Aneta Zagórska • Producer, Krakow Film Cluster
"As a producer, it is not enough to have an interesting story; we have to know how we can cooperate on the project"
- Polish producer Aneta Zagórska sat down with us at Lima’s Al Este Central and Eastern European Film Festival to share her thoughts on her experience co-producing with international professionals
Polish producer Aneta Zagórska has been producing films for more than 15 years through her company Barton Film. Since 2015, she has been the general director of the Krakow Film Cluster, an association of film professionals who have come together to improve their capacity to produce big films and cooperate on foreign co-productions. She is currently in Lima serving as a tutor at the co-production laboratory organised by the Al Este Central and Eastern European Film Festival.
Cineuropa: You've been working in the field of film production since 2003 through your company Barton Film. How has your experience as a producer evolved over the last few years?
Aneta Zagórska: The first film we produced was a feature-length fiction, a low-budget project. Then we worked on documentary movies, mostly destined for the domestic market. We also focused on short films and supporting young talents. About four years ago, we moved forward with creating the Krakow Film Cluster.
Can you tell us a little bit more about this initiative?
It was important for us because we wanted to produce bigger films and to have the capacity to offer services for foreign productions. There are a number of small companies in Krakow, and we needed to connect and create a production hub. It now consists of ten companies: we provide different rental services and we have post-production facilities. We offer services for casting and location scouting, and of course, there are our production studios.
What was your goal when you created the Cluster?
We wanted to be stronger in order to produce films nationally and also be able to co-produce with other countries. Our first co-production was with Germany. Last year, we started a new film with Brazil, and this year, we are working on a Portuguese film. Then we have five or six more projects in development, with Ukraine, France, Italy and so on. They are all feature-length fiction films.
What can you tell us about the productions you are working on right now that are at a more advanced stage?
The Brazilian film is called The Paths of My Father, by Mauricio Osaki, a very talented young director whose short was selected for the Oscars shortlist. We shot in Vietnam, the shooting process is finished, and we are now at the editing stage. I hope that we will be able to finish it and do the post-production in our studio in Krakow in the autumn. Next month, we will start shooting the Portuguese film with a young Portuguese director called Simao Cayatte, the provisional title for which is Sandra.
What has your experience of the co-production lab here in Lima been like so far?
For me, it is very interesting to talk about the film market here in Latin America. The meetings are great, and they have opened a lot of doors in my head. I thought that co-producing with Latin America would be too difficult, but after my experience with Brazil, I found out that the system they have is very similar to ours in Europe. The most important thing that I discovered here is that the topics and themes of the projects can be very interesting for Polish audiences: we don't know much about countries like Peru or Bolivia. Of course, as a producer, it is not enough to have a very interesting story; we have to know how we can cooperate. Here, I’ve learned that local projects have access to funds through the Peruvian Ministry of Culture and the Ibermedia funds, and this makes them viable partners for us, as we can become a minority support for them.
How is it for you as an experienced producer meeting with all of these young talents trying to bring their own projects to life?
I work with debutants, and I feel comfortable among them. I want to be useful because they probably don't yet know how to cooperate with professionals in Europe. Some of them have come with ideas for expensive films, and I am trying to make them see that for a first work, it’s better to start with a small-budget project because if things go well with your first movie, that makes it easier for your next work to be bigger. I hope I’ve been helpful; I've come across some very interesting stories, and I am sure we will keep in touch.
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