(pic: Circus Fantasticus)
Morrison Hotel, 4pm, Wednesday 23rd February
The Morrison Hotel was the venue for the JDIFF co-producers panel in association with the Irish Film Board. Chaired by outgoing IFB CEO Simon Perry, on the panel were the producers:
Jozko Rutar, Slovenia, Circus Fantasticus aka Silent Sonata.
Jean Luc Ormiéres, France, Dorothy aka Dorothy Mills.
Reinier Selen, Holland, Nothing Personal.
Katarina Krave, Sweden, of regional film fund Film I Vast.
Simon Perry began the discussion and was very pleased with the screening of the latest cut of This Must Be the Place that he attended in Rome the previous morning. This Must Be the Place is a co-production involving the Irish Film Board and is the first English language film directed by Italian Paolo Sorrentino, who as Simon pointed out, has the distinction of having his last three films screened in competition at Cannes. This was the latest cut of the film and according to Perry we are ‘in for a nice surprise, if you like cinema in the grand Italian style’ adding that ‘about 20-30% of the movie takes place in Ireland’ and that ‘it’s an Ireland that hasn’t been seen on screen before’.
The discussion proper started with Jozko Rutar Slovenian producer of Circus Fantasticus who discussed his experience of co-production. Circus Fantasticus is a Slovenian/Irish/Finnish production, then they added Sweden for post production. The crew was mixed, with a DOP from Czech Republic, the sound recordist was Irish and communication in the crew took place in 5 or 6 languages.
Simon Perry added that one of the reasons for co-producing is the use of locations, as Slovenia only has 30km of coastline, Ireland would have many more options in that regard and in practice co-producing works well between smaller countries.
László Kántour, the Hungarian producer of Isztambul spoke next, he looked for films or stories with eastern European roots. This was a Hungarian/Turkish/Irish/Dutch co-production and he felt it was important that all co-producers believed in it and that co-production is not the future of film making but that it is the present.
Reinier Selen, the Dutch producer of Nothing Personal, said he had the impression that Ireland is open to co-producing and appreciated the recognition that they were trying to make a beautiful film from Fastnet Films, their Irish co-producer, and the Irish Film Board. A huge thing for them was that having someone like Stephen Rea in their film. Fastnet could approach him as he would be unreachable for a Dutch company, but having an Irish co-producer makes it realistic.
Jean Luc Ormiéres executive produced Dorothy Mills, later retitled Dorothy, in Ireland in 2008 and so is quite familiar with co-producing in Ireland. Being French co-producing is less of a necessity for him as France is a large enough country that a budget can be generated through conventional means. Echoing Reinier’s comments he said with co-producing the casting range is huge, the scope of what you can reach is much wider. However, half jokingly, he said the only thing Ireland doesn’t have is a good animal wrangler. He said the French can relate to Ireland as we are a cultural country, we have well known singers, actors, writers, artists, architects as do the French. However there are differences, and he cited the role of an assistant director in Ireland is a part of the crew whereas in France they are the personal assistant of the director.
Katarina Krave of Swedish regional film group Film I Vast, based in western Sweden, said it is easier to get a producer from somewhere like Denmark to come and visit them rather than a Swedish producer from Stockholm and that it is easier to co-produce with small countries as they are more pragmatic.
Simon Perry repeated the idea of reciprocity saying ‘we like to keep the balance if we can’, that an Irish co-production such as Lapland Odyssey which has no Irish themes and is not in English would still have an Irish crew, but that the favour would be repaid by Finnish crew coming over to work on an Irish shot film. Morgan Bushe of Fastnet Films in the audience was keen to point out that the Irish money would be spent on Irish crew.
Many well-known co-producers attended as audience members and contributed from the floor, as well as Morgan Bushe there were Dominic Wright and Jacqueline Kerrin of Ripple World, whose co-productions include Parked and Lapland Odyssey and Andrew Lowe of Element Pictures, Essential Killing.
All participants agreed that meeting your co-producers and getting on with them as people first and foremost is of paramount importance rather than agreeing on working on a project before meeting, Jozko Rutar said he uses his intuition a lot. However everyone agreed that the strong indications coming from the EU that the Media fund will be slashed by 2014 would be a very worrying development.