“The reality around us is often incredible, absurd and surprising”
Industry Report: Documentary
Tereza Tokárová • Producer, CinePunkt
The Slovakian Emerging Producer talks about producing documentary films and finding audiences for her productions
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Tereza Tokárová: What I really like about documentary films is the beauty of the unexpected. Often, when watching a fiction film, we say to ourselves that “this would definitely not happen in real life”, no matter how hard the film tries to be based on reality. There’s always that word “based” that makes us doubt. The beauty of documentary films is that the reality around us is often incredible, absurd and surprising.
Another thing I like about the production of documentary films is that you are a tight circle with the film crew, you are a part of the whole process and you often fit in the same car with the entire crew.
Last but not least, you work with real people who often bring you different perspectives on the world and pull you out of your everyday bubble. Even though the interests of value and the idea of the world are many times completely different from ours, each film creates its own world where the centre of interest is always somewhere else. That’s what I love about documentary films. Getting close to someone’s inner world helps us realize that we are each living our own reality, which makes us unique.
In terms of documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change, I think that film in general not only works as entertainment, but allows us to present current topics in society, open important discussions and point out the problems, and it is good to be aware of this responsibility and work with it.
Where do you find audiences for your films?
We seek our audience mainly among people who are interested in contemporary independent films, in telling stories through creative documentaries, attending the film festivals... However, our goal is to bring to the cinemas also viewers who have not yet discovered the magic of documentary, experienced it on the big screen with high sound quality. To engage their interest in a topic we are working on, the environment in which it takes place, and all this in the form of attractive storytelling.
What films have you seen recently and would recommend watching?
The films I’ve seen in the last year that caught my attention were definitely the documentary multi-portrait Karaoke Paradise [+see also:
interview: Einari Paakkanen
film profile] by director Einari Paakkanen, which was the type of film that makes you cry and laugh at the same time. The next films are A Marble Travelogue [+see also:
film profile] (Sean Wang), which lives up to the “you can’t make this up” claim, and the most beautiful love story of two volcanologists I've seen, Fire of Love by Sara Dosa.
The next one is Pongo Calling, which is a Czech-Slovak co-production film, with beautiful main characters, a new film from director Tomáš Kratochvíl. The last recommendation will be for the film The Balcony Movie [+see also:
interview: Paweł Łoziński
film profile], an exceptional chamber film by Polish director Pawel Lozinski.
What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects)?
With the production company CinePunkt I am currently working on the distribution of our film Territory of Imagination which is the first feature documentary from director Paula Maľárová and also my production debut. I also have another documentary in a very early stage of development, a film called Paralel Polis, directed by Martin Piga. It is a story of a group of new age digital anarchists.
In addition to working on projects with CinePunkt, I am working with the director and producer Peter Kerekes. In his production company kerekesfilm we are currently filming his upcoming documentary Marathon, which tells the story of a world-renowned marathon held in a small town in Europe. The film should be a Czech-Slovak-Hungarian co-production and the premiere is planned for 2024. We are also working on a co-production feature film called The Ugly Mandarin, directed by Xie Piaoyu, with Czech production company Analog Vision and Taiwanese company Flash Forward Entertainment.
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2024 edition is 31 March 2023.
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