Producer and director of photography
by Boyd van Hoeij
- The Palme d’Or winner was produced by director Cristian Mungiu and cinematographer Oleg Mutu for their production company Mobra Films. Cineuropa asked Mutu about handling his double duties
Cineuropa: Could you talk a bit about setting up Mobra Films and why many Romanian filmmakers seem to set up their own production companies? What are the
advantages and disadvantages?
Oleg Mutu: I would have never imagined I would be producer or director of photography. I started working as TV cameraman, then I studied cinematography and, step by step, I began to make films. Together with Cristian Mungiu and Hanno Höfer, we created Mobra Film to be able to produce our films as we were unhappy with the cooperation with the other production companies for our previous films. On one hand, it is easier to make a film being on both sides, the creative and the production side, at the same time. The link between them is much stronger and the work goes smoother. On the other hand, one needs a lot of energy to deal with everything that is production.
How was you experience on 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [+see also:
interview: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Oleg Mutu
film profile] as a producer, especially in such a small country and with production taking place in such a short time?
Working on this film was quite demanding as I was director of photography during the shooting and I was also dealing with the production matters – not always easy – afterwards. There was a challenge to be able to accomplish both tasks at the same time. Everything happened very fast, we had difficult moments, we struggled but the final result of this project is an exceptional reward. Romania is not a small country but, indeed, there are not too many opportunities to make films. However, the new generation, including us, proved that ideas, talent and passion for this work make the difference.
How would you describe your working relationship with Cristian Mungiu?
Cristian and I studied at the same time, we were classmates and we continued working together after college too, on short films and on commercials. We are very close friends. The same happened with Hanno and since we met we’ve managed to achieve a lot together.
How does your camerawork on The Death of Mr Lazarescu [+see also:
film profile] relate to your work on 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days? Would you say you have a signature style or do you conceive each project from zero?
The visual style of each project depends on the script, on the director, and I define it before starting shooting. More ideas come along during the shooting so there is no fixed scheme that I apply.
What would you like to produce and film in the future and do you have any aspirations to direct your own film one day?
I would love to produce a film in my country, the Republic of Moldova, maybe even shooting it but I don’t have any intention of directing films. For the time being, I dream of relaxing and quiet holidays! New projects will come later on.