Katarína Krnáčová • Producer
“If the co-production is necessary, you need to pursue it”
by Martin Kudláč
- Slovak Producer on the Move Katarína Krnáčová talks about her experience of working on international co-productions, producing episodic formats and the current trends in Slovak film production
Slovakia is sending emerging producer Katarína Krnáčová to the Producers on the Move initiative. A graduate of Ex Oriente 2009 and EAVE 2015, she worked on the multi-award-winning sophomore feature by Mira Fornay, My Dog Killer [+see also:
film profile]. In 2014, she founded the production company Silverart, with which she produced the recent Crystal Bear winner Little Harbour [+see also:
interview: Iveta Grófová
film profile]. Cineuropa sat down with her to discuss her experience of working on international co-productions, producing episodic formats and the current trends in Slovakian film production.
Cineuropa: Your latest project, Little Harbour, won the Crystal Bear at the Berlinale. How would you compare working on Little Harbour to working on your previous short film, Fine, Thanks, which also travelled the international circuit?
Katarína Krnáčová: I worked mainly on the production stage of Fine, Thanks, whereas on Little Harbour, I worked from the development up to the distribution stage, which means the scope is incomparable. During the production and the shooting of Little Harbour, I approached and communicated intensively with potential sales agents and festival representatives, which proved highly beneficial at the first-cut stage. They already knew about the film; I met them all personally, and when they saw the rough cut, it was not an unknown film to them and they were curious about it. In the end, we had three offers from sales agents on our table from which to pick. This was a new and interesting experience for me.
Little Harbour is a co-production by countries from the Visegrad region, whereas your next project, Summer with Bernard (read the report), is being prepared as a co-production with Germany. That's quite a change compared to the majority of domestic projects made as co-productions with neighbouring countries. Is this the right direction for domestic cinema?
I wouldn't dare to say what is and what is not the right direction. My opinion is - and I manage my projects according to this - if the international co-production is necessary, whether for financial, creative or content-related reasons, you need to pursue it and design the project this way. However, if it is feasible to make a film in domestic conditions with local partners, that's also fine. Every co-producer boarding a project raises the budget to some degree, so I always carefully consider whether such a step is effective and beneficial for the film. The film Summer with Bernard has been structured as a Slovak-German-Czech co-production from the very beginning, in a natural way. The director is of Slovak origin, living in Germany, she wrote the script with a German screenwriter, and the story takes place in all three countries. Moreover, we have cast and crew from all of these three countries as well, in order to create an organic form of cooperation without any artificial steps carried out only to fulfil the co-production obligations.
Your next project will be in a different format - an Eastern European bloc period-drama miniseries called 1989. Why did you decide to pursue a different format?
The format of the miniseries and so-called quality TV fascinates me as a viewer. At the same time, I am very curious about its production process, since it is not so different compared to feature filmmaking. It has the benefit of a larger storytelling space and the potential to have a wider audience reach, which is, from the producer's perspective, highly attractive. We conceived the topic for the miniseries together with Joanna Szymaska, the Polish co-producer of the project, and the concept we developed and wrote was literally begging for this broader format.
What would you describe as the current trends in Slovakian cinema from a producer's point of view?
Primarily, it is the expansion of genres found in domestic cinema that makes me the happiest. The list of co-production countries is also expanding, and functional and creative collaborations are emerging. Closer attention is being paid to the audience, and I believe that this won’t mean conforming to so-called commercial production, but rather finding new ways and tools to approach our viewers with content that is unique and of a high quality.
Do you have any particular tasks in mind while you are at Cannes?
I hope to meet interesting people and projects I could possibly work with later on. Naturally, I will be looking for possible collaborators among my fellow Producers on the Move. Also, I have scheduled several meetings at Cannes for each project I am working on. We have two market screenings for Little Harbour in order to strengthen the sales and the festival run of the film. For my upcoming feature, Summer with Bernard, we’re looking for gap financing, and television and sales partners. It is an adventure story where family and friendship win out over loneliness and despair. Some smart kids and a witty grandpa ride a rollercoaster of the good and the bad until they succeed in reuniting the family again, and it's all done in a charming and humorous way. I find it highly important to talk to children about difficult issues, but in an attractive and understandable way, to help them make their choices amidst this overload of information that is out there today. For the television miniseries 1989, I’m meeting my co-producers, and we’ll be looking for partners who can join us in moving the project forward in terms of both creative and financial development.
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