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Thomas Kaske • Producer, Kaske Film

“Compelling stories, driven by authentic enthusiasm, will naturally find their audience”


- The German producer tells us how he works to convince others to believe in his directors' visions

Thomas Kaske  • Producer, Kaske Film

An interview with Thomas Kaske, producer for German company Kaske Film, now selected for the 2024 Emerging Producers programme. Read his EP profile here.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Thomas Kaske: I produce documentaries with a foundation in visual anthropology, viewing the medium primarily as an art form rather than a tool for social or political change. While documentaries can shape discourse, I emphasize their artistic potential. This approach allows for nuanced storytelling, emphasizing the author's vision. Given the dominance of a predominantly white and male Western canon, my focus is on producing films from stigmatized regions, delving into topics of war and human struggle. The goal is to present these issues authentically, providing perspectives from authors immersed in the realities they depict, thus challenging and expanding the conventional narrative landscape.

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How do you achieve and maintain work-life balance and foster overall well-being?
Achieving and maintaining work-life balance is a complex challenge, particularly in the demanding field of documentary filmmaking. The conventional notion of work-life balance is flawed as it places the onus on individuals rather than recognizing it as a systemic issue. True balance should be a political decision, ensuring an environment where documentary film workers have financial stability, family time, and leisure without needing a second job to make ends meet—something I also grapple with. Addressing this requires systemic change, advocating for policies that support the well-being of individuals in the industry, acknowledging the structural challenges and actively working towards a more equitable and sustainable professional landscape.

Where do you find audiences for your films?
I don't actively anticipate a specific audience during project development. My motivation lies in the director's passion and their unique storytelling approach. Afterward, I work to convince others to believe in that vision. If successful, programmers recognize and showcase the film to their audiences. Overall, I advocate for producing films guided by passion rather than predetermined quotas. The belief that compelling stories, driven by authentic enthusiasm, will naturally find their audience is at the core of my approach. By daring to prioritize passion over imposed constraints, I aim to create films that resonate authentically with viewers.

What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects)?
I am currently co-producing the second feature film, House of Shadows, directed by Algerian filmmaker Amine Hattou, building on our successful collaboration from his previous project. The project is co-produced with my long-time collaborator, Emilie Dudognon from Paris-based IDA.IDA., with whom I also co-produced this year's Berlinale Forum title, The Nights Still Smell of Gunpowder [+see also:
film review
film profile
, helmed by Mozambican director Inadelso Cossa. House of Shadows is also produced in partnership with Algerian-based production company Libre Image. This documentary draws inspiration from Kubrick's The Shining, illuminating the colonial ghosts haunting the city of Laghouat. In its pre-production phase, the project actively seeks funders and co-producers. On a personal front, I am also venturing into fiction film production with directors with whom I have previously collaborated on documentary projects.


EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading 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 2025 edition is 31st March 2024.

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