×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Scherfig: Serious filmmakers enjoy SPC toppers

Sony Pictures Classics at 20 - The Collaborators

According to Lone Scherfig, the Danish director of “An Education,” the secret of Michael Barker and Tom Bernard’s success is that serious filmmakers enjoy hanging out with them.

As a consequence, auteurs are happy to spend time on the promotional circuit alongside the Sony duo, which in turn delivers exactly the kind of editorial profile their films need to maximize their commercial impact.

“When Sony was releasing ‘An Education,’ I was travelling everywhere with Michael Haneke, who had ‘The White Ribbon,’ and Jacques Audiard, who had ‘A Prophet.’ We went to the same parties, the same festivals,” she recalls.

“These are very serious and busy men, and they would prefer to be working on new films above anything else. But they felt so respected by Michael, and respected him so much, that they were happy to do it. So you get interviews and personal meetings instead of just advertising.”

“The fact that he’s a walking dictionary of film makes you very quickly forget that he’s a businessman. You feel like you are back at university or at film school, talking to your friends,” she explains. “Because Michael and Tom look like two suits, it takes a while to realize those are just costumes.”

That makes it easy for filmmakers to trust them with their movies, she says.

She describes their campaign for “An Education,” and particularly the fact they secured Oscar nominations for the film, as “extraordinary.” “The financial crisis happened in the middle of that year, and they saw that maybe people wanted a small comedy like this. They suddenly grabbed the ball and ran towards the goal, because they saw there was a gap.”

Their endorsement alone bestows a huge credibility upon a film and its talent in America, she argues.

“It’s like a stamp of quality. They were invaluable to Carey Mulligan, they supported her strongly and she was ready to work very hard to make her career, and Susanne Bier really benefitted from that last year with ‘In a Better World.’ ”

That film won the foreign-language film Oscar.

It’s not all sweetness and light, though. “You can fight with them,” she admits. “But then you make up 10 minutes later. Actually I think they enjoy it. They like to pretend that you’re the difficult one, but I don’t think it’s true,” she laughs.

SONY PICTURES CLASSICS AT 20
Steady as she grows | Shrewd handling yields real profits | SPC mines foreign gold | Despite illness’ gloom, Bloom integral to company
The Stories Behind the Movies
“Capote” | “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” | “The Fog Of War” | “The Lives of Others” | “Rachel Getting Married” | “Run Lola Run”
The Collaborators
Pedro Almodovar | Lone Scherfig

More Film

  • Atlantics

    Emerging Talent From Gallic Cinema

    Variety is teaming with Unifrance, an agency that promotes French cinema around the world, to focus attention on four emerging talents in the French movie industry as part of Unifrance’s “New Faces of French Cinema” program. Here Variety profiles the rising filmmakers: Justine Triet, Eléa Gobbé-Mévellec, Hafsia Herzi and Mati Diop. Mati Diop Born to [...]

  • John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’

    John Hannah Reunites With ‘The Mummy’ Actors for Horror Pic ‘Lair’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    John Hannah, Corey Johnson and Oded Fehr will star in “Lair,” billed as a socially conscious horror movie about an LGBT family embroiled in one man’s attempt to prove the existence of the supernatural. The trio all appeared in the successful franchise “The Mummy,” and their new picture goes into production later this year. Katarina [...]

  • Loving Vincent Animation Oscars

    Adult Audience Animation: Cannes Panel Talks Big-Screen Strategy

    CANNES–A panel of leading animation industry executives gathered during the Cannes Film Market on Sunday to shed light on their strategies for the theatrical release of adult-oriented animated features. It was a timely conversation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Five of the 28 animated projects in the Marché du Film are adult audience-focused, including [...]

  • Lea Drucker poses with the Best

    French Filmmaker Axelle Ropert Readies 'Petite Solange' With MK2 Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    French writer/director Axelle Ropert is set to direct “Petite Solange,” a film that will star Léa Drucker and Philippe Katerine, who won the best acting nods at this year’s Cesar Awards for their performances in “Custody” and “Sink or Swim,” respectively. MK2 films will handle international sales. Haut et Court has acquired rights for French [...]

  • Dutch FilmWorks Moves into International Sales

    Dutch Film Works Moves into International Sales (EXCLUSIVE)

    A major new international sales outfit is coming to market. Dutch Film Works (DFW), one of the largest movie distributors in the Benelux region, is moving into film and TV sales. DFW general manager Angela Pruijssers will spearhead the sales effort alongside Charlotte Henskens, who will join from Amsterdam-based Fortissimo Films, where she is director [...]

  • Gullane Taps The Match Factory, Bitters

    Gullane Taps Match Factory, Bitters End for Karim Ainouz’s ‘Neon River’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Gullane, the Brazilian producer of Marco Bellocchio’s Cannes competition player “The Traitor,” has linked with production partners for anticipated projects by two of Brazil’s highest-profile auteurs: Karim Ainouz and Fernando Coimbra. In further news, Luiz Bolognesi, writer-director of Annecy winner “Rio 2096,” is leading “Senna,” Gullane’s biggest movie project to date, a live-action biopic of [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Feature Documentary ‘Untouchable’ Bought by Hulu (EXCLUSIVE)

    Hulu has snagged the U.S. rights to “Untouchable,” the feature doc about disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein, in a seven-figure deal, Variety has learned. The film, directed by Ursula Macfarlane, had its premiere at Sundance. It offers the inside track on the rise of Weinstein and his subsequent fall, amid allegations in the U.S. and Europe [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content