"The future is yet to be written"
Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...
Andrea Queralt • Producer, 4 A 4 Productions
One of the EFP’s 2020 Producers on the Move, Andrea Queralt of French firm 4 A 4 Productions speaks of her career, her projects and the current predicament
Having worked at the heart of the Parisian group 4 A 4 Productions (alongside Mani Mortazavi and David Mathieu-Mahias) since 2015, and now selected as one of the European Film Promotion’s Producers on the Move for 2020, Andrea Queralt’s back-catalogue includes two feature films unveiled in Cannes: Before Summer Ends [+see also:
interview: Maryam Goormaghtigh
film profile] by Switzerland’s Maryam Goormaghtigh (in the 2017 ACID line-up) and Fire Will Come [+see also:
interview: Óliver Laxe
film profile] by the French-Spanish director Oliver Laxe (Un Certain Regard Jury Award in 2019).
Cineuropa: What made you become a producer?
Andrea Queralt: I was a very precocious and avid film lover. During my studies, I learned about different careers in film and I realised that I wanted to take on the role involving the most responsibilities, duties and commitment. Production was well-suited to my aims. It’s also a real luxury to be able to step inside filmmakers’ minds and imaginations, and to be able to accompany them through the process and help them, from the very first page of the film treatment all the way through to festivals and sales assistance. It’s a really complex and wide-ranging profession which I learned more and more about as I went along. That’s why I’m really attached to this role: every day is different, new and unpredictable, each film is a new adventure. The future is yet to be written and that’s really exciting.
What is the guiding line or editorial line which links the films you’ve produced?
A gut feeling. It allows for eclecticism in terms of subjects and forms. In my short career, I’ve had the good luck to produce a documentary (Before Summer Ends) and a fiction film (Fire Will Come), two films which were very different in subject and tone, but which allowed me to understand their inner workings, which I really enjoyed. I imagine there are filmmakers who don’t like producers to be as involved as I am, because I’m heavily invested on the artistic side. I’ve had the good luck to work with filmmakers who are open to this way of working, so long as their ideas are respected, of course.
What’s the most complicated situation you’ve been faced with in your career as a producer?
The riskiest situation was filming in fire for Fire Will Come. Oliver Laxe was very ambitious, artistically speaking, and I think that under “normal” production conditions, it would have been nigh-on impossible to make this film. We were very lucky: there weren’t any accidents, neither during the fire sequence or in the opening scene with the falling trees.
How do you see your career progressing? Will you continue to work with your favoured authors on restricted budgets? Or will you move towards bigger projects with larger casts?
I’m quite greedy so anything is possible. I want to be able to follow and support filmmakers who have unique ideas and who live and breathe their work, which isn’t the case for all filmmakers, yet it makes a huge difference. And the two projects I’m currently working on are prime examples of this: Matadero, which is the first feature film by Santiago Fillol, and After, Oliver Laxe’s next film. They’re both highly singular and ambitious works.
The COVID-19 crisis is a real challenge for the entire industry. How has it impacted your activities?
It’s slowing everything down. We’d planned to shoot Matadero in Argentina, in September, but as a large part of the team live in Europe, we don’t know whether they’ll be able to travel at that time. There’s a strange kind of uncertainty surrounding everything. Obviously, all the timings we’d envisaged for distribution, premières, etc. are also on stand-by. But it hasn’t really affected After, as it’s a work in progress. Although the project does have a vague, dystopian air to it, and there are a few parallels with the situation we’re currently experiencing, even if it is a far cry from what actually happens in the film. So there’s something vaguely familiar about it, and Oliver and I are now wondering what we should do with that particular aspect of the film. Do we want to see it reflected in film, even if only in the background, or should we take it in a different direction? They’re important questions for the upcoming film. When we first started to think this project, we would never have thought that reality would make us question ourselves to this extent.
This year’s edition of Producers on the Move will unfold entirely online. What are your thoughts on this and what do you hope to get out of it?
I’ve never been a fan of online tools - Zoom, Skype or any of the others. I’m a bit old fashioned in that respect. But it will still be interesting because Producers on the Move is a rather unique platform for spotlighting the profiles of producers and their projects, for getting to know other producers and their respective projects, and for considerable networking opportunities viv-à-vis representatives of European partner institutions. It would obviously be far nicer and more picturesque by the sea with a drink in hand, but that’s how it is this year and we have to make do. Either way, the result will be positive.
(Translated from French)
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