Pedro Borges • Distributor
by Vitor Pinto
27/07/2010 - Founded by Pedro Borges in 2006, Midas Filmes has managed to create a niche for itself within the small panorama of Portugal’s film distributors. Not everything Midas touches turns to gold, but in only four years the company has successfully contributed to an increase in film supply on the Portuguese market and has definitely confirmed its good reputation among local film lovers.
Cineuropa: What led to the creation of a new distribution company in 2006, despite the generally complicated atmosphere that characterized back then and still now the Portuguese film industry?
Pedro Borges: Midas Filmes was created in July 2006, after a project in which I had been involved for over 15 years bankrupt. It was important back then, and still is today, to defend cinema and the great films that continue to be made. We knew from its very start that Midas would not exclusively focus on distribution. We wanted to reach all the sectors of the industry, as we have been doing since. Releasing films is quite addictive once you start doing it. You can’t really refrain yourself from doing it and it certainly compensates for the difficulties of the country in which you work.
What are your main criteria in picking a film for your line-up? What kind of titles do you tend to favour?
Like everybody else, we want to release the world’s best films, although that’s not always possible. And we want to release films that allow us to survive, preferably by directors we admire, award-winning festival films, and so forth. We also pay close attention to emerging filmmakers whose peculiar and original works we simply “have” to distribute, even when we know it will be hard to be financially compensated for them. In recent years we distributed The Class [trailer, film focus], Persepolis [trailer, film focus], The Beaches of Agnes [trailer], as well as directorial debuts such as Go Get Some Rosemary and Afterschool. We also distribute some of Portugal’s most talented directors, including João Canijo, Pedro Costa and João Botelho.
What made you decide to expand beyond exhibition?
Given working conditions in Portugal, either you do everything (produce, release theatrically, sales) or you will suffer. But we also have to do what others don’t. And this is particularly true when it comes to production: It is only worth it to produce films that would not exist without us. We have produced about a dozen documentaries and are now producing Sangue do Meu Sangue the new feature by one of Portugal’s leading directors, João Canijo. We follow the projects of the directors willing to work with us. Luckily, so far, there has been enough projects to keeps us busy.
What are the main obstacles facing an independent distributor in Portugal?
The biggest obstacle is the country itself and its public authorities. We work in a lawless market. Then there is clearly an exhibition problem: not enough independent theatres, besides the venues in shopping malls or some quite old theatres that should have been shut down years ago.
What are your upcoming releases and how will you promote them?
Our upcoming releases include Palme d’Or winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives [trailer] by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Stephen Frears’ Tamara Drewe [trailer], Jean-Luc Godard’s Socialism [trailer], Daniele Luchetti’s Our Life [trailer], Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage, Jacques Rivette’s Around a Small Mountain [trailer], and the documentaries Wasteland and Dancing Dreams. We also bought the local distribution rights to the new projects by Nanni Moretti, François Ozon and Julie Delpy.
The promotional campaigns depend on the characteristics of the films and their different targets. We tend to work closely with the press. Journalists are fundamental in creating film knowledge and building a critical attitude towards films by lesser-known directors and those defying any sort of classification, such as Douglas Gordon’s Zidane and Abbas Kiarostami’s Shirin, which we recently distributed.