Renata Czarnkowska-Listos and Maria Golos • Producers
"Good stories and good filmmakers always have international potential"
by Fabien Lemercier
- At Arras, we met up with Renata Czarnkowska-Listos and Maria Golos, who head up RE Studio and stage Maciej Pieprzyca's films
Founded by Renata Czarnkowska-Listos and Maria Golos, Poland's RE Studio kicked off business with the excellent I'm a Killer [+see also:
interview: Maciej Pieprzyca
interview: Renata Czarnkowska-Listos a…
film profile] by Maciej Pieprzyca, successful in his native country's cinemas and recognised at many festivals (Silver Lions, the screenplay award at Gdynia last year, mise-en-scène prize at Shanghai, best male performance award and mise-en-scène prize at Cottbus, etc.). We met up with the two producers at the 18th Arras Film Festival, where the film was screened in competition and where they presented their new project Icarus. The Story of Mietek Kosz.
Cineuropa: Why does RE Studio remain so loyal to director Maciej Pieprzyca?
Renata Czarnkowska-Listos: I've known Maciej Pieprzyca for 20 years. We made a lot of films and television dramas together, and when I decided to start my own production company, he was obviously my first choice because of the friendship we have together. As soon as I met him, when he was a young filmmaker and I was working for Polish public television, I knew that he had something special. The international success of Life Feels Good [+see also:
film profile], which I co-produced, and now I'm a Killer demonstrate that he can choose difficult subjects and very different genres and still achieve incredible results. His film about a disabled boy and his film about a serial killer both include the same degree of emotion and they are two very good films.
Is I'm a Killer, with its excellent Polish box-office success and its awards at international film festivals, representative of your editorial line?
Maria Golos: We do not really have an editorial line per se. What matters to us is the screenplay and the director's personality. If we like a screenplay, but it has no obvious commercial potential, it suits us very well, although of course we try to give each film the best possible promotion. The important thing is that the relationship works well from the outset with a filmmaker, because then anything is possible. We have no intention of producing for purely commercial reasons, but who knows...
R. CL: We’re not rejecting the idea in principle, it’s just not the most important thing for us. For example, we have been working on a very interesting project by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz for nearly three years. She won the European Film Award for Best Short Film in 2010. Some people might think it's wasted time, but not us, because you have to get to know a screenplay’s character, as well as the personalities of the main characters very well. Our editorial line, if there is one, is quality.
What is Icarus. The Story of Mietek Kosz, Maciej Pieprzyca's new project that you're pitching here at Arras Days, about?
MG: It's a very beautiful story, a kind of tragic American dream. It's about a boy who is a very talented pianist, but who goes blind at the age of 12. Despite his handicap, he has a great career, but other problems are born from his success: loneliness, depression, drinking, the difficulty faced by a huge talent with a beautiful soul trying to find a place in society and in everyday life... A story that takes place in the '60s and '70s and that we’re hoping will be a fantastic role for Dawid Ogrodnik (Life Feels Good). We already have the support of the Polish Film Institute and we are in the process of completing funding for a shoot that should start next summer.
What other projects are on the cards? People have been talking about a collaboration with Agnieszka Holland?
MG: The rumour is true, but the project is just getting started as we've only just received writing support from the Polish Film Institute. We are also in pre-production for Autumn Girl by Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, which we're hoping to shoot next summer.
What do you think of the new generation of Polish filmmakers, seemingly in full swing and internationally open-minded?
R. CL.: I was really surprised by the impact that I'm a Killer had abroad, because it's a very Polish story. It just goes to show that good films, good stories and good filmmakers always have international potential. Polish cinema doesn't get much funding, but we have many talented young filmmakers, for example Jan P. Matuszynski (The Last Family [+see also:
interview: Dawid Ogrodnik
film profile]), Agnieszka Smoczinska, etc. These young people are probably not creating anything more complex, but it was only 10 or 20 years ago that Polish independent cinema was brand new. Now it has matured somewhat.
(Translated from French)
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