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Eszter Gyárfás

Producer on the Move 2014 – Hungary


- Encounter with Eszter Gyárfás, producer at Proton Cinema and Producer on the Move 2014 for the European Film Promotion

Eszter Gyárfás

The Hungarian producer at Proton Cinema recently produced Adam Csaszi's Land of Storms [+see also:
film review
interview: Adam Csaszi
film profile
 and Kornel Mundruczo's White God [+see also:
film review
interview: Kornél Mundruczó
film profile
, this year selected at the Berlinale Panorama and Cannes' Un Certain Regard, respectively.

Cineuropa: What have the main stages of your career as a producer been?
Eszter Gyarfas: Right after finishing my first diploma in a totally different field, one day it struck me that what I really wanted to do was to produce films. I immediately started my studies at the Film Academy in Budapest and in the first year started working at Proton Cinema. Over the next few years, I participated in several features as production manager and between 2008-2010 had a detour as the deputy director of the Hungarian Cultural Center in New York. There I felt a growing interest and inspiration to start working on my own projects. Therefore, in 2011, I returned to Proton Cinema, where I had the chance start working as a creative producer. Since then, I have produced Land of Storms and White God over the last few years, and have line-produced several foreign projects.  

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Can you describe Proton Cinema's feature slate?
Proton is always looking for challenging projects. It is a place where all artists are welcome. Quality storytelling is always a priority, but there is no specific genre that we are looking for. We like to deal with difficult issues, which help to describe the reality we live in.

How did you produce White God by Kornel Mundruczo?
I have known Kornel since I started film school. Working together on White God with his producer, Viktoria Petranyi, was a real joy. Kornel's track record and a great script attracted exceptional partners - Match Factory, Pola Pandora and Chimney Pot. This project was very challenging for every crew member - and at the same time extremely rewarding. Kornel is a great creative partner in making decisions, and at the same time, he has a strong vision, which we are all eager to create. 

What do you think of the current film financing system in Hungary?
I believe that over the last few years, we have witnessed clear progress. We had many concerns regarding the new fund, and there are still some outstanding issues and professional debates going on, but altogether we see that a good structure and a hard-working crew are helping our job every day. I am sure that within a short time frame, we can work out a system which allows producers enough space to work. One thing is for sure: we have a financially stable system, and we know we can count on reasonable funding. 

Do you have an international scope involving co-producing with other European countries?
We do. Through our previous works, we have made some great European partners. Also, our production services introduced us to further partners and expanded our possibilities. We are currently co-producing a documentary by Anders Ostergaard with Magic Hour Films (Denmark) and Gebrueder Beetz (Germany), and two feature films with Norway's Paradox.

What kind of films are you interested in making?
At this moment, I'm curious to start a children's project to create something special for a younger generation. At the same time, I encourage edgy stories by young talents who think differently and portray a new picture of Eastern Europe. I feel it is high time to talk about real people and leave the old patterns of our society behind. I would like to reflect something from powerful youngsters who dare to change. 

What is Proton Cinema's strategy for the future?
Proton inspires filmmakers to create first and second features, and helps to guide young talents. In the meantime, we are eager to experiment with new genres. Through supporting a limited number of short films, we would like to gather three or four strong artists, following the artistic leadership of Kornel Mundruczo. We also provide production services to get to experience other crews' and other nations' creativity - it's also a good source of inspiration. We would be happy to get involved in television series as well in terms of script development.

(Translated from French)

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