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CPH:DOX 2023 CPH:DOX Industry

Robin Petré • Regista di Only on Earth

"Spero che il film ispiri il pubblico a riflettere sulla nostra convivenza con la natura e sul vero valore di un rigoglioso mondo naturale"


- Il documentario vincitore del Premio Eurimages è un viaggio in uno dei luoghi più torridi d'Europa, la Galizia, dove i cavalli selvaggi vagano per le montagne sotto l'occhio vigile dei cowboy locali

Robin Petré  • Regista di Only on Earth

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

Award-winning film director Robin Petré spoke to Cineuropa after scooping the Eurimages Co-production Development Award, which includes a cash prize of €20,000, at CPH:DOX (see the news), for her latest project Only on Earth. The documentary is a journey deep into one of Europe’s scorching fire hotspots, Galicia, where wild horses roam the mountains under the watchful eye of local cowboys. These horses are an excellent asset in fire prevention, but now they are vanishing amidst the clash between humans and nature. The project is being produced by Signe Skov Thomsen and Malene Flindt Pedersen for Denmark’s Hansen & Pedersen.

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Cineuropa: Could you give us some more information about your project?
Robin Petré:
Only on Earth is a feature-length documentary that takes place in one of Europe's most vulnerable forest-fire zones, southern Galicia, during the hottest, driest summer ever recorded. In this Spanish region, wild horses have roamed the mountains for centuries under the watchful eye of local cowboys. The horses are invaluable in fire prevention, as they keep the flammable undergrowth under control. However, their numbers are dwindling, and some say they might disappear entirely in the conflict between humans and nature. The film is a multi-character story that brings us close to both people and animals during this extremely difficult summer. The doc is driven by escalating forest fires, culminating in one particularly severe inferno that rages through the night.

Only on Earth adopts a highly sensory, intuitive approach, driven by shifts in ambience and emotion, rather than relying on a steady stream of information. It is my second feature-length creative documentary and my most ambitious project to date, in terms of both scale and complexity. I hope that the film will inspire audiences to reflect upon our co-existence with nature and the true value of a thriving natural world.

What is the current state of development of your project?
We are at an advanced stage of development. We spent the previous two summers, in 2021 and 2022, researching and developing the film's idea and concept. We are planning to enter production this summer, which will be our third summer in Galicia. This spring, I am continuously developing, rethinking and rewriting the outline and forward flow of the film, as well as working with my producers on fundraising. Filming the forest fires and firefighters at work remains a major challenge, but we have acquired safety gear, experience and allies among the different brigades, which helps a lot. Another challenge is the timeline: as we can only film during the summer months, we need to complete all of the preparations before the next fire season begins.

What was your participation in this year’s CPH:FORUM like, and what was the outcome of your attendance?
My producers and I had a productive and positive experience participating in this year's CPH:FORUM. We sensed a great deal of enthusiasm and received attention with our project, and I found our meetings to be fruitful and full of interesting conversations. CPH:FORUM was the first significant presentation of this project to an outside audience, so it has been valuable and helpful to receive reactions from colleagues from across the film industry. After the forum, we are in close dialogue with several broadcasters and foundations, and we are more confident than ever that we will fully finance the production. I'm sure that receiving the Eurimages Co-production Development Award will also be significant for the project going forward.

How are you planning to use the Eurimages Co-production Development Award?
This spring, I will work on the film script and storyboard, and prepare for the upcoming summer filming period. The Eurimages Co-production Development Award provides me with time and resources to do so, and it also enables me to travel to Galicia twice this spring to revisit the locations and people with our line producer. Through these meetings, we will plan the summer shoot with our film characters. At the same time, I find it essential to keep up with everyone involved in the project, both in front of and behind the camera, and spend time with my film characters to enhance personal relationships without the presence of the camera.

When do you expect to have your project ready for release?
As things stand, we’re expecting to release Only on Earth in early 2025.

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