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Rodrigo Areias

Producer on the move 2009 - Portogallo

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Rodrigo Areias

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

At the age of 30, Rodrigo Areias has been working as a director and producer for nearly ten years. After producing films by Edgar Pêra, João Canijo and other Portuguese directors for the Lisbon-based company Periferia Filmes, Areias has recently created the production and distribution company Bando à Parte. In an attempt to decentralise film projects out of the capital, this brand new outfit is situated in the northern city of Guimarães (European Capital of Culture in 2012) and it keeps an eye on internationally driven projects.

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Cineuropa: Tell us about your academic and professional background.
Rodrigo Areias: I was born in Guimarães, where I lived until the age of 17. Then I moved to Porto to study management at the Catholic University. At the same time I was working as a musician and editor for Editora Garagem, at the time a record label focused mainly on rock music. Then, even though it’s hard to make your dreams come true in Portugal, I decided to fight for them. I changed my life and enrolled in a course on Sound and Image at the Porto School of Art, specialising in the latter. I also took a production course at the Tisch School of the Arts in New University. My career as a filmmaker and producer began in 2000, as I was still working as a sound technician in several films by other directors. Finally, I decided to create my own company.

When did you create the companies Periferia Filmes and Bando à Parte? What projects do you intend to produce?
Periferia Filmes was founded in 2004 and that's the company through which most of my projects have been produced so far. This year I got together with a bigger team to set up Bando à Parte. It's a brand new production platform in the north of Portugal created by filmmakers for filmmakers.

What are the biggest challenges and advantages of being a director and producer at the same time?
Being a producer means facing great challenges, dealing with great investments and some pressure on a daily basis. Producing your own project gives your work as a director more easiness and greater accuracy. I always know my limits.

Unlike most local productions, your film Thebes was not supported by state funding. How did you manage to get it financed? Do you think the Portuguese industry is overly dependent on state support?
State support is fundamental to preserving local productions, otherwise they would not be feasible. The local market is too small. But institutions preserving Portuguese culture would do better focusing their attention on the films' international sales. The singularity of Portuguese cinema certainly has an international potential that should be improved.

As for the non-subvention of my latest films, the issue is diversifying financing sources. As far as Thebes is concerned, we produced it under the Patronage Law and financed it by gathering small amounts of money from different sources. My short film Flow was easier to finance – it was backed by the Fundão City Hall and Cinemate as well as other smaller institutions. With this, we made a film that won six international awards.

Since Producers on the Move is a European initiative, I am curious to know your view on current European cinema.
Europe has two very well-balanced sides to cinema: both commercial and auteur-oriented. They both manage to stay updated even though admissions tend to decrease. But that's a general issue affecting all sort of cultural consumption…

What are your upcoming projects? Is there something in particular that may interest European partners?
We are currently preparing The Baron, the new feature by Edgar Pêra, which has already received some international financial support. This year we are also going to shoot a sort of Portuguese western, entitled Estrada da Palha. I will produce and direct it myself. It will have an international partner and be backed by ICA and RTP.

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