that, I am also producing another documentary in Basel about multiple sclerosis in collaboration with Siobhan McDonnell, Founder at HeteroDocs, which uses VR documentary stories to educate its audiences.
Tell us more about your work on the documentary about multiple sclerosis.
Our documentary "With Grace" tells the story about a young actor and singer living in Basel, Grace Sanders, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when she was 26. Many of the symptoms of MS are invisible so we will be using immersive 360 video moments to actually allow viewers to step into Grace's shoes to get a better sense of what having MS can feel like. We have already completed most of the filming and are now raising funds to see us through the last few scenes and post-production phase. Our campaign trailer and more details about our project can be found on Kickstarter. I'm also super thrilled that fellow ISB-er, Ina Wecken, lent us her amazing camera skills for this documentary! We've been close friends since kindergarten and share a passion for filmmaking, which has worked out perfectly.
What are your future plans?
My future plans are to keep growing as a filmmaker and journalist to allow me to make films that help spark positive change. I previously worked in charity campaigns (working for the animal rights organisation PETA) so I'm really passionate about creating films that also influence people's behaviours for the better.
What words of inspiration do you have for our current students?
You really don't need to figure it all out at once, so my advice would be to just breathe if you're not sure about what you want to do! I truly believe that if you follow your curiousity, believe in your capabilities and actively seek out advice from people you admire, the rest of the path will slowly unfold itself to you. I'm still figuring it out as I go along and that's part of the fun! :-)