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"Vedo un grande rischio nel credere che cambiare il mondo sia l'ovvia missione dei documentari"

Rapporto industria: Documentario

Mónica Hernández Rejón • Produttore, Pråmfilm


Per la produttrice di origine messicana residente in Svezia lavorare nei documentari è un'opportunità unica che le permette di esplorare questioni e argomenti che la appassionano

Mónica Hernández Rejón  • Produttore, Pråmfilm

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

An interview with Mónica Hernández Rejón, producer for Swedish company Pråmfilm, now selected for the 2024 Emerging Producers programme. Read her EP profile here.

Why do you produce documentaries? Do you see documentary cinema as an instrument of social and political change?
Mónica Hernández Rejón: 
As a documentary producer, I see my job as a unique opportunity of being part of creative processes in which I get to explore questions and topics I am passionate about. I see myself having the power to open space for those behind and in front of the camera, to be seen, listened to and understood. But the best part for me is the possibility of meeting the audience. Watching them have an emotional connection, or even experiencing personal transformation thanks to the work we made, is extremely meaningful.

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Yes, I believe the huge possibilities to create empathy make documentaries one of the ultimate platforms to expand perspectives, to transform the world. However, I also see a big risk in assuming that changing the world is a given mission of documentaries. I believe this tendency sometimes encourages the reproduction and reaffirmation of problematic power relations in the name of social change. For example, in the indiscriminate portrayal of non-white bodies and stories to prove political points, or even worse, to get funding. I also see a tendency to reduce the power of documentaries to certain agendas or preconceptions of how social and political change looks. But, of course, it is amazing what documentary filmmakers have achieved in terms of political change, and I am proud to be part of such an engaged and sensitive community.

How do you achieve and maintain work-life balance and foster overall well-being?
My spontaneous answer is that maintaining work-life balance and well-being seems to be an impossible quest for a documentary producer, especially for us working independently. We are very often confronted with the lack of time and resources, financial uncertainty and the fear of not meeting the needs of the production and the film industry. It’s a job that comes with a lot of responsibility and very often, a constant (self)-questioning of our own decisions and capacity.

But, to me, balance and well-being have a lot to do with agency and boundaries. Through the years I have learned to focus on my own goals, on what I want to achieve with each project, both in professional and personal terms. From that perspective, I can feel truly connected to the projects and find it easier to navigate all the challenges implied in the job. I also think it is very important to have good boundaries and take care of myself by distinguishing between what I believe is expected from me as a producer and what I can actually do as a human being. That helps me understand that sometimes the stress and anxiety come from myself, and therefore, I have control over it.

Where do you find audiences for your films?
All of the projects I work with imply a level of difficulty in terms of distribution. They usually address controversial topics, are made with low budgets and by young directors making their first or second film. However, this has also opened new possibilities for me and the team, as we have been pushed to be creative and propose new ways of distributing our films. For example, through impact campaigns or self-funded events.

What projects do you have underway (including fiction films and other projects)?
This year I am mostly focusing on four projects. Reflexion is a feature documentary directed by MyNa Do and Farah Yusuf, which tells a wonderful story about art and friendship as the tools against racism in Sweden. This project is in post-production and we are looking for distribution. Liberté, directed by Martin Möller, is also a documentary feature and it deals with the idea of freedom in New Caledonia from the perspective of two Kanak activists. This is a very complex project as it explores the difficult question of how to navigate the power imbalance between documentary filmmakers and participants when filming from an outsider perspective. Boundaries, directed by Victoria Verseau, is also a documentary feature dealing with complicated issues. It follows the director’s exploration of the limits that she has as a victim of sexual abuse. Both Liberté and Boundaries are in development and we are looking for co-producers in France and Norway, respectively.

I am also working on a short fiction film as scriptwriter, director and producer. It is a drama/thriller about the systematic disappearance of women in Mexico, though the story takes place in Sweden, and it will be a bit experimental with a touch of surrealism.


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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