Not Quite ‘45 Years’ of Putting the Auteur First
Many see producers as ruthlessly pragmatic realists out to cut directors’ outlandish visions down to size, but for “45 Years” producer Tristan Goligher, his job is impossible to separate from the artistry of filmmaking. “There’s a clear throughline between the script, the artistic intentions behind the film, and the structure of how those are practically realized,” he says. “You have to be logistical and creative at the same time.”
That philosophy, gained via formative experience in a multitude of filmmaking disciplines, has served Goligher well in Britain’s independent film scene, where he’s fostered close creative partnerships with some of the country’s most exciting young directors. Foremost among these is Andrew Haigh: After shepherding his 2009 short “Five Miles Out,” Goligher made his feature production debut on Haigh’s acclaimed 2011 gay romance “Weekend,” winning the British Independent Film Award for best achievement in production. They reteamed for “45 Years,” a devastating marital study earning critical plaudits and awards buzz on both sides of the pond. He’s also served as executive producer on a pair of atmospheric rural dramas: Guy Myhill’s BIFA-winning “The Goob” and Martin Radich’s Rotterdam-premiered “Norfolk.”
The helmer, Goligher explains, is his first point of interest in a project: “What excites me are directors who see the world in a singular way, who are the only people who could make a certain film,” he says. “But I also want the films we’re making to add something to the conversation about how we live our lives. If you’re going to spend a couple of years making a film, it should be contributing more than just content.”
Goligher’s upcoming projects include a third feature with Haigh: an adaptation of Willy Valutin’s American coming-of-age novel “Lean on Pete” that they’re hoping to shoot in summer 2016. Also in the pipeline are collaborations with “The Duke of Burgundy” helmer Pete Strickland, and Berlinale-awarded feature freshman Peter Mackie Burns.
As he continues finding and nurturing “brilliant filmmakers at the very beginning of their careers,” Goligher’s not counting on them for all the bright ideas. Speaking on behalf of his production collective The Bureau, he adds, “One thing we’re doing more now than ever is that the producers are generating the material — whether it’s books that we’re optioning or screenplays we’re commissioning — and not just expecting directors to do so.” — Guy Lodge