“Our industry has the responsibility and the power to be part of this transformation”
Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...
Mário Patrocinio • Producer, BRO Cinema
Selected as one of EFP’s 2020 Producers on the Move, Portuguese producer Mário Patrocinio, of BRO Cinema, talked to us before the online event kicks off
European Film Promotion: Corona is a real challenge for the whole film industry: What does it means to you?
Mário Patrocinio: Release dates were postponed, and in some cases content went straight to the streaming platforms by-passing classical cinema releases who were already facing their own troubles. Filming stopped and thousands of workers, mostly freelance people got into very difficult situations. It is a difficult new reality we are living in, but for any problem there are solutions, so we have to adapt and maybe change things that were overdue and taking too long to take place.
Filming will never be the same. We will have protocols and safety guidelines to follow. Medical staff will be part of the crew and there will be many restrictions on set, especially in the interaction between actors. One of the major challenges will be the production insurance, because if an actor gets sick from Covid-19 the set will be shut down and enter into quarantine. Will there be reliable quick Covid-19 tests to be used daily even before we enter the set? I hope so…
Streaming services already had a boom so with this situation they got even stronger, they are screaming out for content and we have to be able to deliver. But we can't forget that we all lived something unique and new. We had time to think about life and reevaluate the world we lived in. I believe and hope this experience will be transported in to the scripts we will develop. Will this experience transform the depth of our stories and scripts? Will this experience be a turning point in the way to create a better world for all of us to live in?
We, humans, think through stories, so our industry has the responsibility and the power to be part of this transformation. We can create stories that allow us to reflect on the world we live in but also on the world we want to create.
This year’s edition of Producers on the Move will be completely digitally. What do you expect from the programme? Is it still a chance for you?
All opportunities count, and this one is especially important. We were supposed to meet at Cannes... but with this new situation a lot has changed. As humans and producers we have to adapt. We will be pioneering Producers on the move 2020 online, and i am sure we will all do our best to make it happen.
What do you think are the specificities of the industry in your country?
One of the biggest challenges in my country is to regain Portuguese people's interest in national cinema. We currently have a very low market share. There is a lot of work to be done and i want to contribute to a transformation of the current system in order to favor local talent, the quality of the projects and also the co-production agreements. We also need to bring to the Portuguese cinema a wider spectrum in the genres of films produced and supported by our film institute.
What was the hardest problem you had to solve as a producer?
I have to go back to my first feature documentary film Complexo - Parallel Universe that was shot in one of the most dangerous slums of Rio de Janeiro in a time of war. The slum was surrounded by the Army and after several days of filming in the territory of the biggest drug trafficker in Brazil i decided to leave the slum for a day to guaranty that the footage covered was safe. I walked out at the end of the day, and it was really strange to leave the slum and suddenly see myself back it that Rio you see in the post cards. Next morning the biggest police operation in history took place with helicopters, war tanks, special forces entering the territory that was until then considered impenetrable. It was a day of war, chaos and fear, and by sheer luck we were not there. That’s when it hit me: what if the traffickers thought that all the filming i was doing was the work of an informer for that specific operation? Because it was a huge coincidence that these two unrelated events were happening at the very same time. I had in front of me the choice of just not going back…But if I didn’t, the doubt would remain about my intentions and I would be breaking the bond of trust. Not knowing what could happen, I decided to go back to the slum the next day. A lot of the people that were part of my life over the last few years had been killed. That decision to return defined my sense of responsibility and loyalty to the storytelling and above all to the people that placed their trust in me.
Do you take part in the creative/artistic aspects of the film's creation?
I see myself as a creative producer, I am not the type of producer that only cares for the economic aspect of the film. First comes the story. I early found that stories can help connect people, so with good sense, respect for each other, passion for what we do and cooperation we can reach a good port. I found myself falling in love with the collaboration, and the never-ending learning process. I am inspired by being the common ground that brings everyone together. Creativity is a key factor in life.
What projects are in your near future? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
BRO cinema currently has a diverse slate of projects at different stages of development. Much of it originated in the writers’ room and many were developed in cooperation with international partners. We are now in post for Affective Geography, Samadhi Road, From Love No One Escapes, and I hope to start production of my first feature length fiction, 2 Strangers, by the end of the year. As far as 2021 and 2022 we already have several production on the lineup.
In ten years, first of all, I see myself living in a fairer, more balanced, more sustainable world, in a world that focuses on our human development in terms of quality and not just quantity. The paradigm of growing infinitely seems to have proved to us that it is not sustainable in the way it is organised. We need to create a more collaborative ecosystem, and I would like to look back 10 years from now knowing that I contributed to that creation. I would love to look back and see that I made films, series and documentaries with cultural and social relevance, that stimulated the critical thinking of society and contributed positively to the creation of a new world.
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