Rebekka Garrido • Artistic director, connecting cottbus
"In our line-up we have a good balance between new talents and experienced producers"
by Vladan Petkovic
- At connecting cottbus, we sat down with the event's artistic director, Rebekka Garrido, who founded her own production company, Manderley Films, in 2014
Rebekka Garrido started working in the film industry some 20 years ago as a producer, and has 11 production credits to her name, including Just the Wind [+see also:
interview: Bence Fliegauf
film profile] and Harmony Lessons [+see also:
film profile]. After working for Coproduction Office and Celluloid Dreams, she established the post-production services company The Post Republic, and in 2014 she founded her own production outfit, Manderley Films. From 2015, she is the artistic director of connecting cottbus.
Cineuropa: How does the process of selecting projects for connecting cottbus work, and what are the criteria?
Rebekka Garrido: We present ten projects that are at the script development stage or later, on the second or third draft of the script, in front of 150 people: producers, sales agents, fund and festival representatives, and distributors from around Europe. These projects get pitched at two sessions, and in addition to the pitchings, we have workshops for the producers and directors of the projects.
The selection process is very tight: it has to be a feature film, it has to have a producer or director from Eastern Europe attached, or be set in this region. That is why out of all the submissions, only 17 were eligible. I pre-selected three of the projects earlier this year, and the jury, consisting of funders, financiers and experts, selected seven more from the submissions.
Before we pick up a project, we try to evaluate and talk to the producers to make sure it is worth presenting at coco. We present a small number of films, and we don't take experiments. We're trying to look for producers and directors who have a strong project in mind and who are very focused on what they are doing.
What kind of projects are you looking for, and how do you work on them?
We are looking for projects that we think can be realised. We prepare pitchers with workshops, and after the pitching, we put them together with experts who further prepare them for one-to-one meetings with producers and sales agents. That is very important for us because we want to have a very good selection where we know people will be picking up projects. First, we send out the catalogue a couple of days before the co-production market, so potential co-producers or buyers can see in advance if they are interested in any of the projects. So even before the market started, we were surprised to see that there was a high degree of interest in two or three projects.
Also, we think it is important to check with participants what they want to talk about in one-to-one meetings; sometimes it makes a difference if you talk to a French or to a German producer, and just telling everybody that you need the money doesn't help the project. You have to be really focused and know what you want in order to realise your film.
What is the output of realised films from previous editions?
We have a high output: here at the festival there are four films that took part in connecting cottbus in previous years: The High Sun [+see also:
interview: Dalibor Matanic
interview: Tihana Lazovic
film profile], Siska De Luxe [+see also:
film profile], Family Film [+see also:
interview: Olmo Omerzu
film profile] and One Floor Below [+see also:
interview: Radu Muntean
film profile]. Other films pitched in Cottbus that premiered this year are Zero [+see also:
film profile] by Gyula Nemes (Karlovy Vary) and Motherland [+see also:
film profile] by Senem Tüzen (Venice).
We choose projects based on quality, and we try not to choose too many, as we prefer to prepare them very well. Our experts really take the time to prepare the projects as best they can for the pitchings and one-to-one meetings. Therefore, connecting cottbus has a reputation for realising a lot of films.
This year, connecting cottbus includes some projects that have been around for a while, but also some brand-new ones.
There are some projects that are a bit older and have been around similar markets and pitching sessions before, like Son by Ines Tanovic, but we believe in it because she's a great director. Another even older project is When Fucking Spring Is in the Air, but it has evolved a lot and is now in very good shape – the script is great.
Although there are too many pitching markets around, I think in our line-up we have a good balance between new talents and experienced producers.
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