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Profiles by Martin Blaney, Edna Fainaru, Sandy George, Melanie Goodfellow, Alexis Grivas, Elaine Guerini, Jeremy Kay, Geoffrey Macnab, Wendy Mitchell, Matt Mueller, Michael Rosser, Juan Sarda, Andreas Wiseman and WY Wong

hen I was appointed editor of Screen International, one of the features I was most looking forward to working on was Future Leaders. And I wasn’t surprised in the least to find out it’s one of the most popular pieces Screen publishes, and has been publishing, for the past several years. While the film industry can undoubtedly appear too obsessed at times with finding ‘the next’ whatever (actor, director, genre, trend, etc), there’s something exhilarating about shining a spotlight on the rising stars in the business, the people coming up in sales, acquisitions, distribution and producing. Last year, Screen presented our Sales and Distribution Future Leaders. This year, we turn our focus back to the hot producers around the globe who we think will be the names to know in years to come. With our team of correspondents canvassing the inter-

national industry, we’ve selected 40 up-andcoming faces who, for the most part, are on their second or third feature and who are currently working on projects that will propel their careers to even greater heights. It was a huge challenge keeping the number to only 47 but I hope you’ll enjoy reading about every single name on our list. It’s incredible how smart and savvy these young guns already are about the business of producing. Knowing how difficult it is for any producer to navigate the immense complexities of the film world, let alone new ones just finding their footing in the industry, we can’t help but be impressed by what they’ve already achieved. They all have exciting futures ahead of them and we look forward to toasting them in Cannes at a reception in partnership with Marché du Film’s Producers Network. Matt Mueller, editor

Producers

FUTURE LEADERS


future leaders producers

SÉbastien Aubert France Adastra Films s.aubert@adastra-films.com Past Projects Brides (dir. Tinatin Kajrishvili); Cigarette Candy, Jonathan’s Chest and Social Butterfly (shorts). Up Next Christopher Radcliff and Lauren Wolkstein’s The Strange Ones, a feature version of their award-winning 2011 short.

Rashid Abdelhamid Palestine Made In Palestine Project madeinpal.project@gmail.com Past Projects Dégradé (dirs. Arab Nasser, Tarzan Nasser); Condom Lead (short). Up Next Second untitled feature by the Nasser twins, set in a Gaza apartment block on the verge of destruction by Israeli forces.

Abdelhamid is the producer of Dégradé, a comedy set in the Gaza Strip, which is screening in Critics’ Week at Cannes. The Palestinian architect and curator recounts how he fell into producing. “I was curating an event called ‘This Is Also Gaza’ to which I invited Arab and Tarzan [Nasser] and they ended up staying on,” says Abdelhamid, who is based in Amman, Jordan. The trio started writing about their shared experiences in Gaza and went on to make the short Condom Lead, about a couple whose love life is interrupted by an Israeli bombing campaign. They submitted it to Cannes in 2013 for “fun”. To their surprise it was selected. “I gained about three or four years of work just by being in shorts competition in Cannes,” says Abdelhamid. Two years later, the trio are back with their debut feature Dégradé, about a group of women trapped in a beauty parlour during a battle between Hamas and a notorious Gaza clan over a stolen lion. Hiam Abbass stars.

Marine Arrighi de Casanova France contact@apsarafilms.fr

Past Projects Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey (dir. Lucie Borleteau); Tuc Tuc (short). Up Next Borleteau’s A Mon Seul Désir; Louise Arhex’s Les Petites Filles Sages Vont Au Paradis; Marion Laine’s Comment Rester Immobile Quand On Est En Feu.

“I’ve always known I would work in cinema as a producer,” says Arrighi de Casanova, who studied literature and cinema before entering France’s prestigious film school La Fémis. She co-created Apsara Films with production manager Isabelle Tillou and director Lucie Borleteau around the production of the latter’s award-winning debut feature, Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey. The trio met in 2011 on the set of Lou Ye’s Paris-set Love And Bruises, a co-production between Why Not Productions, where Tillou and Borleteau both worked, and Les Films du Lendemain, where Arrighi de Casanova was employed as a junior producer for Kristina Larsen. Arrighi de Casanova admits Fidelio: Alice’s Odyssey, produced in association with Why Not, represented a steep learning curve, especially on the financing side. She is now working on Borleteau’s next project, A Mon Seul Désir, and has four other films in development, including the latest feature from actressdirector Marion Laine, Comment Rester Immobile Quand On Est En Feu, an adaptation of a popular novel based on a former pop star’s experiences as a maternity nurse. “I like projects with strong narratives that tell a story,” says Arrighi de Casanova.

Simon Amberger Germany simon@neuesuper.de

Neuesuper

Past Projects Ada (dir. Mirjam Orthen); Eastalgia (dir. Daria Onyshchenko); Ice Flowers (short). Up Next Enno Reese’s road movie Rock And Roll, which has backing from regional fund FFF Bayern; Paradise with writer-director Hans Weingartner (The Edukators).

After studying law in Passau, London and Berlin, Amberger decided to embark on a career in film and enrolled at University of Television and Film Munich (HFF). There, he joined forces with fellow students Korbinian Dufter and Rafael Parente to establish the production outfit Neuesuper in 2010. Producing commercials has put the

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Apsara Films

company on a firm financial footing, and they have now produced their first feature, Germany-Ukraine-Serbia coproduction Eastalgia. “Our passion was and has always been cinema and television,” Amberger says. “One thing all Neuesuper projects have

Fresh out of European business school EMLYON, Aubert fell into producing in 2008 when he helped his old friend, film-maker David Guiraud, get his first short off the ground. The pair headed to Morocco to make Le Tonneau Des Danaïdes, where, recalls Aubert, “I found myself in a desert in the middle of the summer. It was the first time I’d attended a film shoot and I had to manage 30 people. On top of that, it rained — something that happens there once a decade.” Both men survived, and so did their friendship. Le Tonneau Des Danaïdes toured 50 festivals worldwide and the company they founded to produce the short — Cannes-based Adastra Films — is still running. “Year after year we’ve been building up a crew that has become like a family,” says Aubert. “It creates a very positive energy on every film.” After an initial focus on shorts, Adastra is branching into features, recently co-producing Georgian director Tinatin Kajrishvili’s Brides (Patardzlebi), which premiered in the Berlinale’s Panorama section and went on to compete at Tribeca. “We’re hoping to produce our second feature fully financed with private equity instead of subsidies. That’s a big challenge for us,” Aubert says, smiling.

in common is the aim of commercial success. The pure arthouse film was never our goal. We are working on a road movie, a sci-fi thriller and an Englishlanguage noir Western.” While he has nothing but praise for FFF Bayern as “a very reliable partner”, Amberger notes Neuesuper’s greatest challenge is in being able to finance genuine genre projects in Germany. “Everything that isn’t a comedy, drama, literary adaptation or historical piece has an extremely hard time in Germany with the classical financing partners of the TV stations and funding institutions,” he says. “One shouldn’t forget Germany was once the genre world champion with films such as Metropolis and Nosferatu.”

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Jannine baRnes Australia Happening Films jbarnes@happeningfilms.com Past Projects Downriver (dir. Grant Scicluna), a slew of shorts including The Wilding, which played at Berlin 2012 and won the Iris Prize for best gay short. Up Next Writer-director Scicluna’s mafia revenge comedy Pig’s Blood, which Screen Australia is supporting through development.

There’s much buzz around Downriver, Barnes’ feature debut for Level K, which is set for a Melbourne International Film Festival premiere later this year. She and

RuChi bhimani India One-Eyed Turtle Films ruchibhimani@gmail.com Past Projects Ship Of Theseus (dir. Anand Gandhi), winner of a slew of festival awards; hybrid documentary short Newborns. Up Next Fantasy creature feature Tumbad and documentary Proposition For A Revolution.

When Bhimani came to her first job as a producer, she had already worked in

mike bRett & steve Jamison UK info@archersmark.co.uk

Archer’s Mark

Past Projects BIFA-winning documentary Next Goal Wins (2014), which they directed and produced; as executive producers, War Book (dir. Tom Harper), which opened International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2014. Up Next A feature-length version of Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s 2014 Sundance short Notes On Blindness, with backing from Arte France, BFI and Creative England. They have also signed a remake deal on Next Goal Wins with Jonathan Cavendish and Andy Serkis’s Imaginarium Studios.

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Downriver’s writer-director Grant Scicluna hope it will set them up to develop and produce other people’s films. After all, they met at a speed-dating event at which both were attending as producers. “I liked his ideas more than anyone else’s,” says Barnes. “I will always want to do films with an edge and an intellectual and philosophical grounding. Australia has shied away from drama but it’s what goes wrong in life that makes it interesting.” Barnes found Downriver’s low budget liberating, helped by her understanding of the numbers. She crossed into producing from production accounting and, prior to that, worked for the marketing department at Golden Harvest in Hong Kong. “Having the responsibility of producing has been a great maturing process,” Barnes reveals. “To fight to get the best people and services, I had to overcome a tendency to self-moderate. It is amazing how many people say ‘yes’ but the quality of the prior work was a factor.”

film-making for more than 12 years, doing odd jobs in almost every conceivable department. “When I started working on Ship Of Theseus in 2010, my vast work experience in casting, art, editing and assisting finally found meaning,” she says. Bhimani says the road hasn’t been easy and still presents challenges. “The most difficult thing about producing in India has been establishing myself as a creative producer in a landscape where the ‘producer’ credit is typically understood to be a man with the moneybags,” she notes. “There is little understanding of a producer being a creative partner so I’m grateful to have worked with directors who treat me as a collaborator.” Attending the Film Independent Forum in Los Angeles and Sundance in Park City has helped Bhimani hone her identity as a creative producer.

Jamison (pictured left) and Brett (right) started out producing shorts before founding commercials company Archer’s Mark in 2008 to provide the financial foundations for their long-term ambitions in film. Their debut feature Next Goal Wins,, about the American Samoa football team’s seemingly hopeless World Cup qualification efforts, was released to acclaim last year, followed by their first foray into

eva blondiau Germany Color Of May blondiau@colorofmay.com Past Projects Award-winning short The Swing Of The Coffin Maker and Torn, a short that premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes 2014. Up Next Engin Kundag’s feature debut Angst; Otar’s Death, from Georgian film-maker Soso Bliadze, about an accident that changes the lives of two families.

Juliette bonass

Ireland Element Pictures jbonass@gmail.com Past Projects Comedy drama Get Up And Go (dir. Brendan Grant), released in Ireland last year; Glassland (dir. Gerard Barrett), a hit at Sundance earlier this year. Up Next In post-production on A Date For Mad Mary by writer-director Darren Thornton. Developing projects with Irish production and distribution powerhouse Element, with whom she works as producer for hire.

“I love comedies and I love social realism and drama,” says Bonass. “They are total opposites but I have been lucky enough to have worked on both over the years and would like to continue to do that.” She recognises the importance of fostering a safe environment for actors, writers and directors to get first-rate results. “Forming an environment for the artists around me to feel comfortable enough to do their best work and to create is important. This means organising everything as accurately as possible. “It goes without saying, it’s important to be nice,” she adds. “People really radiate towards positive and pleasant personalities and will work their hardest for those they feel care about them and their job.”

fiction, War Book, which they also financed. Their slate focuses strongly on real-world stories and topics and while

Film-making as a profession became a reality for Blondiau when she won the Student Oscar in 2012 for The Swing Of The Coffin Maker, her graduation film from Cologne’s international film school (ifs). But Blondiau had long harboured a dream of making films thanks to her father, a commissioning editor and programme maker at German public broadcaster WDR. “I wanted to have my own production company when I was a teenager,” she says. “What attracted me was the storytelling, working with different international partners, learning about new cultures and travelling.” After a stint working in the US, Blondiau returned to Germany to study and make documentaries before enrolling at ifs. “I received some important tools during my studies but producing for real is something you only learn by doing,” she says. “The first projects were very instructive in this respect. The choice of the people you work with is essential. “The package has to suit us. We are very open in terms of content, so, with the right package, we would also produce more commercial projects.”

they view the UK production landscape as being in a state of flux, they also see opportunities. “The pace of change is creating numerous opportunities for entrepreneurial producers,” notes Jamison. “UK talent continues to be among the best in the world and we’re very excited about the quality of film-making coming out of the country.” It is hard to believe the pair are only two features into their careers. “We have a much stronger sense of audience than we did when we started out,” says Brett. »

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future leaders producers

Pau Brunet Spain pau@lapandaproductions.com

La Panda

Past Projects 10.000 Km (dir. Carlos MarquesMarcet), which won the best new director Goya in 2014 as well as festival awards at Seattle, Stockholm and SXSW. Up Next Prison thriller Inside The Box, David Martin Porras’ $4m directorial debut; another debut, People You May Know, from Juan Carlos Falcon; the vampire-zombie thriller Turbed; Marques-Marcet’s next film Don’t Fuck Around With Love, to be shot in London next year.

In his former life, Brunet was a respected box-office analyst and script consultant. But he always had one eye fixed on making his own films. When Spain’s economic crisis prompted a move to Los Angeles four years ago, he teamed with

director David Martin Porras and line producer Maria Aceves to create the production outfit La Panda, which has a presence in both the US and Spain. Their debut film, 10.000 Km, the story of a long-distance love affair, achieved success around the world. “We prefer to make low-budget films and have total control of the project,” says Brunet of La Panda’s busy slate. “The most important thing is to make a good film. If you have quality, the rest becomes much easier.” As a marketing expert, Brunet loves to “work on a small budget, but film as if it were a big production. That’s what we did very successfully with 10.000 Km. Analysing the box office, I learnt a lot about how a film can be successful if you market it properly.”

Rachel Dargavel

Tom Butterfield

US Culmination Productions tom@culminationprod.com

UK Crybaby Pictures info@crybabystudio.co.uk

Past Projects 2014 Kristen Wiig comedy Welcome To Me (dir. Shira Piven) as co-executive producer; Life At These Speeds (dir. Leif Tilden), which Content Media is selling in Cannes. Up Next Coming-of-age drama London Town, co-producing with Sofia Sondervan and Christine Vachon; supernatural heist thriller The Trust.

UK-born, Los Angeles-based Butterfield earned his development stripes at Zide/ Perry (producers of the American Pie series) and is passionate about a range of stories. “I’m a genre agnostic,” he says. “A great story can come from a musical to a horror and any genre in between. In the current climate it’s more about streamlining your budgets and getting the best story up on screen for the right price.” Fighting the good fight for independent cinema is a great motivator, although Butterfield is under no illusions about the challenges. “If you’re not a studio then it’s incredibly hard,” he says. “What’s tricky is television’s resurgence. This poses a threat to independent producers going after the same talent. Casting an indie film is extremely difficult.” Butterfield stays ahead of the game by hunting for great material and working hard in prep. “Get the best line producer and first AD out there that you trust and think of every variable you can. It limits production headaches hugely,” he says.

50 Screen International May 2015

Past Projects Paul Andrew Williams’ Unfinished Song (formerly Song For Marion) as co-producer. Producer and line producer on Norfolk (dir. Martin Radich). Up Next Only You, the feature debut of writer-director Harry Wootliff, and psychological thriller A Place To Bury Strangers are both in development.

Samantha Castellano Mexico samantha@darkfactory.com

Dark Factory

Past Projects Sundance 2015 entry Bound To Vengeance (formerly Reversal, dir. Jose Manuel Cravioto) as co-producer; upcoming Topher Grace comedy musical One Shot (dir. Isaac Rentz). Up Next Action thriller Storage and preparing a summer shoot with husband Daniel Posada for 100 Cries Of Horror for Cravioto to direct.

Castellano regularly shuttles back and forth between Mexico City and Los Angeles, running the expanding slate at production company Dark Factory with her husband Daniel Posada. “I want to bring more indie productions to film in Mexico,” she says. “With One Shot, a new spin on the musical comedy genre we shot last December, we brought 24 cast members and all our heads of departments to Mexico to work with our Mexican crew. It was a great experience for everyone.” From her intimate involvement with Dark Factory projects such as Bound To Vengeance and One Shot, Castellano has witnessed first-hand the boom in her country’s film industry. “It’s a growing industry full of talented people,” she says. “Every day more infrastructure is created by the film-makers and the government grants that allow us to grow at a rapid pace.” As she prepares to step up as producer on Storage, Castellano notes: “The most important thing you need on a film is passion. When you work with passionate people all around, it makes not only the material much better but also ensures the production side runs smoothly.”

Dargavel has worked across the production spectrum, beginning as a runner and progressing to third AD, production co-ordinator, line producer (on Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years among many), co-producer and gaining her first producer credit last year on iFeatures thriller Norfolk. She has built strong ties with Paul Andrew Williams and Ken Marshall’s Steel Mill Pictures, and with Bertrand Faivre’s The Bureau. “I want Crybaby to work on films that are audience-friendly while also having an artistic bent,” she says. “I want to make commercial films that retain creative temperament and Britishness. I’m also a big believer in collaboration. I enjoy film-making as a team sport.” Of the UK production landscape, the fledgling producer says: “It’s tough finding writers who aren’t already working with the more established production companies and producers in the UK. So I tend to work with a lot of talented but emerging film-makers. In time, as I grow, I’ll be able to attract more established talent and move them from out of the emerging zone.”

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Lauren Dark

the Art Cinema award at Directors’ Fortnight in 2012; and Orphans Of Eldorado (dir. Guilherme Coelho), which opens in Brazil in November. Up Next Gernika, a romantic drama set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, which will be his first English-language project. It stars James D’Arcy, Jack Davenport and Maria Valverde. In development on the US-Brazil co-production Cry For Life and a project about Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Brazilian UN diplomat killed in a 2003 terrorist attack in Iraq.

Scotland-born, Brazil-raised, US-based Dreifuss set up Filmed Imagination with renowned Norwegian pop promo producer and director Marius Haugan in 2010. Their focus is on projects with a social conscience that showcase a cul-

tural diversity. “I’m drawn to characterdriven projects with international appeal, historical content and elements of truth,” says Dreifuss. “If I’m working on a historical piece, I need to find a theme that resonates with our world today. They can be fictionalised accounts of historical events or a fictional character and story set against the backdrop of a historical or political event.” He describes producing as a marathon not a sprint. “You have to learn what you like and are good at, what you excel in, what your brand is. Finding great material is not a challenge. But you need great directors to attract a great cast.”

Delmon Casanova and Le Goff ’s first feature Fievres clinched the top prize at FESPACO in Burkina Faso earlier this year, beating Timbuktu. The pair met in the corridors of Commune Image — an indie audiovisual hub in the shadow of Paris’s famous SaintOuen flea markets — and decided to join forces under the La VingtCinquieme Heure banner at the beginning of 2012. “We were both at a crossroads,” says Delmon Casanova, who was

coming to the end of a contract at Commune Image resident Screen Runners, where she worked on Would You Have Sex With An Arab? and The Disintegration. Le Goff was mulling what to do next after producing a series of shorts, including the crowd-funded Alice Au Pays S’émerveille which was shot in Emir Kusturica’s village of Kustendorf and featured the director in the cast. Le Goff had also overseen the guerilla-style distribu-

tion campaign for Djinn Carrenard’s micro-budget Donoma. Hicham Ayouch’s Fievres was their first production. “We met Hicham by chance,” says Delmon Casanova. “He was looking for a producer and we had a good feeling about it.” “We’re not tied to one format but rather look for works with an individual aesthetic, which ask questions,” adds Le Goff.

stances that they then have to navigate out of,” says Fielder from the set of Garth Davis’s Lion. She had one feature under her belt when she was invited to produce Lion alongside Emile Sherman and Iain Canning of See-Saw Films. The film is based on the real-life story of a young Indian boy adopted by an Australian family, who rediscovers his roots as an adult. Dev Patel stars with Nicole Kidman, Rooney Mara and David Wenham. “I’ve learnt a lot about the characteristics Hollywood agents and international

sales people look for in a package that will deliver broad appeal,” she says. Fielder loves working closely with writers and directors throughout the process. “Our small industry aims incredibly high,” she says. “But our small population is not very supportive of its national cinema. It makes the economics difficult and means we lose people to the US.” Fielder’s goal is to make a film every year or two. She is looking to different business models given the challenges of being a boutique production company.

UK Stray Bear Productions lauren@straybearfilms.co.uk Past Projects Documentary Mediastan (dir. Johannes Wahlstrom), co-producing with Julian Assange and Rebecca O’Brien; War Book (dir. Tom Harper). Up Next Michael Pearce’s BFI-backed debut feature Beast, which she is producing with Ivana MacKinnon and Kristian Brodie.

After some early crewing gigs (she was a floor runner on Last Chance Harvey and third AD, second unit, on Kick-Ass), Dark cut her teeth at Ken Loach’s company Sixteen Films, where she worked for five years and trained under Rebecca O’Brien and Camilla Bray. “They were always encouraging me to help out on shorts, hunt down new projects,” says Dark of her mentors. “Rebecca brought me on as a producer to a documentary she was working on [Mediastan], which was a real learning curve.” Shortly after, Dark left to join Ivana MacKinnon at Stray Bear Productions, where she produced War Book, Tom Harper’s follow-up to The Scouting Book For Boys. A Cold War chamber piece, War Book was the opening-night film at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2014. Now working on Stray Bear’s slate, where the focus is on finding projects with a strong female focus (“female genre movies, movies that allow a strong female directorial voice”), Dark is extremely happy in her position, as befits the best lesson she has learnt about the industry thus far: “Work with people you trust and collaborate well with.”

Angie Fielder

Australia Aquarius Films angie@aquariusfilms.com.au Past Projects Wish You Were Here (dir. Kieran Darcy-Smith), opening night film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival; two shorts by writer-director David Michod. Up Next Lion, directed by Garth Davis, and Berlin Syndrome, directed by Cate Shortland (Lore) and written by Shaun Grant (Snowtown). Fielder is executive producing.

“I like films that put human beings into stressful and difficult circum-

Daniel Dreifuss

Brazil Filmed Imagination dmdreifuss@gmail.com Past Projects No (dir. Pablo Larrain), which won

Natacha Delmon Casanova & PierreEmmanuel Le Goff France La Vingt-Cinquieme Heure contact@25hprod.com Past Projects Fievres (dir. Hicham Ayouch); Gravity Zero (dir. Jürgen Hansen); Elephants (dir. Emmanuel Saada). Up Next Lac Noir (dir. Jean-Baptiste Germain), about a former far-right extremist seeking redemption; Ladane Dehdar’s short animation Farniente; Les Phares, a transmedia documentary about lighthouses.

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May 2015 Screen International 51


future leaders producers

Barbara Francisco

Argentina barbara@pastocine.com.ar

Pierre Guyard France contact@nord-ouest.fr

Past Projects Love At First Fight (Les Combattants, dir. Thomas Cailley). Up Next Mikhael Hers’ This Summer Feeling (Ce Sentiment De L’été), about the impact of a woman’s sudden death on her fiancé and sister; Joan Chemla’s Si Tu Voyais Son Coeur, starring Gael Bernal Garcia and Marine Vacth.

Pasto

Past Projects Sidewalls (formerly Medianeras: Buenos Aires In Times Of Virtual Love, dir. Gustavo Taretto); Germania (dir. Maximiliano Schonfeld); El Incendio (dir. Juan Schnitman), which premiered at the Berlinale this year. Up Next The 10th Man, written and directed by Daniel Burman; Schonfeld’s new feature Black Frost; La Familia Sumergida, the directorial debut of The Holy Girl actress Maria Alche.

Francisco honed her craft in a small production company in Buenos Aires where she had the opportunity to get involved in every aspect of film production. It gave her the confidence to start her own company, Pasto, to produce arthouse films and showcase new Argentinian talent. “I’m interested in projects that are authentic and genuine, and working with filmmakers who have the courage to question themselves and the society we live in,” Francisco reveals. She places great importance on nurturing long-term collaborations with directors. “Our challenge as producers is to ensure there is a supportive, creative universe around every director we work with, no matter if it’s a newcomer or an acclaimed film-maker.” Getting films made in Argentina is difficult now, especially, says Francisco, for younger producers. “There is only one source of financing — Instituto Nacional de Cine y Artes Audiovisuales,” she says, “so if you’re a first-time producer it’s almost impossible to apply by yourself. That may force you to coproduce with a bigger company, which sometimes is not the best thing for your film.”

Cristina Gallego

Colombia Ciudad Lunar cristinag@ciudadlunar.com Past Projects Colombia’s 2012 foreignlanguage Oscar submission The Wind Journeys (Los Viajes Del Viento, dir. Ciro Guerra); this year’s Directors’ Fortnight entry Embrace Of The Serpent (El Abrazo De La Serpiente, dir. Ciro Guerra). Up Next The Birds Of Passage (Pajaros De Verano) with Guerra (Blond Indian Films is co-producer). Co-producing Pedro Aguilera’s The Demons In Your Eyes (Demonios Tus Ojos).

Bogota-based Gallego studied marketing and publicity and pursued a degree as a film-maker at the National University of Colombia before catching the producing bug as an intern on director Victor Gaviria’s Sumas Y Restas. “That shoot was an amazing learning experience,” she says. “Five months of shooting, no script, natural actors, killers, guns, drugs, borderline outlaws.” Colombian producer Jaime Osorio was a mentor and also inspired Gallego to map out the kind of work she wanted to focus on. “I enjoy cinema that cares about the audience, with an interesting point of view,” she says. Now is an exciting time as the country continues to promote itself diligently to international film-makers. “In Colombia, our cinema tradition is still being established within the areas of production, audiovisual language, criticism, laws and infrastructure.” One thing stands out for Gallego, she says. “The most important thing I’ve learnt is to listen to your intuition.”

John Giwa-Amu

UK Red & Black Films info@redandblackfilms.com Past Projects Little White Lies (dir. Caradog James, his partner in Red & Black Films), which won two Welsh Bafta awards; James’ sci-fi thriller The Machine; co-producer on The Silent Storm (dir. Corinna MacFarlane), which Sony picked up for multiple territories. Up Next In post-production on the Brit Listwinning screenplay The Call Up, and producing James’ Don’t Knock Twice, one of a number of genre films the pair have in development.

“Even after my first feature, Little White Lies, I still wasn’t hooked,” admits GiwaAmu of producing. He had originally wanted to be a director, making three short films around the same time he pro-

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Nord-Ouest

Guyard’s debut feature, Love At First Fight, was one of the revelations of Cannes 2014. The quirky romance swept the board at Directors’ Fortnight and has since clinched another 20 prizes, including five Césars. “The thing I love most about producing is that I get to spend my life with the people I love and admire most in the film industry — the directors,” says Guyard. “I don’t have a preferred genre but I’m attracted to a certain type of film-maker, with a personal and radical style.” He was destined for a career in economic research before changing course. “I ran the student cinema club; it was the spur, if you like. I’d always dreamt of working in film and decided to take the plunge,” says Guyard, who headed to France’s renowned La Fémis film school after earning his economics degree. After graduating from La Fémis, he went to work in the finance department of Christophe Rossignol’s production company Nord-Ouest, where he handled the financial and legal side of 15 features before becoming an associate producer four years ago. Around the same time, he also co-founded the Indefilm Sofica tax shelter aimed at first and second features. “I work with complete editorial and financial independence,” says Guyard, “but I have the advantage of being part of the Nord-Ouest family.”

duced Little White Lies in 2006. “It wasn’t until I focused only on producing that I began to enjoy it.” The Welshman is now keen to develop an eclectic slate. “The first feature I pro-

duced was a black comedy about racism, my last was a high-concept sci-fi,” he smiles. “My shorts aimed to explore character and human nature whereas the films I most often go to see are highconcept thrillers, action and sci-fi. In a perfect world I’ll continue to do both.” Giwa-Amu has a good understanding of the challenging distribution landscape, having taken an alternative distribution route on The Machine, winner of a Screen Award for Best Home Entertainment Campaign. “That 12-month journey taught me an incalculable amount of what happens after a film is made,” he says. “I’d encourage all producers of lower budget films to go on that journey.”

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tom heRn

“You can’t compromise on the things that matter,” says Hern of the main lesson learnt from The Dark Horse, one of the titles that made 2014 an “awesome” year for New Zealand film. “The singular vision that James and I had was a big part of its success.” Hern believes films made in New Zealand can have an impact internationally, as long as it is planned for from the outset. “The Dark Horse was first and foremost about honouring the integ-

New Zealand Four Knights Films tom@4knightsfilm.com Past Projects Everything We Loved (dir. Max Currie); The Dark Horse (dir. James Napier Robertson), which won the audience award at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam and, at home, is one of the top 10 independent local hits of all time. Up Next A remake of 1980s local hit Goodbye Pork Pie, to be directed by Matt Murphy, son of the original director Geoff Murphy.

mikkel JeRsin Denmark mikkel@nimbusfilm.dk

Nimbus Film

Past Projects Sparrows (dir. Runar Runarsson); co-producer on Joachim Trier’s Competition entry Louder Than Bombs. Up Next Co-producing Pernilla August’s The Serious Game, now shooting in Sweden and Budapest. As lead producer, Mikkel Serup’s Second Best, a feel-good drama about a Ugandan boxer who moves to provincial Denmark. He is also developing a pan-Nordic TV drama series.

Jersin studied business at Copenhagen Business School before studying producing at the National Film School of Denmark (NFSD). That business background is important, he says, because “it helps me understand what it takes to run a company”. His creative background is also key: “I directed a short doc at film school and I learnt I was much better at producing. A lot of producers have a broken dream in their stomach [to direct], but now I’m exactly where I want to be.” At NFSD, he met Icelandic director Runar Runarsson and produced his second feature Sparrows. “I really admire his craftsmanship,” says Jersin, who was headhunted out of film school by Nimbus Film’s Lars Bredo Rahbek. “Lars is my role model; when he asked me to work with him, it was my chance for a master apprenticeship,” Jersin recalls of serving as assistant or co-producer on The Hour Of The Lynx, Itsi Bitsi and Virgin Mountain. Louder Than Bombs and Sparrows both represent auteur voices telling impactful dramatic stories. “I want to make movies that make a difference,” says Jersin, “films that will remain with audiences after they watch them.”

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olivieR kaemPfeR UK Parkville Pictures info@parkvillepictures.com Past Projects Borrowed Time (dir. Jules Bishop), made under Film London’s Microwave initiative; Desiree Akhavan’s 2014 Sundance hit Appropriate Behaviour, as executive producer. Up Next In post-production on writer-director Alex Taylor’s Spaceship, made with Creative England, BFI and BBC Films’ iFeatures support. Cleaning Up, Bishop’s follow-up to Borrowed Time; rural thriller Shepherd; and Akhavan’s next film, also in an executive producer capacity.

Of Dutch, Swiss and Italian heritage, Kaempfer was born in the UK, spent

david kaPlan US Animal Kingdom dk@animalkingdomfilms.com Past Projects Independent horror hit It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell). Multiple festival awardwinner Short Term 12 (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton) as executive producer. Up Next In post-production on adventure film Kicks from first-time director Justin Tipping. Targeting a summer shoot for Tramps, Adam Leon’s follow-up to SXSW 2012 entry Gimme The Loot.

New York-based Kaplan got his first job at UTA in Los Angeles before returning to the Big Apple to work as assistant to Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler at Killer Films, where he ended up running development. After a stint at Cinetic Media, he cofounded Animal Kingdom with Joshua Astrachan, backed by Wall Street veteran Fred Green. The independent business, says Kaplan, is

five years in New York and studied in Italy, Scotland and at the Sorbonne. In other words, he has the ideal pedigree to be an international-facing producer. Kaempfer began as a producer’s assistant in Rome, graduated with an MA from London Film School and set up Parkville Pictures in 2007. His first feature was Borrowed Time, which was selected for the Film London Microwave scheme in 2010. Determined to get a theatrical release for the film, he pursued the self-distribution route, launching a Kickstarter campaign for P&A funds, “the first film in the UK to do so at the time”. “It was a steep learning curve,” says Kaempfer, “discovering the hard way that the job isn’t over when the film is complete.” Since January 2014, Kaempfer has been senior executive of Film London’s Microwave feature production fund and he now splits his time between both roles. “As an independent producer, your role now needs to be far more integrated across the lifecycle of a film than it ever was before.”

“incredibly hard”, but also worth the blood, sweat and tears. “The greatest challenge independent producers now face is confronting the conventional wisdom about what kind of independent films will be getting made — what’s a commercial independent film and what’s a safe bet,” he says. “You talk to financiers and they’re looking for certain things — foreign sales and a certain level of casting. It’s a dangerous environment because it stunts creativity.” Kaplan believes the trick is to be bold. “If you believe a script is incredible or a film-maker is immensely talented and you have a budget plan that seems reasonable, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks — that’s the movie you should try to make.”

rity of the story, but it announced us to the international marketplace and we’re leveraging that with more ambitious films and aspirations,” he explains. Irish producer David Collins has invited Hern to join the UK-Ireland collaboration A Long Way Home, a comingof-age film in development. Hern is also working with Karl Zohrab, a fellow Kiwi, on The Conductor, a true story set in Leningrad during the Second World War.

gioRgos kaRnavas

Greece Heretic Productions giorgos@heretic.gr Past Projects Wasted Youth (dirs. Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Jan Vogel), Boy Eating The Bird’s Food (dir. Ektoras Lygizos), The Eternal Return Of Antonis Paraskevas (dir. Elina Psikou). Up Next Psikou’s next film, Son Of Sofia, will start shooting in late July. In development on Panos Karnezis’s The Birthday Party.

Hailing from a political science and economics background, Karnavas cut his teeth as general manager of the Athens-based production house Stefi Films, before producing his first film, Wasted Youth, which opened International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2011. His subsequent projects, the Karlovy Vary, Montreal and Galway-feted Boy Eating The Bird’s Food, and Elina Psikou’s The Eternal Return Of Antonis Paraskevas, confirmed Karnavas’s taste for “risk and working with first-time directors”. Faced with the adverse economic situation in Greece, “where the scene is booming with talent but the funding system is unstable”, Karnavas set up Heretic Productions with fellow producer Konstantinos Kontovrakis. While it has proved a big challenge, Karnavas makes it clear “it was a necessary step to build up our roster of directors and also move into sales”. Heretic Outreach launched at this year’s Berlinale and is selling Tudor Giurgiu’s Panorama 2015 entry Why Me?.

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future leaders producers

eitan mansuRi

Israel Spiro Films eitanmansuri@gmail.com

milos loChmann Czech Republic milos@molokofilm.com

Moloko Film

Past Projects The Way Out (dir. Petr Vaclav), which won four 2014 Czech Critics Awards including best film and best director. Up Next Ad Acta, based on the novel by the Parisbased Czech writer Patrik Ourednik, to be directed by the Rafani collective.

adam kassan US ak@sixth-and-idaho.com

6th & Idaho Productions

Past Projects Executive producer on David Ayer’s End Of Watch and co-executive producer on the upcoming Johnny Depp crime drama Black Mass (dir. Scott Cooper). Up Next Dan Futterman’s A Shot In The Eye and an untitled Matt Charman project, both at Fox Searchlight.

After excelling as a senior executive for some of the brightest producers and executives in the business, Los Angeles-born Kassan is about to try his hand as a producer with an exciting new partner: director Matt Reeves (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Cloverfield) of 6th & Idaho Productions. Kassan’s first industry job was at Miramax in New York before he relocated to Los Angeles to work for Jeremy Kleiner at Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner’s Plan B Entertainment. He was John Lesher’s first assistant at Paramount Vantage and climbed to vice-president of production before joining Lesher at Le Grisbi Productions. “I was fortunate enough to have been mentored separately by two Academy Award-winning producers with unbelievable taste and relationships,” says Kassan. At the end of last year, he joined Reeves’ Fox-based 6th & Idaho as executive vice-president, saying: “It was always my goal to produce and work with a film-maker, ultimately.” Favouring “well-crafted, character-based, meaningful narratives”, Kassan knows only too well the pitfalls of production. “Anything worth doing is not easy. Matt is a creative powerhouse whose intellect and emotional compass make it all worthwhile.”

mike maCmillan

Canada Lithium Studios Productions hello@lithiumstudios.com Past projects Slamdance 2014 selection I Put A Hit On You (dirs. Dane Clark, Linsey Stewart) and Toronto 2014 favourite Guidance (dir. Pat Mills). Up Next Mills’ Guidance follow-up Don’t Talk To Irene and several films for director Bruce McDonald, including the sequel Pontypool Changes.

In 2007, Toronto-based MacMillan was running a web company and clients were starting to ask for video content. “I fell in love instantly with filming,” he recalls. “Within three years, my company completely shifted

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its focus to film-making. Our concentration is on feature film projects that fit a genre-meets-arthouse criteria. “We like to develop material from early on and we champion directors with unique voices.” It has not been easy establishing

After graduating from Prague’s legendary FAMU film school, Lochmann worked as a commercials producer and a producer for hire to gain experience, before becoming a partner in Moloko Film in 2011. His aim is “to concentrate on artistically strong local stories with a global message”, but he points out how difficult it is to finance Czech films from domestic sources. “Czech producers are forced to search for co-production partners, particularly with our neighbours Poland and Slovenia,” he explains. “More and more of us are trying to develop and produce projects internationally, in order to reach a wider European and global audience.” One of his biggest challenges to date was casting The Way Out with Roma actors. “We travelled from town to town, visited dance parties and looked on Facebook. We organised improvised casting sessions across the country,” says Lochmann. “It took us six months and we ended up driving more than 20,000km to cast all the parts.”

the business but MacMillan and his Lithium team are getting there. “You think you’re capable and you work diligently for years to show that you’re ready. At some point, though, the industry needs to champion you and let you in,” he says. Working in Canada is a huge benefit. “We have some amazing resources at our disposal for both production and development, good tax credits, and a robust and talented industry willing to help bring projects to life,” says MacMillan, who has learned some “tough but important lessons” along the way. “The things you say no to are just as important as the things you say yes to.”

Past Projects The Wanderer (dir. Avishai Sivan) as associate producer; The Cutoff Man (dir. Idan Hubel); The Congress (dir. Ari Folman); Staircases (L’Esprit De L’Escalier, dir. Elad Keidan), which is screening out of competition in Official Selection. Up Next In production on Yoni Geva’s children’s fantasy film Aboulele and Hagar Ben-Asher’s The Burglar. In pre-production on Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot. Developing new projects by Talia Lavie and Nir Bergman.

Mansuri attended the Sam Spiegel School in Jerusalem intending to become a photographer. He briefly considered directing but has finally became a producer. “Ari Folman is responsible, to a great extent, for my becoming an independent producer,” says Mansuri. “His invitation to join as a delegate producer on The Congress gave me the rare chance to sit in the cockpit not only with other international producers but also to work with first-rate actors from all over the world.” With that experience under his belt, Mansuri’s aim now is to get involved in original projects of every genre and kind “but focus mainly on local themes which, if treated in depth, have a better chance of attracting a worldwide audience”. Producing an Israeli feature can be a complex process, thanks to the dearth of private equity, lack of commitment from local broadcasters and an almost total reliance on state funds. “This is the reason we always need co-production partners,” notes Mansuri. “The only exception among the films I have produced is Staircases, which was half funded by private investment and Elie Meirovitz’s EZ Films.”

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Rainbow (Dhanak, dir. Nagesh Kukunoor). Up Next Neeraj Ghaywan’s Fly Away Solo (Masaan), set to screen in Un Certain Regard at Cannes.

manish mundRa India mmundra@gmail.com

Drishyam

Past Projects Ankhon Dekhi (dir. Rajat Kapoor); Sundance audience award-winner Umrika (dir. Prashant Nair); Berlinale Grand Prix winner

Despite being a newcomer to the business, Mundra has already backed films that have won prizes at Sundance and Berlin. The CEO of Nigeria-based oil company Indorama Eleme, Mundra says social media inadvertently drew him into film. “Film-maker Rajat Kapoor was venting on Twitter about the lack of producers willing to back good scripts so I tweeted him to say I would produce his film,” he recalls. The result was family drama Ankhon Dekhi, which won critical acclaim both in India and overseas.

“I get connected with stories based on human relationships and behaviour,” says Mundra. “I want to produce simple, brave, content-driven films.” Offering an alternative to Bollywood, films backed by Mundra include Prashant Nair’s Umrika, which won the audience award in Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition, and Nagesh Kukunoor’s Rainbow (Dhanak), which won two prizes in Berlin’s Generation Kplus section. With Neeraj Ghaywan’s Fly Away Solo (Masaan) in Cannes, Mundra acknowledges he still has lessons to learn. “My greatest challenge has been getting sales and distribution of the film right,” he says. “I am still learning.”

fidel namisi South Africa Coal Stove Pictures fidel@coalstove.co.za Past Projects Hear Me Move (dir. Scottnes L Smith), as writer and executive producer. Up Next Hear 2 Move; Bring Back Lost Lover.

Kenya-born, Johannesburg-based Namisi is an experienced producer aged just 32. He started making lowbudget documentaries in high school before attending film school at University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and began his career as a TV screenwriter before also segueing into producing (Namisi’s TV credits, as producer and/or writer, include the mini-series Remix). His Johannesburg-based company Coal Stove Pictures is a collaboration with director Scottnes L Smith and actor Wandile Molebatsi. Their latest feature Hear Me Move is an audiencefriendly drama about a street dancer’s son trying to uncover the truth about his father’s death. It was released to strong local response in February and represents the sort of

local-to-global story that Namisi wants to emphasise. “It captures the heart of South African contemporary culture in a story genre that has international appeal,” he says.

No wonder the Coal Stove team already has a sequel, Hear 2 Move, in the works. Other future projects include a US-South Africa set romantic comedy, Bring Back Lost Lover.

After graduating in 2007, he joined Kinoslovo as a creative producer on several TV movies, becoming the head of development for new TV projects and

handling debuts by film-makers, such as Alexander Kott, who are now among Russia’s most acclaimed directors. A key interest for Odynin is portraying stories about the perception of Russian people from a Western perspective and viceversa. He believes “you must have ambitious ideas that truly inspire you”. His philosophy is that you have to get your hands dirty. “You won’t get a complete result unless you really get involved, or are always ready to get involved, in all of the dirty work yourself,” he says.

Pavel odynin

Russia Pavel Odynin’s Film Company odynin@gmail.com Past projects TV movies Stranger and Belly Dancing. Up Next Anna Fenchenko’s The Woman From Ingria; Russia-UK co-production On The Edge Of The Abyss, a historical thriller about the assassination of Grand Duke Michael Romanov and his English secretary Brian Johnson.

Odynin comes from a film-making family but planned to study economics before his father, a documentary film-maker, introduced him to Moscow’s VGIK film school. “I was amazed by the atmosphere there,” he says.

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andRea PaRis & matteo RoveRe

Italy Ascent Films info@ascentfilm.com Past Projects I Can Quit Whenever I Want (Smetto Quando Voglio, dir. Sydney Sibilia). Up Next I Can Quit Whenever I Want 2 and 3; Costanza Quatriglio’s He Looks Like My Son (Sembra Mio Figlio); Fabio Mollo’s White Shadows.

Andrea Paris (pictured above) and Matteo Rovere (below) of Romebased Ascent Films broke onto the big screen in 2014 with I Can Quit Whenever I Want, about a group of overqualified, unemployed thirtysomethings who set up a ‘smartdrug’ ring. Audiences and critics warmed to the high-octane comedy, produced with industry veteran Domenico Procacci. It grossed $4.4m (¤4m) at the local box office and won praise for its original take on Italy’s youth unemployment. “Production is a difficult job, especially in recent years in Italy, and an element of risk is fundamental in the choice of projects,” says Paris. “We’ve learnt it’s important to dare and have returned to producing genre films, not just comedies or dramas.” Paris, who is among this year’s intake of new producers at the Ateliers du Cinéma Européen, founded Ascent in 2003. “I met Matteo in 2005 through a film he proposed as a director and we’ve been working together e v e r s i n c e . He became a partner in 2008,” he says. The company now has a number of features in the pipeline including two I Can Quit sequels.

Matteo Rovere

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future leaders producers

Pedro Hernandez Santos Spain Aqui y Alla Films info@aquiyallafilm.com

Mike Pruss US Scott Free mpruss@scottfree.com Past Projects Co-produced Drake Doremus’s 2013 Sundance entry Breathe In and produced the writerdirector’s Equals, currently in post. Up Next Lining up The Burning Woman with Anne Hathaway.

London-born, Los Angeles-based Pruss cut his teeth at DreamWorks, worked as a production and development assistant at Paramount and a creative executive at Focus Features. After serving as vice-president of production at Steven Rales’ Indian Paintbrush, Pruss moved over to Ridley Scott’s US outfit as executive vice-president of production. “I was, and am, really lucky to have great mentors,” he says. “Geoff Stier at Paramount, Mark Roybal at Indian Paintbrush, and now Ridley Scott and Michael Schaefer at Scott Free.” Of all the lessons Pruss has learned, one stands out in the mind of the young producer: “Someone once said to me it’s all about the three ‘Ps’, passion, preparation and perseverance. “It’s hard, or harder, in all spaces now,” he says. “The entertainment business has changed irrevocably in the past decade. But the old adage is true — if you have a great piece of material and a great attitude you will attract top-level talent.”

Bendik Heggen Stronstad Norway Yesbox Productions bendik@yesbox.no Past Projects Thale (dir. Aleksander Nordaas); Kano (dir. Paul Tunge). Up Next In post-production on Pal Oie’s horror Villmark 2; Nordaas’s Morkel The Moss Monster; and Thale 2.

Oslo-based Stronstad, 32, studied film at Bergen’s Noroff University and in his spare time was part of a group that set up

56 Screen International May 2015

Past Projects Aqui y Alla (dir. Antonio Mendez Esparza), which won the Grand Prix in Critics’ Week at Cannes 2011; the Goya-winning Magical Girl (dir. Carlos Vermut); Talk (Hablar, dir. Joaquin Oristrell). Up Next Las Furias, the $2m feature debut of Miguel del Arco, will shoot in August with backing from TVE. David Galan Galindo’s comedy thriller Secret Origins is in pre-production.

A trained engineer working as a general manager in a shopping mall, Santos’ life veered off in an unexpected direction when Antonio Mendez Esparza, knowing of his friend’s love for auteur cinema, asked for help on his avant-garde debut Aqui y Alla. “We did that film with a very low budget and I invested some of my own money,” he says. “It was a crazy thing to do because we didn’t even have tickets to get back home from Mexico, where we shot the film. Not having experience was a good thing because you only do these kinds of adventures being a little unconscious.” Santos had the bug. After the film, Santos and Esparza set up Aqui y Alla Films and share a vision about the type of movies they want to make. “We want to make films with a strong personality,” says Santos. “International sales are a top priority for us and there is an interest abroad in original Spanish films. “I truly believe we can make films for ¤500,000 [$547,000] and make them profitable,” he continues. “As long as you make good films, there is a small audience in every territory that is interested in auteur cinema.”

production company Yesbox in 2005 to work on Aleksander Nordaas’s debut feature Circle. A decade on, he and Nordaas continue to run the company and their latest collaboration is 2012 SXSW and Toronto selection Thale. The low-budget thriller about a mysterious creature is representative of the kinds of stories to which Stronstad is drawn. “I like projects with a mythical, fantastic and supernatural touch to them, projects that take you into an unknown universe,” he says. “We have

Lucan Toh, Emily Leo & Oliver Roskill UK info@wigwamfilms.com

Wigwam Films

Past Projects Having You (dir. Sam Hoare), starring Anna Friel, Romola Garai and Andrew Buchan; US indie drama Before I Disappear (dir. Shawn Christensen), which picked up the SXSW 2014 Audience Award. Up Next Under The Shadow, directed by Bafta-nominated Babak Anvari, is shooting in Jordan. Sci-fi action film iBoy, shooting in August with Adam Randall directing. In development on a dance film written by Gabriel Bisset-Smith and a supernatural thriller based on Liz Jensen’s bestseller The Rapture.

Wigwam founders Toh, Leo and Roskill (pictured, clockwise from left) herald from production, development and commercials backgrounds, respectively. Before making shorts, Leo cut her teeth at Capitol Films and Shine Pictures, Toh set up Holland Park Pictures in 2009 and Roskill worked as a producer for Filmworks Dubai. “We ditched our jobs and the prospect of steady incomes and just took the plunge,” says Toh. “At the time it felt like a huge risk but we knew we had the basis of a good team, and we went out knocking on doors, eventually raising a small development pot and enough to kickstart the company.” Toh adds: “We’re very director and writer led. We like taking risks and we want to break new ground. But reaching audiences is key for us; we want to be here in 10, 20 years, so we’re very conscious of social trends and we want to tell the types of stories that capture the zeitgeist.” Mantras for the London-based company include: “Content is key. Always.” And “Patience. Urgency. Pragmatism.”

lots of interesting myths and stories in Norwegian folklore and I want to bring the secrets and stories from my home country out into the world.” Stronstad has also produced a number of shorts and is a veteran of European programmes from the Berlinale Talent Campus to Cannes’ Young Producers Club and eQuinoxe’s Nordic Newcomers. That international network is coming in handy as he prepares Thale 2 as well as an upcoming animated family feature, Morkel The Moss Monster.

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ivy vanhaeCke Belgium ivy.vanhaecke@caviarcontent.com

Caviar

Past Projects Associate producer on My Queen Karo (dir. Dorothée van den Berghe), starring Matthias Schoenaerts. Her first feature as producer was Plan Bart (dir. Roel Mondelaers). Up Next Raf Reyntjens’ Paradise Trips, a co-production with Ijswater Films, which was shot in Croatia; Lukas Bossuyt’s The Sum Of Histories; Adil El Arbi and Billal Fallah’s Black.

Vanhaecke didn’t go to film school but has a master’s degree in journalism. She entered the industry as a trainee at Geof-

frey Enthoven’s Fobic Films, before working in the fiction department of hip Belgian production outfit Caviar. “I had a chance at a very young age to learn a lot just by doing it, by line producing a first feature film and producing some short films with directors from my own generation,” she says. Vanhaecke says she is “driven by compelling characters, unexpected laughs and immersive atmosphere. If it’s a good story and I can really relate to it, then I can do it but I don’t believe in producing for only financial reasons.” She is on the lookout for stories with local resonance as she believes these often travel the best. Thanks to the Belgian tax shelter and strong local backing, it is now easier for Belgian producers to become involved in co-productions, and Vanhaecke identifies “persistence” as the key attribute for producers. “What is difficult but gives me a lot of energy is the financing part,” she says. “You have to persist in convincing people of the potential of your project.”

dagne vildziunaite Lithuania Just A Moment dagne@justamoment.lt Past Projects Documentaries When We Talk About KGB and Master And Tatyana; narrative feature Do You Love Me (dir. Lina Luzyte). Up Next Giedre Beinoriute’s feature debut Breathing Into Marble, a romantic thriller that may become a four-country co-production.

A graduate in psychology and film and TV management, Vildziunaite worked in various functions in television and the

maRiusz wlodaRski Poland mariusz@lavafilms.pl

Lava Films

Past Projects Award-winning short Without Snow; They Chased Me Through Arizona (dir. Matthias Huser), co-produced with Switzerland’s Ventura Film; Magnus von Horn’s debut feature The Here After, part of this year’s Directors’ Fortnight line-up. Up Next Pawel Borowski’s Wooma.

Wlodarski had originally been considering a career as a film distributor after writing a thesis about marketing strategies for film distribution in Poland at the University of Lodz. “I then applied to the film school in Lodz to study production because I thought it would be important to know how films are made,” he says.

wang donghui China Combo Drive Pictures dwang@combodrivepictures.com Past Projects Crimes Of Passion (dir. Gao Qunshu); Brotherhood Of Blades (dir. Yang Lu). Up Next A VFX-heavy sci-fi project.

Prior to producing, Wang was an agent at Creative Artists Agency Beijing with ace clients such as actor Huang Bo and director Gao Qunshu. During his five-year stint, he got to work with major Chinese film companies on many projects, experience

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that came in handy when he struck out on his own to produce independently for Gao in 2010. “Producing was always what I aspired to do,” he says. “But it’s very hard as China is largely director-driven while the lack of good professional people across the board only intensifies the producer’s work.”

Good stories always come first for Wang, who graduated with an MA in international cinema from the University of Bedfordshire in the UK. He insists on working closely with directors and writers on their scripts, from conception to production. The biggest challenge right now, he finds, is casting. “Thanks to the

arts world in Lithuania before setting up her production company in late 2007. Describing her approach as a producer, she says there are three questions she poses before starting something new. “First of all, I should be interested, concerned or in some way strongly related to the subject of the film. I can’t spend my precious time on meaningless things. “I also believe working with the right people on smaller things can bring better results than being with the wrong team on an ambitious project. “And last but not least, the important thing is the responsibility I feel as a film producer.” Trusting in her intuition (“the calculator only answers the question of who pays and who benefits”), Vildziunaite admits her greatest challenge is keeping things in proportion. “When you have a small company and act most of the time like you are one-man band,” she says, “it is easy to forget that it is your work and not your life.”

It was working as a production manager on his first student short that saw Wlodarski hooked on producing and he never looked back. On graduation, he worked for five years as a junior producer at one of Poland’s leading production houses, Lodz-based Opus Film, which was behind Pawel Pawlikowski’s award-winning Ida. “It was a very formative experience,” he says. In 2010, Wlodarski joined forces with three friends from film school to set up Lava Films. “I don’t have any preference for subjects or genres because I focus more on the people behind the projects,” he says. He and his partners at Lava are currently developing a film for young audiences. “There aren’t that many films targeting this audience in Poland.”

thriving Chinese market, actors are hard to book,” he says. After producing Gao’s romantic thriller Crimes Of Passion, he tackled Yang Lu’s period action drama Brotherhood Of Blades, which raked in nearly $16m (RMB100m) at the Chinese box office and received five Golden Horse Awards nominations. Next up is a VFX-heavy sci-fi project with a first-time director, scheduled to shoot this summer. He is also developing a police thriller, a s romance and an animation. ■

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TOM HERN

“You can’t compromise on the things that matter,” says Hern of the main lesson learnt from The Dark Horse, one of the titles that made 2014 an “awesome” year for New Zealand film. “The singular vision that James and I had was a big part of its success.” Hern believes films made in New Zealand can have an impact internationally, as long as it is planned for from the outset. “The Dark Horse was first and foremost about honouring the integ-

New Zealand Four Knights Films tom@4knightsfilm.com Past Projects Everything We Loved (dir. Max Currie); The Dark Horse (dir. James Napier Robertson), which won the audience award at this year’s International Film Festival Rotterdam and, at home, is one of the top 10 independent local hits of all time. Up Next A remake of 1980s local hit Goodbye Pork Pie, to be directed by Matt Murphy, son of the original director Geoff Murphy.

MIKKEL JERSIN Denmark mikkel@nimbusfilm.dk

Nimbus Film

Past Projects Sparrows (dir. Runar Runarsson); co-producer on Joachim Trier’s Competition entry Louder Than Bombs. Up Next Co-producing Pernilla August’s The Serious Game, now shooting in Sweden and Budapest. As lead producer, Mikkel Serup’s Second Best, a feel-good drama about a Ugandan boxer who moves to provincial Denmark. He is also developing a pan-Nordic TV drama series.

Jersin studied business at Copenhagen Business School before studying producing at the National Film School of Denmark (NFSD). That business background is important, he says, because “it helps me understand what it takes to run a company”. His creative background is also key: “I directed a short doc at film school and I learnt I was much better at producing. A lot of producers have a broken dream in their stomach [to direct], but now I’m exactly where I want to be.” At NFSD, he met Icelandic director Runar Runarsson and produced his second feature Sparrows. “I really admire his craftsmanship,” says Jersin, who was headhunted out of film school by Nimbus Film’s Lars Bredo Rahbek. “Lars is my role model; when he asked me to work with him, it was my chance for a master apprenticeship,” Jersin recalls of serving as assistant or co-producer on The Hour Of The Lynx, Itsi Bitsi and Virgin Mountain. Louder Than Bombs and Sparrows both represent auteur voices telling impactful dramatic stories. “I want to make movies that make a difference,” says Jersin, “films that will remain with audiences after they watch them.”

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OLIVIER KAEMPFER UK Parkville Pictures olivier@parkvillepictures.com Past Projects Borrowed Time (dir. Jules Bishop), made under Film London’s Microwave initiative; Desiree Akhavan’s 2014 Sundance hit Appropriate Behaviour, as executive producer. Up Next In post-production on writer-director Alex Taylor’s Spaceship, made with Creative England, BFI and BBC Films’ iFeatures support. Cleaning Up, Bishop’s follow-up to Borrowed Time; rural thriller Shepherd; and Akhavan’s next film, also in an executive producer capacity.

Of Dutch and Swiss heritage, Kaempfer was born in the UK, spent five years in

DAVID KAPLAN US Animal Kingdom dk@animalkingdomfilms.com Past Projects Independent horror hit It Follows (dir. David Robert Mitchell). Multiple festival awardwinner Short Term 12 (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton) as executive producer. Up Next In post-production on adventure film Kicks from first-time director Justin Tipping. Targeting a summer shoot for Tramps, Adam Leon’s follow-up to SXSW 2012 entry Gimme The Loot.

New York-based Kaplan got his first job at UTA in Los Angeles before returning to the Big Apple to work as assistant to Christine Vachon and Pam Koffler at Killer Films, where he ended up running development. After a stint at Cinetic Media, he cofounded Animal Kingdom with Joshua Astrachan, backed by Wall Street veteran Fred Green. The independent business, says Kaplan, is

New York and studied in Italy, Scotland and at the Sorbonne. In other words, he has the ideal pedigree to be an international-facing producer. Kaempfer began as a producer’s assistant in Rome, graduated with an MA from London Film School and set up Parkville Pictures in 2007. His first feature was Borrowed Time, which was selected for the Film London Microwave scheme in 2010. Determined to get a theatrical release for the film, he pursued the self-distribution route, launching a Kickstarter campaign for P&A funds, “the first film in the UK to do so at the time”. “It was a steep learning curve,” says Kaempfer, “discovering the hard way that the job isn’t over when the film is complete.” Since January 2014, Kaempfer has been senior executive of Film London’s Microwave feature production fund and he now splits his time between both roles. “As an independent producer, your role now needs to be far more integrated across the lifecycle of a film than it ever was before.”

“incredibly hard”, but also worth the blood, sweat and tears. “The greatest challenge independent producers now face is confronting the conventional wisdom about what kind of independent films will be getting made — what’s a commercial independent film and what’s a safe bet,” he says. “You talk to financiers and they’re looking for certain things — foreign sales and a certain level of casting. It’s a dangerous environment because it stunts creativity.” Kaplan believes the trick is to be bold. “If you believe a script is incredible or a film-maker is immensely talented and you have a budget plan that seems reasonable, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks — that’s the movie you should try to make.”

rity of the story, but it announced us to the international marketplace and we’re leveraging that with more ambitious films and aspirations,” he explains. Irish producer David Collins has invited Hern to join the UK-Ireland collaboration A Long Way Home, a comingof-age film in development. Hern is also working with Karl Zohrab, a fellow Kiwi, on The Conductor, a true story set in Leningrad during the Second World War.

GIORGOS KARNAVAS

Greece Heretic Productions giorgos@heretic.gr Past Projects Wasted Youth (dirs. Argyris Papadimitropoulos, Jan Vogel), Boy Eating The Bird’s Food (dir. Ektoras Lygizos), The Eternal Return Of Antonis Paraskevas (dir. Elina Psikou). Up Next Psikou’s next film, Son Of Sofia, will start shooting in late July. In development on Panos Karnezis’s The Birthday Party.

Hailing from a political science and economics background, Karnavas cut his teeth as general manager of the Athens-based production house Stefi Films, before producing his first film, Wasted Youth, which opened International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2011. His subsequent projects, the Karlovy Vary, Montreal and Galway-feted Boy Eating The Bird’s Food, and Elina Psikou’s The Eternal Return Of Antonis Paraskevas, confirmed Karnavas’s taste for “risk and working with first-time directors”. Faced with the adverse economic situation in Greece, “where the scene is booming with talent but the funding system is unstable”, Karnavas set up Heretic Productions with fellow producer Konstantinos Kontovrakis. While it has proved a big challenge, Karnavas makes it clear “it was a necessary step to build up our roster of directors and also move into sales”. Heretic Outreach launched at this year’s Berlinale and is selling Tudor Giurgiu’s Panorama 2015 entry Why Me?.

» May 2015 Screen International 53


FUTURE LEADERS PRODUCERS

EITAN MANSURI

Israel Spiro Films eitanmansuri@gmail.com

MILOS LOCHMANN Czech Republic milos@molokofilm.com

Moloko Film

Past Projects The Way Out (dir. Petr Vaclav), which won four 2014 Czech Critics Awards including best film and best director. Up Next Ad Acta, based on the novel by the Parisbased Czech writer Patrik Ourednik, to be directed by the Rafani collective.

ADAM KASSAN US ak@sixth-and-idaho.com

6th & Idaho Productions

Past Projects Executive producer on David Ayer’s End Of Watch and co-executive producer on the upcoming Johnny Depp crime drama Black Mass (dir. Scott Cooper). Up Next Dan Futterman’s A Shot In The Eye and an untitled Matt Charman project, both at Fox Searchlight.

After excelling as a senior executive for some of the brightest producers and executives in the business, Los Angeles-born Kassan is about to try his hand as a producer with an exciting new partner: director Matt Reeves (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Cloverfield) of 6th & Idaho Productions. Kassan’s first industry job was at Miramax in New York before he relocated to Los Angeles to work for Jeremy Kleiner at Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner’s Plan B Entertainment. He was John Lesher’s first assistant at Paramount Vantage and climbed to vice-president of production before joining Lesher at Le Grisbi Productions. “I was fortunate enough to have been mentored separately by two Academy Award-winning producers with unbelievable taste and relationships,” says Kassan. At the end of last year, he joined Reeves’ Fox-based 6th & Idaho as executive vice-president, saying: “It was always my goal to produce and work with a film-maker, ultimately.” Favouring “well-crafted, character-based, meaningful narratives”, Kassan knows only too well the pitfalls of production. “Anything worth doing is not easy. Matt is a creative powerhouse whose intellect and emotional compass make it all worthwhile.”

MIKE MACMILLAN

Canada Lithium Studios Productions hello@lithiumstudios.com Past projects Slamdance 2014 selection I Put A Hit On You (dirs. Dane Clark, Linsey Stewart) and Toronto 2014 favourite Guidance (dir. Pat Mills). Up Next Mills’ Guidance follow-up Don’t Talk To Irene and several films for director Bruce McDonald, including the sequel Pontypool Changes.

In 2007, Toronto-based MacMillan was running a web company and clients were starting to ask for video content. “I fell in love instantly with filming,” he recalls. “Within three years, my company completely shifted

54 Screen International Month 2015

its focus to film-making. Our concentration is on feature film projects that fit a genre-meets-arthouse criteria. “We like to develop material from early on and we champion directors with unique voices.” It has not been easy establishing

After graduating from Prague’s legendary FAMU film school, Lochmann worked as a commercials producer and a producer for hire to gain experience, before becoming a partner in Moloko Film in 2011. His aim is “to concentrate on artistically strong local stories with a global message”, but he points out how difficult it is to finance Czech films from domestic sources. “Czech producers are forced to search for co-production partners, particularly with our neighbours Poland and Slovenia,” he explains. “More and more of us are trying to develop and produce projects internationally, in order to reach a wider European and global audience.” One of his biggest challenges to date was casting The Way Out with Roma actors. “We travelled from town to town, visited dance parties and looked on Facebook. We organised improvised casting sessions across the country,” says Lochmann. “It took us six months and we ended up driving more than 20,000km to cast all the parts.”

the business but MacMillan and his Lithium team are getting there. “You think you’re capable and you work diligently for years to show that you’re ready. At some point, though, the industry needs to champion you and let you in,” he says. Working in Canada is a huge benefit. “We have some amazing resources at our disposal for both production and development, good tax credits, and a robust and talented industry willing to help bring projects to life,” says MacMillan, who has learned some “tough but important lessons” along the way. “The things you say no to are just as important as the things you say yes to.”

Past Projects The Wanderer (dir. Avishai Sivan) as associate producer; The Cutoff Man (dir. Idan Hubel); The Congress (dir. Ari Folman); Staircases (L’Esprit De L’Escalier, dir. Elad Keidan), which is screening out of competition in Official Selection. Up Next In production on Yoni Geva’s children’s fantasy film Aboulele and Hagar Ben-Asher’s The Burglar. In pre-production on Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot. Developing new projects by Talia Lavie and Nir Bergman.

Mansuri attended the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem intending to become a photographer. He briefly considered directing but has finally became a producer. “Ari Folman is responsible, to a great extent, for my becoming an independent producer,” says Mansuri. “His invitation to join as a delegate producer on The Congress gave me the rare chance to sit in the cockpit not only with other international producers but also to work with firstrate actors from all over the world.” With that experience under his belt, Mansuri’s aim now is to get involved in original projects of every genre and kind “but focus mainly on local themes which, if treated in depth, have a better chance of attracting a worldwide audience”. Producing an Israeli feature can be a complex process, thanks to the dearth of private equity, lack of commitment from local broadcasters and an almost total reliance on state funds. “This is the reason we always need co-production partners,” notes Mansuri. “The only exception among the films I have produced is Staircases, which was half funded by private investment and Elie Meirovitz’s EZ Films.”

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