Gunnar Dedio • Productor, LOOKSfilm
"No hay ninguna jerarquía para mí entre los formatos y los canales de distribución"
- German Films ha entrevistado a Gunnar Dedio, productor en LOOKSfilm, para hablar sobre su concepción de la profesión
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“I have always been interested in historical subjects and tackling them from more than one perspective,“ says producer Gunnar Dedio who established the production company LOOKSfilm in his home town of Rostock in 1995.
In almost 25 years of producing films for television and the cinema, Dedio has held true to his approach of addressing topics from different angles and seeking to experiment and break down barriers whenever it seemed appropriate for a particular subject.
After originally establishing LOOKSfilm in Rostock, Dedio later decided to move the company’s main operations to Leipzig and has since opened branches in Berlin, Hanover and Halle. “We are quite a large operation compared to other production companies working in the documentary field and have 35 permanent staff at the four locations,“ he explains. The office in Hanover is managed by Bettina Offermann, who had previously worked for German United Distributors and has been handling the company’s world sales activities through the subsidiary LOOKS International since 2011, while the Berlin office focuses on the company’s fiction projects and the Halle operation concentrates on the management of archives and archive footage.
“At any one time, there are 20 projects at various stages of production in the company, ranging from development through to release,“ Dedio notes. “It was important for me to create a home where the people working for LOOKSfilm can pursue projects on a continuous basis and within a structure where they can work independently, make their own decisions on a project’s progress and build up their own network of contacts.“
The “film family“ within the company is complemented by another series of long-standing relationships with certain filmmakers or production companies over the years. For instance, writer-director Jan Peter first worked with LOOKSfilm on the six-part documentary series Life After The Wall in 2010 and then followed with more projects. Meanwhile, Dedio has cultivated a particularly fruitful relationship with the French production house Les Films d'Ici to co-produce such documentaries as Michael Radford’s Michel Petrucciani [+lee también:
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Although LOOKSfilm is mainly known both at home in Germany and abroad for its documentary output, the company’s founder doesn’t want to restrict himself to specific genres or formats: “We work with platforms like Netflix and co-produce with the public service and private broadcasters and are open to projects from both documentary or fiction. There isn’t any hierarchy for me between the formats or distribution channels. The important thing for me is that a story is able to reach an audience,“ he argues. “I am always wanting to see if people are interested in what I have produced. That’s my declared goal, but I am also open for experiments if they can break down barriers or existing formats.“
Besides, archives have played – and continue to play – an important role in the work of LOOKSfilm. “We decided to establish our own archive department quite early on in the company’s development because I wanted to have this knowledge and expertise available in-house for our own projects using archival footage,“ Dedio recalls. Meanwhile, the archive arm received a substantial boost this year when LOOKSfilm announced that it had taken over the archive distribution Progress Film’s catalogue of some 17,000 titles.
“The DEFA-Foundation entrusted us with the digitization and monetization of what is one of the largest film collections in Europe,“ Dedio explains. “In addition, it is the only collection worldwide where the film heritage for a whole nation [East Germany] is collected in one place.“ A state-of-the-art online platform (click here) has been created to provide access to this treasure trove which includes films from Der Augenzeuge newsreels as well as classics from DEFA’s animation studios.
At the same time, LOOKSfilm is keeping a close eye on the changes to the media landscape in Germany and at an international level. “It’s been an exciting time ever since the advent of the streaming platforms and we’re proud that we have a chance to work on productions for Netflix,“ says Dedio, concluding that “this new competition could provide that necessary stimulus for the public-service broadcasters to change and adapt to the new order since they are the conditio sine qua non for a healthy media environment.“
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