My West Hampstead: Photographer and organiser of new film club reveals her favourite flick

PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 February 2015

Jana Koelmel

Jana Koelmel


Jana Koelmel, 28, is an artist working with moving image, photography and the written word. She lives in Sherriff Road, organises artist film nights at Cara Cosmic Coffee in Kilburn High Road every fortnight (next screening February 22). For more follow @sundaykilburn on Twitter.

What brought you to West Hampstead?

I came to West Hampstead straight from Germany, because I was fortunate enough to get accepted at the Royal College of Art. I didn’t know much about London then, and luckily found a nice flat share in West Hampstead through our college’s notice board. A friend from home recommended the neighbourhood to me, and I liked that it is so well connected transport wise. I am still living in the same flat now, almost three years later.

What’s the area’s best kept secret?

Kingsgate Workshops: You can easily miss this unique art and design studio space when you walk down Kingsgate Road towards Grange Park. Lesser known to the public, but well known in the London art scene for their affordable studios, and a fruitful exchange. They open their doors ones a year in the summer, for the public to wander about and explore their inspiring creations.

You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area – what do you do?

My perfect day off would start with a coffee at The Sherriff Centre. After, I would head to Finchley Road to see what’s on at Camden Arts Centre, maybe another coffee in their lovely garden. Go for a long walk in Hampstead Heath, and enjoy the view of London. The day ends at The Tricycle with a good film, or one of their invigorating plays.

If you were editor of the Ham&High for a day, what one local issue would you like to see reported?

A subject that comes up often with local residents is the large crowds of commuters each rush hour using the pavements changing between the tube, London Overground and Thameslink. The pavements are so crowded that many are forced to walk on the busy road of West End Lane. It’s an accident waiting to happen. Perhaps Camden Council should consider putting safety barriers along that part of the road and widening the pavements where possible.

If you had to name you favourite film ever, what would it be and why?

To pick just one film is tricky. I guess I would go with “One Day Pina Asked” a documentary by Chantal Akerman, where she travelled with Pina Bausch’s company on tour through Europe. Firstly, it combines my two favourite art forms: film and dance. Secondly it is a combination of Akerman’s and Bausch’s work – two strong and truthful female artists, whose work I admire endlessly.

A film is set to be made about your life. Which actress would you choose to play you?

Sibell Kekilli – love how frank she is. When she won a German Film Award she entered the stage barefoot and asked the producers and directors in the audience to send her role offers, because she was looking for a job.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

I would hope that I am too young to worry about writing my own epitaph.

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