Portuguese producers Pandora Cunha Telles and Pablo Iraola, of Ukbar Filmes, are bringing a delegation of six Portuguese women helmers to the Berlinale, to showcase their ambitious project “Told by Women,” – a slate of 10 TV movies by 10 first-time women filmmakers – coproduced with Portuguese public broadcaster, RTP.
The producers have lined up an intensive mentoring experience with leading international women producers that aims to endow them with the tools to embrace new challenges.
The first season of five films of “Told by Women” was broadcast by RTP in October 2022, to strong ratings, and the second season of five films will bow this spring.
The mentoring program at the Berlinale involves international producers Sara Silveira, Brazilian producer and founder of Dezenove Som e Imagens, Mariela Besuievsky from Tornasol Filmes, and Gudny Hummelvoll, producer at Hummelfilm, the first woman president of the European Producers Club.
The delegation of Portuguese women directors is comprised by Ana Cunha, Sofia Teixeira Gomes, Diana Antunes, Fabiana Tavares, Laura Seixas and Rita Barbosa.
“This project has already been an amazing two-year adventure,” says Cunha Telles, “One of the biggest challenges was to decide on the final 10 directors from a shortlist of 30 women directors. They all have tremendous talent, having previously worked as theater directors, actresses, photographers, casting directors. They come from different generations, ranging from between 20 and 60s, and have embraced all kinds of genre, including dark comedies, and contemporary and historic drama.”
Cunha Telles believes that the only way to change the balance and give more opportunities to women directors in Portugal, and in Europe in general, is to produce more films and give women the chance to make their first projects. “I’m not just talking about shorts, but also TV movies in prime time, on national broadcasters – not just screened at 2 a.m. This way we can create a fast track for these directors in the audiovisual industry. “
Ukbar Filmes was founded in 2009 by Pandora da Cunha Telles and Pablo Iraola. They have produced over two dozen films, including shorts and feature films in various genres, the vast majority of which are internationally financed.
Ukbar recently teamed up with Spain’s Ficción Producciones to co-produce the Spanish-Portuguese TV series “Operation Maré Negra,” co-produced with TVG’s FORTA and Portugal’s RTP.