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"I find it key to be present at the shooting at least occasionally"

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Ágnes Horváth-Szabó • Producer

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- We met up with Ágnes Horváth-Szabó, Emerging Producer 2017 from guest country Hungary, to discuss her work with the production company ELF Pictures

Ágnes Horváth-Szabó  • Producer

We met up with Ágnes Horváth-Szabó, Emerging Producer 2017 from guest country Hungary, to discuss her work with the production company ELF Pictures.

What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
One needs to be in love with the project, otherwise it won’t work. The rest? Be proactive, available, adventuresome, but at the same time thoughtful. Have a wide scope of interest. And being insomniac also helps. 

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To what extent do you, as a producer, get involved in the creative process?
My strategy is to be close to the director from the research and development stage and to build a partnership. It makes the creative collaboration possible during writing. Later in the production, I find it key to be present at the shooting at least occasionally, so I can be absorbed in the director’s and the DoP’s vision, and the milieu. This way, I can contribute more to the planning and give relevant feedback on the visuals. 

What projects do you have underway?
Our Hungarian company, ELF pictures currently has the following documentaries underway: a coming-of-age drama set in Ukraine which is in post-production (Nine Months War by Laszlo Csuja); a migrant story in reverse, one that pictures a journey from Europe back to Africa is in production (The New Odyssey by Gabriel Babsi, co-producer Paul Miller - Escape Pictures Inc., Niek Koppen - Selfmade Films, Anamaria Antoci - Domestic Film); a bitter-sweet portrait of a Hungarian lottery-winner couple is in post-production (Paying a Visit to Fortuna by Matyas Kalman). We are developing a documentary about the invasion of Czechoslovakia in a multilateral co-production (Occupation 1968, lead producer: Peter Kerekes – Peter Kerekes Film, director of the Hungarian part: Linda Dombrovszky). All the projects were/are developed with the contribution of MEDIA or HBO Europe. I will soon start working on an inside-out-gender documentary that deals with women body builders (Beauty of the Beast by Anna Nemes), and finish two portrait documentaries: one about Peter Nadas, the other one about Laszlo Krasznahorkai Hungarian writers (Natural Backlight by Peter Gerocs; Chasing Our Sentence by Adam Breier).

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Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival.

Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2018 edition is 31 March, 2017. Click here.

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