Producers on the Move 2013 – Poland
by Dorota Hartwich
- Agnieszka Kurzydlo MD 4 started its activity with 2 films selected in Berlin in 2013: Baby Blues by Katarzyna Roslaniec and In the Name of by Malgorzata Szumowska
Agnieszka Kurzydlo began her career in the cinema industry in 1992. She worked for Zentropa International Poland and took part in the production of Antichrist by Lars von Trier, The Woman Who Dreamt of a Man by Per Fly and Elles de Malgorzata Szumowska. Her production company MD 4 began its activity with two feature films selected in Berlin in 2013: Baby Blues by Katarzyna Roslaniec (Cristal Bear for Best Film in the Generation 14plus section) and In the Name of by Malgorzata Szumowska, which was in the official competition, won a Teddy Award and was sold in 20 countries.
Cineuropa: You were an archeology student. How did you become a producer?
Agnieszka Kurzydlo: I was born and I still live in Krakow, a city where many movies were filmed in the 90's. It was on those sets that I found myself coordinating extras, a profession that hardly exists any more because of the development of digital technologies. The other reason was that I was in the same high school as Malgorzata Szumowska. Her father, who is a documentary director, needed help from time to time with production. Then, quite naturally, I worked with his daughter, as the production director and director's assistant.
Were you not tempted by directing?
I am not an artist and I never had any ambition to become a director. If I had to find a name to depict what interests me the most in cinema, it would be the film’s logistics.
Were the international coproductions you worked on from an early stage formative?
Very much so. Malgorzata asked me to help her manage her company Zentropa Poland. But I knew it would not last forever and that at some point, I would need to evolve. However, in Poland, it is quite difficult to learn because large-scale coproductions are rare. Working for Zentropa was vital. It gave me the opportunity to observe vast operations and complex mechanisms. It was highly appreciable especially when we came up against the “puzzle” financing system, which is unique to European coproductions. In short, MD 4 would not have existed without Zentropa.
The editorial line adopted by MD 4 (a name that refers to Mental Disorder) seems to be focused on very committed films, fighting against taboos.
Before working in the cinema, I was for a time a barmaid in a café in Krakow where people came after seeing a movie. I loved listening to them discuss, and sometimes fight over the film’s subject. When you realize that spectators have real emotions and that a movie can touch them deeply, you automatically believe in the significance of what you are doing. Especially in Poland, where the public is rather special: they want difficult films and attendance of those types of movies is very high. MD 4 was therefore founded to meet that need, to produce author movies, films that move the public, and give the author the possibility of expressing what he wants to transmit to the audience.
You are currently producing the first fiction feature film of a much-appreciated documentary filmmaker in Poland: Marcin Koszalka.
Red Spider is inspired by the story of a serial killer in the 60's in Krakow. It is an extraordinary story, at a time when communism was still strong, but with a very contemporary element: a reflection on the need to be famous. We are producing another first feature film: Kebab & Horoscope by Grzegorz Jaroszuk. He is an extremely gifted director with a particular talent for dark humour and nonsensical situations, which are very unusual elements in Polish cinema. The film has received the support of the Polish Film Institute and I hope that filming will begin soon. A producer’s satisfaction is even greater with a first feature film. MD 4 was created to work with young directors, not only because they have good ideas, but also simply because they need to be helped more because they are just starting.
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