by Alfonso Rivera
- We met up with the lively Catalan producer Montse Triola, who is behind the films from the remarkable director Albert Serra
Montse Triola studied acting at the Institute of Theatre in Barcelona and in several other European institutions, later joining theatrical group La Fura dels Baus and working on films by Albert Serra, such as Honour of the Knights (Quixotic) [+see also:
film profile], Birdsong and Story of My Death [+see also:
interview: Albert Serra
film profile]. Ever since then, her production company Andergraun Films has shaped the projects of this undefinable Banyoles-born filmmaker.
Cineuropa: What has been the major highlight of your career?
Montse Triola: Perhaps producing Story of My Death by Albert Serra, and winning the Golden Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival in 2013.
You’ve worked with Serra many times: what attracts you to working with him?
We began together, and from the very beginning, we did things our own way; the only way things could work. In fact, up until very recently, when he went to the shoot at the Louvre for the last Sokurov film, he had never been to a shoot that wasn’t for one of his own films. We had to invent a new system from scratch on the artistic, logistical and financial levels.
It could be said that in Spain, female producers are in the minority – how does it work for directors?
Yes, but it doesn’t matter; what counts is making interesting projects possible, no matter who is involved or how that happens. The only thing that matters is completing them.
In your opinion, what qualities should a producer have these days?
Having contacts is incredibly important - why deny it? I think you also need to be good at public relations and, finally, have a knack for organisation, direction and seduction.
How do Spanish producers get by in Europe and the rest of the world? How do they collaborate with other countries?
It always proves to be difficult, because the support system in European countries favours local directors. But there is also a longstanding tradition of co-production in Europe. Perhaps it’s more complicated to work in Anglo-Saxon countries on smaller projects.
In what ways do you try to get your work to cross borders?
By promoting the films at festivals and looking for local distributors, even though it gets more and more difficult each time for the type of films I produce, because a lot of public television channels have stopped buying.
As a producer, do you get involved in the creative process?
Yes, during filming I do it a lot. And I offer my opinion at other stages, if needed. However, I give total freedom to the director to make mistakes and ask questions.
What differences do you notice between producing in Spain and producing abroad?
Right now, the differences are enormous because we have the lowest ever level of government support and purchasing by television channels.
How do you see the future of cinema in terms of production, in Spain and the rest of Europe? What is changing, or will change?
Perhaps the contemporary art world could help finance certain projects. It’s an opportunity, an open door that could serve as a substitute for others that have closed.
What projects do you have under way at the moment that you might bring to Producers on the Move?
A unique and original fictional film about a young artist in today’s world. It’s an optimistic and honest story of the modern art world, full of extravagance and lively characters. It will be called I Am an Artist and is the culmination of the entirety of Albert Serra’s cinematic expertise.
(Translated from Spanish)