Producer on the Move 2007 - Germany
Following in the footsteps of her older sister and partner Alexandra, German “Producer on the Move 2007” Meike Kordes was steeped in cinema from an early age. Education and experience came to complement her natural inclinations: after a course in film financing and studies at the Konrad Wolf School in Potsdam, during which she participated in over 20 films, she worked as a line producer for several renowned directors. Since founding her own outfit in 2003, the Berlin-based Kordes & Kordes, she has been handling sales, financing and organization. The company’s first feature, Four Minutes [+see also:
film profile], has put it on the map.
Cineuropa : What led you to decide to create your own production outfit?
Meike Kordes : It comes to a promise my sister and I made to each other fourteen years ago. It did not come out of the blue : at age 14, Alexandra was already directing films and handling the camera, so I became a 10-year-old actress. Since my sister was so prolific – she also wrote lots of screenplays – as her little sister, I had to organise things, so I became a producer. Kordes & Kordes has existed for four years now, and everything is going very well.
What qualities must a project have to catch your attention?
Alexandra and I agree that, above all, we have to love the main character and feel in touch with him. I am not set on a particular genre, so long as this condition is satisfied. If the hero of a film did not make my heart beat, I would be a bad producer for that project (laughs).
With its success and many prizes (including the VGF Award for best production at the Bavarian Film Awards), Chris Kraus' Four Minutes (interview) seems a true turning point for you. How did you join the project? Was it difficult to produce? What new doors do you think this success opens up for you?
This film was our first feature for the cinema, and it was not easy. We had a budget of only €1.3m yet ended up needing €1.6m, and finding those extra €300,000 was very difficult. But we loved the movie, and had wanted to work with Chris for nine years, since we met when I was working for Rosa von Praunheim. I was the line producer for Chris' first feature, Sherbentanz, but I could not produce it yet. Four Minutes was a long-awaited collaboration. And it was hard. At first, no one in Germany wanted to see it- the Berlinale did not want it, neither did Munich, it was crazy. Thus, we decided to premiere it in Shanghai, where it was voted Best film. It was screened in America, started collecting prizes and soon, 15 territories bought the rights (now they are 40). After this success, Germany showed interest again and we won Bavarian Film Prizes as well as the Golden Lola. It is amazing how reception in Germany shifted from cold to enthusiastic, and my initial shock turned into joy. I really hope Germany will give me more credit now, for my next movies, although they still won't be mainstream.
Are you working on new feature projects? Do you have international perspectives involving co-producing with other European countries?
I am producing Kraus' new film, Poll, and for this film we will need to find European co-producers to shoot abroad, maybe in Poland or Latvia. We are also working, as minority co-producers, with the American producer Dean Silvers on an adaptation of Isabel Allende's Eva Luna, and we might need another co-producer on that as well. Being part of "Producers on the Move" is a wonderful opportunity to meet great people, and meeting directly like this is the best way to determine whether or not you have a common vision.
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