Industry Report: Produce - Coproduce...
Increase in the number of short film co-productions
by Marjolaine Bouvier & Emma Vigand
- On March, 1st, a debate on the development of short films co-production was taking place in Luxemburg. This debate was organised by Nisi Masa, the European Network of Young Cinema, at the 7th European Short Pitch.
Nisi Masa explains as an introduction that a few years ago the short film co-production concept was only just a dream. Today, it affects more and more shorts, even non-French producers. France is, let’s not forget, a real heaven for the financing of shorts. More and more shorts are being discovered, with sometimes two or three nationalities attached and the least expected partnerships, Slovakia and India for example.
To illustrate the subject, Nisi Masa had invited several professionals and chosen to present five recently co-produced shorts: Kristoffer Rus’s The Big Leap, a Polish-Swedish co-production; Dario Samuele Leone’s Dreaming Apecar, an Italian-Romanian co-production; Dénes Nagy’s Soft Rain, a Hungarian-Belgian-Swiss co-production; Martin Repka’s Tiger Figth, a Slovakian-Indian-Austrian co-production; and Michaela Pavlatova’s Tram, a Czech-French co-production.
Here is a review of the evening and a summary of three of the screened movies.
As soon as the debate started, Campfilm producer Marcell Gerö insisted on the difference between networking and longer term relationships. This Hungarian producer believes in friendship rather than networking. For Soft Rain, he had known the director for ten years. According to him, the people you work with are more important than the project itself. Of course, the project must be engaging and interesting, but the people come first as you will have to think together to successfully complete the movie. Marcell added that despite that, you shouldn’t neglect networking between producers.
For Dreaming Apecar, it was the script which was the starting point of the co-production. The movie is about an Italian woman who can’t find a job. She then agrees to look after an 80-years-old Romanian man. It is with this story that the Italian producers decided to get in touch with the Romanian community in Italy, even though the movie isn’t about this particular community. They were warmly welcomed. Now that this community is well integrated in Italy, they want to take part in the production of cultural works. A Romanian entrepreneur company even helped to finance the movie, together with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Italy. Moreover, the main actor, who is famous in Romania, really got involved in the project.
The most striking example in this debate is without a doubt the Swedish-Polish co-production The Big Leap. “Think big,” Kaśka Krośny‘s motto for the production of this movie, is one to be remembered. The film total budget was of €300,000. This short film on the financial crisis gathers a famous director, international actors, live action and animation. Polish company Wajda Studio did the promotion for Big Leap. They created a website and a Facebook page before the movie was even shot. While shooting, actors had two hours a day dedicated to answering interviews. The producer Kaśka Krośny is still amused thinking that no-one knew it was a short film.
Short films co-production and financing possibilities are increasing and broadening every day; crowdfunding still is quite recent. Today’s producers and directors are doing their best to find new ways to finance and carry through their projects. The following day, the European Short Pitch participants were to present their project in front of a panel of producers, with an extra series of ideas and outlooks on filmmaking imbedded in one corner of their brains from the previous day debates.