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Three’s a party: Spain, Belgium and Ireland join forces on a potential genre hit

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- The three countries are involved in the production of Jaume Balagueró’s new feature film, Muse, which was also a case study at Frontières@Brussels

Three’s a party: Spain, Belgium and Ireland join forces on a potential genre hit
The case study on Muse, at Frontières@Brussels (©Frontières@Brussels)

How easy is it to get a film co-produced internationally and, especially, to get it co-produced by more than two countries? The Frontières International Co-Production Market, held in Brussels from 30 March to 1 April, shone the spotlight on genre film co-productions between more than just two countries. English-language supernatural horror-thriller Muse [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 by Spanish filmmaker Jaume Balagueró (known for Fragile [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, the [REC] [+see also:
film review
trailer
film focus
interview: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza
interview: Julio Fernández
film profile
]
saga and Sleep Tight [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) is one example of this type of project. Currently in pre-production, the film is being backed by Spain’s Filmax International, Ireland’s Fantastic Films and Belgium’s Frakas Productions.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Filmax producer Adrià Mones ([REC] 4 Apocalypse [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jaume Balagueró
film profile
]
) has managed to get two international partners on board who have added their knowledge and support to the project. Fantastic Films producer Brendan McCarthy (Last Days on Mars [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and Frakas Productions producer Jean-Yves Roubin (the upcoming The Woman in the Silver Plate [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) have come on board through the Frontières networking system, a landmark event for genre film producers in Europe. “A European co-production has to come out natural and sensible,” explained McCarthy. “For example, in an English-language project, let the sound engineering be developed in the English-speaking countries, while you can leave the colour grading for the other countries,” continued Roubin.

“Ireland is a very small country, so it has to co-produce if it wants to have international recognition,” remarked McCarthy, “and the funds are aware and open to that.” Roubin followed up on this by stating, “It is almost impossible to produce a 100% Belgian movie – but once you find your natural partner for co-production, it is kind of easy.” When it comes to financing, McCarthy noted, “European co-productions like these are really slow; there are lots of bodies to approach,” while Roubin explained, “The first 60% of the financing comes really fast; it can get up to four or five months maximum, after which it all comes down to film commissions and institutional bodies, which take more time.” McCarthy gave those present some tips: “It is a good call to warm them up to the idea of the film informally before sending the official application.”

In the particular case of Muse, the film secured funding even without having a final cast attached to it, thanks to the reputation of the filmmaker – and genre film itself. Some professionals would argue that this is the best-case scenario, as the project becomes more solid and this helps to avoid it evaporating if the initial cast falls through. Each co-producer received public funding from their respective countries (the ICAA, Media State Funding and tax incentives in Spain; the Irish Film Board’s Section 481 in Ireland; the Tax Shelter and Wallimage in Belgium) in order to secure the financial side of things.

Still, even with a strong project like this, producers are fully aware of the film production process. McCarthy summed up, “We have to remain creative and think about all kinds of things to make genre films work – there are no rules at the moment.”

Warsaw
EPI Distribution
LIM
 

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