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BLACK NIGHTS 2019 Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event

Anna Różalska • Producer of The Great Match

"This recognition is proof for us that the values we’re promoting are close to all sorts of people around the world"

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- We chatted to producer Anna Różalska, of Poland’s Match&Spark, about The Great Match, which scooped the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award at Tallinn Black Nights

Anna Różalska • Producer of The Great Match

Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event, the industry section of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, awarded the biggest prize of its co-production market, the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award, worth €20,000, to the Polish project The Great Match (see the news). Cineuropa sat down with producer Anna Różalska, of Match&Spark, to find out more about the upcoming film.

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Cineuropa: The script for The Great Match seems like a densely layered and multi-faceted piece of writing. Is that what attracted you to the project, or do you have any personal ties to the subject matter?
Anna Różalska: I fell in love with that story from the very beginning. The script is inspired by the director’s life, and it is set against the backdrop of the 1989 exodus of many Eastern Europeans, who were seeking a better life during the decline of the political and economic prospects in their home countries. The story is very close to me, personally, because my parents also left Poland in 1989 in order to seek a better future. They left me in Poland for six months with my grandparents. So we definitely share a similar experience with the director, Filip Syczynski, and maybe other Poles and Europeans, especially from the post-Soviet bloc countries.

I truly love so-called “from zero to hero” stories. I believe that hard work and determination are the only way to make our wishes come true – those people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who actually do. Filip wants to redefine what real victory means. Nowadays, we strive for success, which is ultimately something exterior – a bigger pay cheque or becoming famous. True victory, on the other hand, is something interior – the fears and limits we manage to overcome. This kind of victory changes us deeply and stays with us forever.

Personally, we at Match&Spark have been representing Filip for more than two years, and as producers and managers, we believe in his international potential and want to support him on his path to directing his feature debut.

The Great Match is planned to be a co-production between Poland, Germany and Romania. Is that combination something that came about naturally, and to what extent has the financing been secured?
It came about naturally to think of this project as a co-production, especially between Poland and Germany, which is where the action takes place. Joanna and Robert from Poland find themselves stranded in a refugee camp in Germany with their 12-year-old son Michał, our main protagonist. Connecting with the Romanian partner was the result of a relationship lasting many years with great post-production producer Cristian Nicolescu, who showed immense passion for this project right from the start. Thanks to the Polish Film Institute, we have managed to secure financing for the development phase.

How helpful is the Eurimages Award that you won at Tallinn, and how does it support the project’s progress directly?
The Eurimages Award will allow us to achieve our essential goal of script development and finding the co-writer, who will bring another perspective to it. As it’s Filip’s own story, we feel we need to cooperate with a foreign writer who’s not closely attached to a Polish-German background and who will help us to elevate the story to a more global level.

This kind of recognition is also proof for us that we’re moving in the right direction and that the values we’re promoting are close to all sorts of people around the world. We had various opportunities to check how the story resonates with potential partners during the Polish Days in Wrocław, Poland, the MIA Market in Rome, Italy, and recently, at Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event in Estonia. It’s really motivational to find out how each person reacts, and we’re grateful to receive feedback about things that still need to be worked out. The Eurimages Award is a huge motivation for us, and we will strive to be worthy of this recognition.

Do you have a specific planned completion date in mind, and can you talk about your plans for The Great Match after it is finished?
We’re tightly focused on the development – our first goal is to have the best script possible and attach partners who will share our passion for this story and the values we’re promoting. In 2020, we plan to finish the script and the financing, and then shoot in 2021.

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