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"A producer should be ready for unexpected shifts during the process"

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Natia Guliashvili • Producer

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- We met up with Natia Guliashvili, Emerging Producer 2017 from Georgia, to discuss his work with production company Cinemark

Natia Guliashvili • Producer

We met up with Natia Guliashvili, Emerging Producer 2017 from Georgia, to discuss his work with production company Cinemark.

What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
Natia Guliashvili: The differences between fiction and documentary filmmaking pose different requirements on the filmmakers as well as on the producers. Full dedication, patience and flexibility are absolutely must-have qualities when making a documentary film. I’m talking about documentaries that are more observational or that focus on events that take long waiting periods to develop.

Given the fact that unlike fiction, one cannot always plan a documentary project in detail, producers should be ready for unexpected shifts during the process, even when the shooting doesn’t always follow the treatment on paper. A documentary producer should have in mind that he/she is the most important partner for a documentary filmmaker and – just like in a good business partnership or in real life – should be ready to offer creative, financial or even psychological comfort to the filmmaker. This will be super difficult if a producer doesn’t have much passion for the project and only expects financial gain from it. That’s why passion and dedication for the project are equally important for both parties.

To what extent do you, as a producer, get involved in the creative process?
It is quite common for (co)producers/TVs/pre-buyers to have different visions from the directors as to what the film should be about or the way it should be made. I find this very uncomfortable and disrespectful to directorial independence. In such cases, I always think that producers should make their own films on the subject, instead of imposing their own directorial ideas on the directors. That’s why for me personally as a producer, it is always crucial to make sure that I fully understand the director’s intention from the very beginning and that I agree with what kind of a film they want to create, in terms of the context as well as style.

I prefer to work on projects, where the director has a clear and courageous vision and knows what he/she wants in the first place, after that I’m happy to work on details and provide as many suggestions as the project requires, within the framework of my expertise. That’s why it is also important for me to be involved in a creative process from the very beginning to avoid uncertainties later.

What projects do you have under way?
At the moment, I’m helping my friend and colleague Tsira Gvasalia to develop her full-length documentary project Air Guardians. This project is about a woman who measures air quality in one of the most polluted towns in Georgia to oppose a big mining company operating in the same area.

I have worked with the director on her debut documentary On The Move as an editor and have known her filmmaking approach, style and passions for a long time. This makes our collaboration and working process very comfortable for both of us.

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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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