by Naman Ramachandran
27/04/2009 - Cineuropa: Tell us about His & Hers. How did the project come about?
Andrew Freedman: His & Hers, currently in post-production, is a creative documentary that combines observation and imagination to illustrate a universal love story – moments from the ordinary that create a life extraordinary.
Best known for his award winning short films, this is director Ken Wardrop’s first feature-length project. Using his unique documentary approach, the love story unfolds through moments in the ordinary lives of women aging from newborn to old. The film’s unique structure and craftsmanship confirms Ken’s authentic filmmaking voice, and bodes for an exciting debut feature.
The film was shot entirely on location in the Irish Midlands and features ordinary members of the public, local to the area.
How did you raise the finance?
The original concept for this project was born out of a production and training initiative organised in association with the Irish Film Board. The scheme encouraged original and thought proving work to be produced within the confines of a limited budget. His & Hers was inspired by this approach and together with Ken Wardrop’s previous successes attracted the interest of the Irish Film Board’s micro-budget funding scheme. This resulted in 100% funding from Ireland and allowed production to commence immediately.
How did Venom Film and your professional relationship with Ken Wardrop happen? Is Undressing My Mother a kind of pre-cursor to His & Hers?
Ken and I met at The National Film School Ireland and formed a successful working relationship. Graduating in 2004, we took the bold step of co-founding our own production company with aspirations of producing original and provocative work. Together we have made numerous short films, including Undressing My Mother, which has gone on to become one of Ireland’s most successful shorts of all time; picking up over 25 international awards, including a European Film Academy Award and a Jury mention at the Sundance Film Festival. In many ways this film has become a pre-cursor to His & Hers and has certainly informed much of it’s content.
In your opinion, what is the state of the European film industry today and what are the challenges the European industry is facing in these trying times?
There is no doubt that the current economic climate is making it more difficult than ever to get films off the ground and into production. Due to the reduction in European funding opportunities available, competition has and will continue to increase, resulting in fewer films ultimately being made. Like in other business sectors, this is a time of challenge and review, but I am confident that if one is passionate and believes in their project enough, opportunities will always arise.
What are your expectations and fears about the current scenario?
This is a time of change. Despite the bad times, opportunities will always exist. Even with the roar of the recession, Irish box office figures have recently reached an all-time high. To succeed, I feel budgets will need to be tighter, deals will need to be more plentiful and, most of all, the collaborative atmosphere within European co-productions must be strengthened even further. We need to constantly review and adapt our production models to fit in with the current challenges, yet continue to ensure that engaging cinema is created and not stifled.
Lastly, how do you think being a European Producer on the Move is going to
help you and your projects?
I recognise the vital contribution that Europe offers for our creative development. I hope to foster new relationships with like-minded producers, with the view to creating long-standing co-production partners. I’m honoured to be a part of this tenth anniversary of Producers on the Move and am most grateful to the Irish Film Board for giving me this opportunity.