Felipe Lage Coro • Producer, Zeitun Films
“The filmmaker’s motivations are where I find what appeals to me in a project”
- We chatted to the professional behind the works of Óliver Laxe, his brother, which took part in previous editions of the Cannes Film Festival
Over the course of his barely 12 years in the job, Galician-born Felipe Lage Coro, of Zeitun Films, has managed to establish himself as one of the Spanish producers with the most festival-related prestige to his name, thanks to films by arthouse directors such as Óliver Laxe and Lois Patiño, among others. He is now poised to return to Cannes, but this time as a participant in EFP’s Producers on the Move programme.
Cineuropa: You’re already a Cannes veteran.
Felipe Lage Coro: I’ve been twice with a film selected and several other times to work on trying to bring features to fruition: looking for co-producers, distributors and sales agents.
So you must know the two different sides of the festival: the screenings in the presence of an audience and the film market.
Indeed, and they’re not the same thing. It depends which film you are taking along. We’re playing in quite a modest league. But so many things happen there – it’s a very hectic few days.
Visiting Cannes is also an an excellent way to see which direction the film industry is headed in.
Without a doubt, although Cannes is gradually opening up to more content, such as series, but it’s still the big powerhouse of cinema. Perhaps it has less room for other, more experimental or hybrid types of cinema, although these are gradually seeping into some of the sections. But it’s the most important place for film when it comes to the funding, distribution and sales aspects.
And do you know any of your fellow Producers on the Move?
Yes, because we kicked things off last week. Initially, this took place solely at Cannes; then, during the years of the pandemic, they did it online; and this year sees a return to normality – that’s why I applied for this edition. I didn’t want a long-distance experience via Zoom, but rather face-to-face contact, which works so much better. But the organisers realised that having an online component could be useful as an icebreaker. We’ve all already held meetings amongst ourselves, and we’ve introduced our projects and talked to sales agents. That means that when we meet up at Cannes, we won’t be starting from scratch, which will be useful in order to make the most of our time there. I think it’s a great move.
What motivated you to start a career in production?
I started off with my brother, Óliver Laxe, and it was him who drew me to cinema, as I’d had a completely different job, which I gave up because I wasn’t motivated any more. He was self-producing his first film, and he suggested I help him. Little by little, in the process of making You All Are Captains [+see also:
film profile], I discovered what it entailed to create something of your own, moulding it exactly how you want it, and it was a film that I really liked, to boot. That’s where I found the motivation I’d been lacking beforehand, and I decided to dive head-first into this profession.
That wasn’t so long ago, though…
It was 13 years ago – 13 very intense years.
So you reinvented yourself then, by changing jobs?
I left my previous job in October, by November I was getting started with Óliver, and by May, we had the film showing at Cannes. It was like beginner’s luck, although there was a very large part of my brother behind it all, and his talent, of course. But it was a nice initiation.
Starting out like that must have been an incredible launching pad.
It was. From that point on, we started to work with other auteurs who were also starting out in Galicia, hoping to make similar things to what we were interested in, and we also worked on Óliver’s other movies, although Mimosas [+see also:
interview: Oliver Laxe
film profile] proved to be quite a lot more complex than we’d anticipated. We thought that after that initial experience of having had a film selected at Cannes, we would have a smoother funding journey, but it wasn’t the case. Nevertheless, it also got to Cannes and won an award.
What is your editorial policy, or what motivates you to get stuck into the complex venture of producing projects?
At Zeitun Films, we don’t have an editorial policy as such, but rather, because I arrived at this profession in such a roundabout way, I have approached the field of cinema by listening to my intuition – for better or for worse. When I get sent projects to weigh up or to board them, I almost always pay more heed to the director’s statement of intent than to the synopsis or other elements, because the filmmaker’s motivations are where I find what appeals to me or grabs my attention in a project, beyond a screenplay, which can be well or poorly written. At our company, we have worked on fictions, documentaries and hybrids (movies that incorporate elements of reality within fiction, or vice versa), but our editorial policy may now perhaps follow a line based more on fiction films.
(Translated from Spanish)
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