by Martin Kudláč
- Cineuropa met up with Slovakia's Producer on the Move, Mátyás Prikler, of Mphilms, to discuss his workshops, career and latest projects
Mátyás Prikler, a graduate in film directing from Bratislava´s Academy of Performing Arts, made his directorial debut with the docudrama Fine, Thanks [+see also:
film profile], which premiered at Rotterdam in 2013. In 2005, he founded the production company MPhilms. Prikler produced Fine, Thanks, omnibus Slovakia 2.0 and Jaroslav Vojtek's Children, and is also co-producing the Hungarian film Mirage. Since 2008, he has organised a summer workshop for young people from Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic interested in visual and performance art.
Cineuropa: You studied film directing, yet you also act as a producer. What´s the difference between Mátyás Prikler the director and Mátyás Prikler the producer?
Mátyás Prikler: In my opinion, a person has several identities, and for me, it began when I was finishing school – my final-year student film and debut did intersect. Fine, Thanks is a very low-budget film, so I told myself that the easiest way would be for me to set up my own company and produce it myself. After that, several of my friends who were also filmmakers believed that I was a producer, and Jaro Vojtek and Marek Leščák came to me to ask me whether I would produce Children, and so we started making the film. And then the work began to pile up. When I was 18 years old, I was not an aspiring producer; I wanted to be a filmmaker. On the other hand, one does not make a film every year, so I find it much more creative and interesting producing or co-producing important and meaningful films than making a living as a director of television series, for example.
Your feature debut Fine, Thanks premiered in the international setting of the Rotterdam Festival. Before that, a 40-minute version of it was screened at Cannes, in Cinéfondation. Were you or your film affected in any way by the international environment?
That environment is always interesting because the film is seen by audiences who are not really familiar with our context. It is always fascinating to discover another opinion from a different cultural environment. The film’s presence at Cannes also acted as a sort of seal of approval – people still remember it, even after four years.
Can you envisage producing an international project?
I can envisage it, and in fact I am doing it. I am a minority Slovak co-producer on Mirage,directed by Szabolcs Hajdu, and we are now waiting to see where it will have its world premiere. When it comes to auteur films, there should be some logic, I believe. Obviously, where Slovakia is concerned, the first possible co-producer will be always the Czech Republic, which is also due to being familiar with the language. But for me, Hungary is the same as the Czech Republic.
Your latest project, Slovakia 2.0, came out in cinemas recently. How did that come about?
We began talking about it in around September 2011. We found it to be an interesting idea to get several directors involved with the project. In terms of its origins, on one hand we consider the film to be important, and on the other hand it is something that we would love to see ourselves. Slovakia has just celebrated its 20 years – well, almost 21 years – as an independent country, and for the first ten years, de facto Slovak cinema did not exist, so the situation is not very balanced.
You also organise a workshop for young people besides producing and directing. Why?
Well, the idea is really simple. In 2008, I organised the workshop for the first time in the town of Banská Štiavnica with my friend Marek Leščák. The workshop is intended for people who are at a halfway point. Our intention was to create a platform for young people interested in art (film, photography and performance), and from then on, it’s up to them how they use the experience. Quite a lot of people went through the workshop, and a good number of them were accepted at schools such as VŠMU, FAMU and VŠVU during the project’s existence.
What are your expectations for Producers on the Move?
Well, we have Slovakia 2.0, which has already been premiered in Slovakia but not yet internationally premiered; then we have Children and Mirage, which we are finishing right now. I would like to present those as well as one Slovak-Romanian-Hungarian project in development. In my opinion, this initiative, just like similar ones, has one purpose: to connect people. It's a great opportunity to meet new people from our field.