“Sometimes you end up with a completely different film than you expected”
Industry Report: Documentary
Carla Fotea • Producer, microfilm
The 2022 Emerging Producer from Romania explains how she ended up producing documentaries, and why she is optimistic about the future
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Carla Fotea: I never set out to produce documentaries, it kind of just happened. One project led to another, one director led to another and now I’m following certain filmmakers and sometimes they choose to make documentaries and I choose to be there with them. Why I like working on documentaries is because they’re so flexible, they constantly evolve during the process and sometimes you end up with a completely different film than you expected. I’m not really intrigued when there’s no discovery while making a documentary, when the filmmaker knows exactly what the film is right from the beginning. And I don’t think it’s any different from fiction in producing societal change – they both bare the same power and they both use emotion to create a spark, to start a conversation that might eventually lead to some kind of change.
The pandemic had an impact on the entire sector. How did it influence your work as a producer? Have the projects that you work on changed?
Except for the logistic complications we somehow managed to overcome, I can’t say many of them have suffered changes. But what I think the pandemic did was help us prioritize our health, which I believe is a great shift of perspectives. It’s maybe because of the twofold responsibility we now all carry, for ourselves and for the others, but I think we should keep this extra care we’ve discovered.
What do you think is the future of the distribution of documentary films?
I’m generally an optimist, so I hope we will still be seeing documentaries in cinemas many years from now, but I definitely think streaming is the future. In my ideal world, we would have cinema premieres followed by streaming releases. And I also think that a basic, classic cinema distribution is not enough anymore. Films have to be put in a context, they need to be part of a package you’re offering the viewer, it just needs to be more than just the film.
What projects do you have underway?
We are in post-production with a couple of documentaries: a film on puppy politics by Robert Lakatos and a new family story by Tudor Platon. As for fiction projects, we are now in pre-production with Ana-Maria Comănescu’s road movie Horia, and in development with a couple of very exciting TV series projects.
EMERGING PRODUCERS is a leading promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the EMERGING PRODUCERS 2023 edition is 31 March 2022.
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