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PRODUCERS ON THE MOVE 
2024

Isabel Machado • Produttrice, C.R.I.M. Productions

“Realizzare film con la visione dell'autore è il nostro obiettivo finale"

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- La produttrice portoghese parla dell'approccio della sua compagnia, della sua visione dei modelli di produzione dei documentari e del sostegno ai progetti esordienti

Isabel Machado • Produttrice, C.R.I.M. Productions

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

Portuguese producer Isabel Machado is one of the selected participants for this year's edition of the European Film Promotion's Producers on the Move programme in Cannes. We talked with her ahead of the event about her company C.R.I.M. Productions, her vision for documentaries in particular, and the current state of Portuguese cinema.

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Cineuropa: What prompted the foundation of C.R.I.M. Productions in 2005?
Isabel Machado: I didn’t study cinema. I come from fine arts, photography and design. At that time I felt a lot of creative energy around me but could see the projects people were doing still needed to come to fruition. Therefore, C.R.I.M. was founded in order to become a structure that would make both those artistic projects and films happen. In terms of the artistic projects, the process itself was more interesting than the final pieces. We started having this urge to document those processes. There we found our way to documentaries. My business partner Christine studied cinema; things started moving and films naturally took over. Not that we don’t do artistic projects, exhibitions and performative arts anymore – we’ve produced those too – but films are now at the heart of our company.

Documentaries are also part of your own path (you’re a board member of APORDOC, for example). As a producer, how do you feel about the work youve been developing in this field?
For me, on the one hand, documentaries have a great advantage which has to do with the flexibility of production models. That opens up the possibility – and this also applicable in fiction – for innovation in those processes, to not just do things in a classic way but instead to find other ways to make things happen. On the other hand, there are now more projects that fit in the hybrid category between reality and fiction. Those projects interest me the most. There's almost this conviction that it’s more the production models that determine the form, and that in documentaries, we find a lot of freedom.

Looking into the diversity in the types of the projects you produce, one can see that you also work with both established and emergent filmmakers.
I was always fond of directorial debuts. Actually, almost all of the projects I decided to bring to Producers on the Move are debut features, as I see it as something truly rewarding: to see this clearing of the path and be able to have different exchanges.

Thinking about the general Portuguese scene, what are the biggest shifts youve noticed since you started C.R.I.M.?
A lot has changed since 2005. But looking into some of the recent changes and the most determining ones, there was a clear need to broaden the number of directorial debuts. To open up the system and not have it stuck on the same ones, curriculum-wise. It was very difficult to get in, back then. That was changed and boosted by quotas, a bigger number of debut works being supported, a devaluing of the filmmaker's curriculum in favour of their projects' quality. Besides that, right now there’s more money than ever before in Portugal, for the ICA. Although a part of it goes to the audiovisual sector, we can now finally see telecom operators and tourism working. That allows more films to be made and for each of those films to be a bit less underfunded.

What does it mean to you to be part of Producers of the Move?
The world is constantly shifting and it's crucial to be observant, we can't assume we know everything – thus for us to be part of a European network is important. We've produced with several European countries but not all, hence knowing what is happening in other countries is super enticing. We were caught by surprise when we realised that other European production companies (all of my colleagues on Producers on the Move) have similar structures to ours. Small structures – I like to perceive them as little boats, not like transatlantic cruises and big groups. Even though some are part of a bigger group, the overall fabric is composed of small companies that make films in a way that I would say is more artisanal than industrial, in which each object is a prototype. It seemed like that to me and I found that interesting. I also think Cannes is still a magical word (more for the exterior than for the interior). It still has its own glamour and a marketing that works. So I think it'll be a good way to promote C.R.I.M.

What can be expected from C.R.I.M. in the near future?
I think more co-productions can be expected. So far they were always majority co-productions, but the idea of doing more minority ones is very appealing. Besides this, we'll continue to try making films with their auteur's vision – our ultimate goal.

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