by Muriel Del Don
- Cineuropa met up with Switzerland’s Producer on the Move, Elodie Brunner, of the outfit Box Productions, to talk about the Swiss film production landscape and her upcoming projects
Elodie Brunner works as an associate and producer with Box Productions, a Swiss production outfit from the French-speaking part of the country, which this year is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Ursula Meier, Joachim Lafosse, Mehran Tamadon and Basil da Cunha are just some of the big names that have joined Box Productions on its journey. After getting her bachelor’s degree in Modern History from the University of Lausanne, and exhibiting an unwavering passion for cinema, Brunner began her career working at various film festivals before joining Box Productions as a production assistant. Following her subsequent training at the Atelier Ludwigsburg-Paris, she re-joined Box Productions on a permanent basis as an associate and producer. Her first real experience in the world of production was with Ursula Meier’s Home [+see also:
interview: Kacey Motten Klein
interview: Thierry Spicher
interview: Ursula Meier
film profile], a very important educational experience that left an indelible impression on her and subsequently further intensified her passion for cinema.
Cineuropa: Could you briefly introduce Box Productions for us? What is your editorial policy, your ethos, your governing principle?
Elodie Brunner: Box Productions is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year! The company was founded in 2004 by Elena Tatti and Thierry Spicher, and has primarily produced and co-produced for cinema: we did some fiction films initially, then some creative documentaries, and some short films by young Swiss and European directors such as Ursula Meier, Joachim Lafosse, Mehran Tamadon and Basil da Cunha. Co-production – particularly with France and Belgium – is a natural instinct for us. As Swiss producers, that allows us to withstand the demands of the international market, as well as to work with talented partners.
In the future, we want to diversify our range of activities (the series format is a particular point of interest for us), and to a certain extent we are looking to break out of the production model based solely on writer-directors that we've been using so far, by working with screenwriters to adapt literary works, for example. Furthermore, in 2012, we founded the company Outside the Box, which is involved in marketing and promoting films in movie theatres and through other broadcasting formats, in quite a groundbreaking way.
What is your impression of the current film production situation in Switzerland (also taking into account the controversy surrounding Switzerland's exclusion from the European MEDIA programme)?
As in many other countries, production in Switzerland is affected by a lack of resources and a certain lack of political vision. The feeling I have is that, because of this, money is shared out a little bit at random, and it's difficult for producers to make the transition to the next stage in the development of their activities, particularly for those who produce fiction films. You reach the glass ceiling fairly quickly: for example, it's impossible for us to begin co-producing films that have a budget of over €10 million.
As far as MEDIA is concerned, leaving an international network – and particularly a European one – is always going to be detrimental, even if the OFC [the Swiss Federal Culture Office] plans to put compensation measures in place. It's a real problem when it comes to distributing and broadcasting Swiss films abroad.
What projects have you got coming up, and what are your expectations for Producers on the Move?
We're preparing to release the film Pause by Mathieu Urfer this autumn, which is a romantic folk comedy. We are at the funding stage for the project Tiens ta droite by Robin Erard (being co-produced with Belgium and France), and we are just beginning with that phase for Paul et les filles by Swiss comedian Frédéric Recrosio (a co-production with Belgium), whose cast at the moment includes Stéphane de Groodt and Bruno Salomone. Several other projects are at different stages in the writing process, including a television series co-developed with Anna Croneman and Piodor Gustavson, from Sweden.
Producers on the Move is an excellent opportunity to make new contacts or to consolidate those that have already been established. But it's also a great opportunity to come together to reflect, on the European level, on the latest challenges that are rearing their heads in the world of European production – in particular, the challenge of broadcasting films both inside and outside of movie theatres.