Marta Habior • Producer, No Sugar Films
“If you don’t travel and you don’t participate in events you lose touch and visibility”
by Ola Salwa
- Poland’s Marta Habior, of production company No Sugar Films, has been selected as one of EFP’s 2020 Producers on the Move and she talks to us about it
Selected as one of EFP’s 2020 Producers on the Move, Marta Habior is one of the most dynamic and ambitious emerging producers in Poland. Her latest film Dolce Fine Giornata [+see also:
interview: Jacek Borcuch
film profile] directed by Jacek Borcuch was awarded at 2019 Sundance IFF with Best Actress nod (to Krystyna Janda) and has been touring other festival and worldwide cinemas for almost a year. With Warsaw-based company No Sugar Films she produced Tales of Mexico [+see also:
film profile] (directed by Carlos Carrera, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Carlos Bolado, Ernesto Contreras, Alfonso Pineda Ulloa, Alejandro Valle, Iván Ávila Dueñas, Natalia Beristain) with Mexico, and co-produced The Saint [+see also:
interview: Andrius Blazevicius
film profile] by Andrius Blazevicius with Lithuania. Habior also worked as a Polish producer on Denial [+see also:
film profile] by Mick Jackson and The Song of Names [+see also:
film profile] by François Girard. Her upcoming project is Komers, a first film by Dawid Nickel. She is also very active figure in the local film industry, as well as part of Polish 50/50 by 2020 movement.
Cineuropa: You are participating in Producers on the Move with colleagues from 19 other countries. When you were being introduced to each other, have you noticed any general differences between you?
Marta Habior: We all have similar work experience and similar number of projects in the pipeline – one or two in postproduction, and during filming, few projects in development. Majority of these are feature fiction with some documentaries or TV series. Two colleagues work for bigger production outlets, but the rest of have same scope of business: we are small companies, doing both local and international projects. During kick off session we were introduced by representatives of our local institutions, in my case it was Maria Gradowska from the Polish Film Institute.
All participants will present their projects in front of the group. Will you talk about Komers, directorial debut of Dawid Nickel?
No, because this film is finished. I will be presenting Komers to festival programmers and sales agents. I’ll be pitching two projects. First one is an adaptation of Antoni Libera’s novel Madame. It will be directed by Jacek Borcuch and is co-written by Maciej Karpiński. The other one is Mamahood, a directorial debut of actress Marta Nieradkiewicz about the challenges of early motherhood. Ewa Puszczyńska will be co-producing this film with me.
Producer on the Move is a perfect way to describe you – you’re known in Poland for being very dynamic, always on the go. Is this an important quality of a producer?
Yes, because our industry changes very quickly. If you don’t travel and you don’t participate in workshops, markets and festivals you lose touch and visibility. After years of working, I’m trying to find balance between my private life and networking with European professionals who have similar goals to mine.
It’s a very risky business, many projects are never finished or they disappear after their festival premiere.
So far only one project I worked on wasn’t finished - a directorial debut based on Dostoyevsky’s novel. I managed to complete all other films, but it was a hard labour and an extreme emotional effort. I dedicate myself fully to every project I am working on: I’m on the set every day, directors can call me day and night, if they need me. It’s exhausting, but this is how I chosen to operate. This is why I’m picking less projects nowadays, I’m not burying myself in work. If I read a script I like, but I am not ready to dedicate 3 or 5 years of my life to it, I recommend a different producer, who would make better match for the project. Producing films in Poland and in Europe requires a gigantic effort, responsibility and taking huge financial risk.
What would have to change in Poland to make this job easier?
It would be great if we had a public broadcaster, which could provide a significant financial support to our projects. Most of European countries have it, unfortunately in Poland public television is not a real partner. We can fill in the financial gaps with help from VOD platforms or Netflix, but this is not enough.
You are well known in Poland for your strong work ethics and lobbying for amending production standards.
I started my career in film as a line producer on American and British sets. I observed and learned how these crews work and what they need, when they’re looking for a local production service and delivered just that. I think that we all should mind and improve the conditions we are working in, but I can see that many of my peers in Poland from what I call new wave of film producers have excellent work standards.
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