Producers on the Move 2013 – Switzerland
by Winnie Covo
- Just one year after the creation of Close Up Film, Joëlle Bertossa will represent Switzerland as part of the Producers on the Move event, in Cannes
Just one year after the creation of her production company Close Up Film, Joëlle Bertossa will represent Switzerland as part of the Producers on the Move event, in Cannes.
Cineuropa: Could you summarize your professional career for us?
Joëlle Bertossa: I started by studying philosophy at the University of Geneva, then I left Switzerland to attend the Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et des techniques de diffusion (INSAS) in Brussels. I then came back to Geneva where I directed two films, but I soon realized it was not a job in which I excelled! In 2002, Nicolas Wadimoff, with whom I had worked on my first film, Clandestin, gave me a call. He had just set up his company AKKA Films and was looking for someone to collaborate with him on the first Palestinian Film Festival. At first, I was a bit of a secretary, then a production assistant, and as time went by, he taught me how to be a producer. I then set up my own company, Close up Films, in 2012.
Why did you want to set off on your own?
I think that after a while, I wanted to run my own show, pursue projects of my own choosing. And I no longer wanted to work with directors/producers, which is very special and very common in Switzerland. I felt like doing something else. Finally, I think it was simply the right time: forty years old, and a brand new start!
How does it work when you find yourself all alone at the head of your own company?
There is still some sort of continuity with what I was doing for AKKA. I had gradually taken on more and more responsibilities, which resemble those that I have now. There was no real break. Moreover, I was lucky enough to take certain projects that I was handling with me; I was not totally empty-handed when I started out. And with ten years on the job, I had all the necessary contacts, and actually, people came to see me to present their projects quite quickly
What is Close Up Films’ editorial line?
I want to make committed cinema. And I mean by this, commitment in the broader sense of the word, which does not necessarily mean political. It can be a commitment to a cause, an idea, a topic, even a stylistic commitment. I like things to be rather special, radical even.
Do you have a preference when it comes to format?
Absolutely not. I have never made any distinctions, even if there are many – if only in the way you produce a documentary as compared with fiction, for example. For me, it is all about the cinema's vocabulary. I don't have any preferences and, in fact, I wouldn't be able to focus on just one. I find the various genres quite complementary.
What are your projects?
I am currently filming a series on the Pâquis neighborhood in Geneva. It is pretty much THE major undertaking for 2013, and I think it's fantastic. It is quite a new format for French-speaking Switzerland: 6 times 45 minutes, it’s great! It gives you time to talk about so many things! It is a coproduction with the Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), directed by Jean-Paul Mudry. Apart from that, we have just finished our first film, Mal de la Luna, and are about to start sending it to festivals. We have also finished the executive production of another movie called Sam.
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