EFA hands out Prix co-production honor

This year, the EFA will present its inaugural Prix Eurimages co-production kudo to Austrian Veit Heiduschka (Wega Film) and France’s Margaret Menegoz (Les Films du Losange), who have co-produced such films as Michael Haneke’s “Hidden” and “The Time of the Wolf” as well as the upcoming “For a Moment, Freedom,” from helmer Arash T. Riahi.

Heiduschka shares his reactions to the prize, as well as lessons learned from years in the trenches of European filmmaking:

“I was a little stunned by the news because, as you know, this prize is very new. I’m happy, because up until now, there’s never been a European prize for producers. (But) also I was a little bit irritated to be singled out from other co-producers who also contributed to the same projects.

“A co-production can be very dangerous. My first co-production was a Swiss-German-Austrian co-production. At the end of the shoot, the Swiss producer went bankrupt and we had a lot of problems making up the budget. So when you find a co-producer who is reliable, like Margaret Menegoz, then it’s easier to plan on making future projects. It’s a good idea to co-produce always with the same producer if it is possible. You know exactly what they can and can’t do.

“With every co-production, you learn how you can do it better the next time. Every year I have a lot of offers to co-produce films, but most of the time they’re not looking for a co-producer so much as a co-financer. Co-production is about bringing technical and artistic expertise, not just financial backing. On ‘The Piano Teacher,’ there was a good mix, because the main actors came from France; the script, director and cameraman came from Austria, and we shot in Austria. If you’re not careful getting the mix right, then you end up with what’s called a Europudding. Co-productions are not easy. If you co-produce, you have to include your partner in the decision-making. It’s best to start off on a small scale and build up.

“Small countries like Austria are best-equipped to make arthouse films. If these films are done right, they can then be sold around the world.”

Want Entertainment News First? Sign up for Variety Alerts and Newsletters!
Post A Comment 0