“You always have to walk an extra mile when you’re representing a smaller film industry”
Industry Report: Produce - Co-Produce...
Marija Razgutė • Producer, M-Films
We talk to Lithuanian producer Marija Razgutė, who established M-Films and has been now selected as one of the 2020 Producers on the Move by EFP
Lithuanian producer Marija Razgutė established the Vilnius-based boutique film production company M-Films in 2008 with a focus on producing fiction shorts and features with social, psychological, and family issues. Since the beginning she has worked with the young generation of Lithuanian film directors and she has been now selected as one of the 2020 Producers on the Move by European Film Promotion, that is organised online.
Cineuropa: What is the story behind M-Films, and which are your recent and upcoming projects?
Marija Razgutė: When I established the boutique film production company M-Films in 2008, I started producing shorts firstly. That was also how I initiated a pool of directors, with whom gradually, we’ve shifted to feature films. Now, we are two producers working in the company and we are dealing with fiction films mostly. Our recent titles include, Nova Lituania [+see also:
interview: Karolis Kaupinis
film profile] by Karolis Kaupinis, Summer Survivors [+see also:
interview: Marija Kavtaradzė
film profile] by Marija Kavtaradze, and The Saint [+see also:
interview: Andrius Blazevicius
film profile] by Andrius Blaževičius, with whom we’re now in post-production for this second feature film Runner. Furthermore, we’re currently developing two new feature films - Slow by Marija Kavtaradze and Kaspervizija by Karolis Kaupinis. I must say that I’m incredibly happy to collaborate with some of the most promising Lithuanian talents [smiles]. Also, in the recent years we’ve been co-producing as minority partners and we got involved in projects from Spain, Georgia and Germany and we are actively looking for new ones.
You have mainly worked with three directors in their debuts and now you are also continuing with their sophomore features. What is the reason for that decision?
Indeed, I believe in long-term relationships in film business. There’s so much added value in this for both the director and the producer. It makes us both feel more confident and relaxed, also an extended strategy makes much more sense in this case. I should also note that we all belong to the same generation of filmmakers, and we share common professional standards, artistic qualities and goals for the future of our film industry.
Regarding the national industry, what are the advantages and disadvantages of being a producer in Lithuania?
Starting from the disadvantages, the most important is that you always have to walk an extra mile when you’re representing a smaller and not so widely known film industry, and that means that you might need to work even more to be heard and seen. On the other hand, the main advantage is that you have more chances to be noticed, to grow and to achieve goals on a national level when you are in a smaller country as Lithuania.
How did the COVID-19 affect your current and your future plans?
I feel somehow lucky in this, as I didn’t have any shooting scheduled this year. As I mentioned before, I have two films in development and one in post-production, so we quickly moved, almost, all the activities online. Although, we had to release Nova Lituania in local cinemas around mid-April, so all these plans have gone down the drain. That was quite unfortunate, as this film could be successful at the domestic box office. We have a plan B, to postpone its release for the fall, which we clearly understand that it will be hugely different of how it used to be, and as plan C we keep the option to have an online Lithuanian premiere in late fall.
This year’s edition of Producers on the Move will be completely digitally without any personal contact or Rosé. What do you expect from the programme and is it still a chance for you?
I have to give a big round of applause to EFP and their decision to adjust to the current situation and go for an online session, just as all the producers have to do in their work. I don’t think that waiting for things to come back to “normal” is an option. The online edition will still do its work - we’ll get know each other, our projects and we’ll get to pitch it for the decisionmakers too. Of course, the personal contact will be missed very much, but we’ll have online Rosé wine drinking on Thursday evening anyways. I always try to see the positive side of the negative - the same Rosé is not as overpriced in Lithuania as in Cannes [smiles].
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