email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

“I would like to keep an eye out for potential co-production partners in the Nordic countries and Eastern Europe”

Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...

Katarzyna Ozga • Producer, Iris Group


The producer from Luxembourg speaks about her expertise in international co-productions

Katarzyna Ozga • Producer, Iris Group

Katarzyna Ozga is partner and producer at the Iris Group, based in Luxembourg. She has been selected for this year's edition of the European Film Promotion's Producers on the Move programme in Cannes. Among her company's biggest successes are the animation film Icarus and the Minotaur by Carlo Vogele, which represented Luxembourg at the Oscars in 2023, and the collaboration on the series Bad Banks, which won several prizes. We talked to the producer about her professional ambitions and current projects.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Cineuropa: You came to film production after a different career. What was your motivation?
Katarzyna Ozga: I was born in Poland in a small town where the profession of film producer was not in my family's vocabulary. That means I first studied international relations, then law. I actually came to film by chance. After my studies, I did an internship at the Council of Europe and was accepted into the Eurimages section, where I stayed for two years instead of the initial three months. Since then, I knew that I wanted to work with film. I did the Franco-German Masterclass, which is a one-year training programme. I studied with 18 other people from Europe between La Fémis in Paris and the Film Academy in Ludwigsburg and learned a lot. That was the turning point in my career.

You manage the Iris Group, which has companies in various countries. Can you explain what you do? Are co-productions your trademark?
The Iris Group was founded 38 years ago by Nicolas Steil. I have been working for the company for eight years and I am now a partner and producer. We started with Iris Productions in Luxembourg, and then built up this group from there. A company was founded in Belgium, Iris Films, one in Germany, Rezo Productions, and one in France, Rezo Films. The purpose was not only to co-produce within the group, but this structure helps when you are working on a project and need gap financing. A successful example from a few years ago is the western Never Grow Old [+see also:
interview: Ivan Kavanagh
film profile
by Ivan Kavanagh with Dominic Wright from Ripple World Pictures as producer. In addition, co-productions are essential for us. Luxembourg is a very small country and we can't finance our projects only with Luxembourgish money. Apart from the financial perspective, we love working with different countries. Every project is different and every country is different, which is a new experience every time, both on an artistic and cultural level. Iris has been quite active in the French, Belgian and German markets for years. And since I've also been producing for the company, I'm trying to broaden this spectrum a bit. We are currently making our third co-production with Poland. 

Can you tell us more about the current projects? 
Two projects are currently in post-production, a feature film and a series, namely Winter Under the Sign of Crow, which is a co-production with Poland and the UK. It's being directed by Kasia Adamik, Agnieszka Holland's daughter, and Agnieszka herself is executive producer on this project. We are now in the editing stage. We'll be starting sound post-production soon. The second project is a series called 41 - The World Divided and is a co-production with Germany, Belgium and Poland. It's a special format that mixes archive material with fiction. The series is already in its second season. It is produced together with SWR, ARD and ORF. We are in post-production and the broadcast is planned for this autumn. We will start to work on a major series at the end of the year. Iris has already co-produced Bad Banks, a major series project with Letterbox Filmproduktion. We are working together again on this ambitious project. It is based on the novel “Drone Land” by Tom Hillenbrand. The budget is 40 million euros and it is a co-production between Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland. Global Screen Telepool is responsible for world sales. Oliver Masucci, Sibel Kekilli and Alexander Scheer star in the leading roles. We are also working on another series, which is also based on a novel by Tom Hillenbrand. It's about his character Xavier Kiefer, a chef from Luxembourg who gets involved in complicated criminal cases by chance. The last thing I can mention is that we are working on the new animated film by Luxembourgish director Carlo Vogele, whose debut Icarus and the Minotaur we have already produced. And finally, we are also working on a series with Portugal about gentrification in Europe and a documentary film project from Poland set in the Białowiecka forest. 

What do you expect from your participation in the Producers on the Move programme in Cannes? 
First of all, it's an excellent opportunity to meet colleagues and network. In particular, I would like to keep an eye out for potential co-production partners in the Nordic countries and Eastern Europe. I'm always surprised that this hasn't been done so far in Luxembourg. Now there is a new production agreement with Iceland and this will be an opportunity to broaden our spectrum.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy