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Renata Sancho • Producer, Cedro Plátano

“Documentaries are the freest cinematic genre”


- Interview with Renata Sancho, producer for Portuguese outfit Cedro Plátano and selected for the 2019 Emerging Producers programme

Renata Sancho • Producer, Cedro Plátano

Interview with Renata Sancho, producer for Portuguese outfit Cedro Plátano and selected for the 2019 Emerging Producers programme.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Renata Sancho: I believe documentaries are the freest cinematic genre and can also be an instrument of political and social change. Documentaries won’t change the world but they can help to get to know it better and understand it a little more. Documentaries definitely contribute to important discussions and can be a tool in education. I mainly produce documentaries because I like the challenges each project/director creates and I also enjoy the freedom to improvise through solutions for each film. There is no formula, in my perspective.

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What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
Coming from a country like Portugal (which has recently lost a lot of public support for documentary films) I would say a good recipe for a documentary producer these days would be: pounds of patience, dozens of good will to deal with bureaucracy, tons of love for film as an art form and a pinch of madness.

What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
In a world overloaded with information, it’s compulsory for a producer the need to evaluate distribution strategies along with the production of the film. Festivals gained a lot of power and voice and are still an important window for the distribution of documentaries. I believe the VOD platforms and online distributions are a strong bet and have become more available worldwide. The prices have become more reasonable for the viewer, therefore more appealing.

What projects do you have under way (including in the area of fiction film and other projects)?
At Cedro Plátano (my production company), we are finishing a feature documentary: La Visita directed by Irene M Borrego. This is a co-production with 59 en Conserva (ES) to come out in the beginning of 2020.

In production we have Histórias no Convento a first film by Inês Mestre. Structured through a permanent game between the interior and the exterior of the Convent of Our Lady of Carmo of Tentúgal (extinct during the 19th century), old and recent times, fiction and documentary, this is a film about the human capacity of establishing bridges within distant times.

I am also in the writing and development stage of our 1st feature fiction called The Plunge by director Margarida Leitão. The Plunge is a project that has Portugal in 1970 as its background and follows the story of two women. Through a female cinematographic diptych, we “plunge” into the mechanisms of clandestinity and torture that were present in Portugal in the ‘70s, but remain present in modern day societies.


Emerging Producers is a 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 2020 edition is 15 March, 2019. Click here.

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