par Annika Pham
30/04/2008 - Louise Vesth joined Zentropa’s in house production team after graduating from the Danish Film School in 2001. She has worked on popular sitcom series, and low budget films such as Anders Ronnow Klarlund’s How to Get Rid of Others [bande-annonce] and Christian E. Christiansen’s first film Life Hits [bande-annonce]. Earlier this year, she attended the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood for Christiansen’s At Night, nominated for Best Short Film, Live Action.
Cineuropa: What brought you to film production, and to Zentropa’s production powerhouse?
Louise Vesth: After studying economics, I started working at the production company Jutlandia Film in Jutland, then partly owned by Zentropa. I met Ib Tardini [one of Zentropa’s key in-house producers], who asked me to give them a hand on their productions. But I felt I needed more training in film production, and decided instead to take a production course at the National Film School of Denmark.
As soon as I graduated in 2001, Ib Tardini rang me again. Although my first idea when graduating was to test the waters at other production companies to see different working methods, Zentropa is THE place to produce in Denmark, so I accepted Ib’s offer.
How do you work at Zentropa and how would you define your “personal touch” within Zentropa’s in-house production team?
I am free to produce whatever I think is fantastic for the director, the company and myself. As long as the projects are properly financed and correspond to Zentropa’s profile.
You have worked on several low-budget movies at Zentropa, even experimental films. Was that deliberate?
I’ve often been labelled a “low-budget film producer”, but it’s often happened out of necessity. When you work with first-time filmmakers it’s hard to raise the financing. So you have to make them for very cheap. At the same time, working in those conditions offers greater freedom in the sense that you can tell the story the way you want to, without too much pressure. All you have to do is set certain rules and work within those rules. For me, getting a film made is more important than making bigger films, although I hope to make more expensive films in the future.
What is a good producer for you?
I am good when I make the director the best.
What are you working on now?
I am working on Christian E. Christiansen’s new feature film You & Me, based on his 2008 Oscar-nominated short film At Night. Christiansen and I have known each other since film school. Then I am teaming up with Anders Ronnow Klarlund again on a new experimental film, Memories, which will be shot only with stills, for the international market. It’s about civilisation versus. nature. The film will be made for under €1m. Different distributors have already shown an interest in the project and said they would programme it in museums parallel to a ‘normal’ small art-house cinema release.
What does it mean for you to be Denmark’s Producer on the Move 2008?
I still have to find out what it really means. But as I want to work on more expensive films, it will be good for me to connect with other European producers. Zentropa already has a strong international profile, so it is important for me to network and increase my knowledge in international financing.