Cristina Hergueta • Producer, Garde Films
“Despite the situation at the moment, impressive films are still coming along every year”
- We continue our conversations with the Spanish production professionals who are taking part in this year’s Match Me! programme, in order to find out more about their expectations
We chatted to Cristina Hergueta, head of production outfit Garde Films, which not long ago released Los inocentes [+see also:
interview: Guillermo Benet
film profile], a feature directed by Guillermo Benet. The firm is currently hard at work on two projects, which Hergueta talks about at the end of this interview. She is poised to take part in Match Me!, part of Locarno Pro 2021.
Cineuropa: What is your company’s ideology?
Cristina Hergueta: I produce artisan films: they’re arthouse movies made with great care and affection by a small team, who get fully involved in the artistic process. I tend to work with emerging directors, and I enjoy the process of developing movies, which is usually a long and challenging road.
Is it hard to get projects off the ground in Spain at the moment?
It’s very hard, and it’s also difficult to enable these movies to reach the audience. But I don’t think it’s ever been easy to get independent film projects off the ground, and despite the situation at the moment, impressive films are still coming along every year.
Do the TV channels and national bodies support authorship and talent?
That’s not a question I can answer with a simple yes or no. Obviously, the films that receive backing from the TV channels have talent and committed auteurs, but I think that, at the very least, the public channels should be lending more support to cinema that takes big risks. In this sense, when we’re talking about support, there’s been a change for the better in the last few years, and I hope things continue to go this way because it’s vital for the public sector to invest in all manner of offerings.
What attracted you to your films in particular, and what persuaded you to get involved in the lengthy production process?
I would love to have ten more lives so as to be able to produce all of the projects that appeal to me! Each project is unique, and there are different factors that lead you to decide to take a gamble on one project or another, but getting on well with the creators would seem to me to be an essential prerequisite, in order to enjoy the thousands of hours we’re going to be spending together, as well as to pull together in the same direction, and work for one and the same film.
Did you attempt to make your films as co-productions with other countries?
When they were natural co-productions, of course we did. I think the future of independent cinema necessarily involves international co-productions, but that adds an extra step to the production process and everything that entails: more time, more red tape and, above all, one more producer, which means, as in the case of directors, that it’s essential to get on well with each other, I think. If you want to start those conversations off on a good footing, the first step is to ensure that the co-production makes sense and does not feel forced.
What recommendations would you give to someone who has a screenplay and wants to turn it into a film?
They need to devote time and attention not only to developing the idea, but also to setting it in motion. They need to decide who they want to work with, and why. Sometimes, you get sent projects that really don’t click at all with you, and that means that the person who has sent it to you has invested a lot of time in the screenplay, but not so much in thinking about the film they want to make or about their future colleagues. And from my own experience, I would tell them that if the project doesn’t move forward, they shouldn’t wallow in frustration.
Have you ever been tempted to make the leap to directing?
I really enjoy working creatively on the executive-production side, and I had never considered it so far, but I have begun to develop an autobiographical project, and it wouldn’t make sense for it to be directed by someone else, so I would say that it’s starting to tempt me, at least as a one-off.
What do you hope to gain from a rendezvous such as Locarno Pro’s Match Me!?
To meet people who share common interests and, hopefully, get to know colleagues with whom I can collaborate in the near future. Locarno is one of my go-to, benchmark festivals, and I already know beforehand that I will come across professionals with sensibilities similar to my own, so it’s a real pleasure to be taking part in Match Me!
What particularly appealing elements would you single out among the projects that you have on the boil at the moment?
I am working with very different artists and formats that attempt to venture beyond the movie theatres. Right now, I’m producing Los caballos, the new feature by Pedro G Romero, which is simultaneously a film, a museum piece, a concert for horses and a reflection on our way of viewing and even making cinema; and Esto no es una poesía, a project in which we handle the production of short films and display them on multiple screens – they are films born of the collaboration between writers (mainly poets) and filmmakers, in which contemporary texts are incorporated into cinematic pieces.
(Translated from Spanish)
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