Gian-Piero Ringel • Neue Road Movies
by Bénédicte Prot
04/05/2011 - At just 35 years of age, Gian-Piero Ringel, a graduate of the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (dffb), has been working for Wim Wenders' Neue Road Movies for four years, as producer on his projects The Palermo Shooting [trailer] and the new 3D documentary Pina [trailer]; as well as with other directors, including Angela Schanelec.
Ringel is also increasingly involved in European co-productions. Recently, he co-produced Filippos Tsitos' latest feature [currently in post-production] and is working on Romanian director Bogdan Mustata's Wolf, which has been selected for the Atelier of the Cannes Film Festival and has earned him participation in European Film Promotion’s Producers on the Move initiative.
Cineuropa: As a young producer, you have an impressive track record. How did you become involved in Wim Wenders' company Neue Road Movies?
Gian-Piero Ringel: I knew Wim’s niece Hella Wenders, studied with his editor (on Land of Plenty [trailer]) Moritz Laube, and last but not least, one of his producers on The Palermo Shooting is one of my oldest friends. Being half Italian and having lived for almost two years in Palermo, I somehow matched the co-production profile of this Italian/German project and was able to join it. After the film's premiere in competition at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival, [Wenders and I] decided to become partners within his company.
Besides Wenders' latest works, you have co-produced several European projects. What is the philosophy behind your commitment to non-domestic films? As a high-profile German partner, what do you bring to these projects?
Our aim is to create a consistent European network of partners with similar tastes, which can then function as a platform of exchange (of talent, money, and success) between the different countries or territories involved.
The idea is to be a very reliable partner, someone who can be trusted, who will always speak his mind, and, finally, who is interested in working together on projects from a very early stage, from the development phase. That is, to be a decent producer, well connected within his territory.
Personally, how much do you feel you have learnt from working with other European producers and directors? What do you expect from the initiative Producers on the Move?
I have benefited a lot from working with others. Not only have I learnt about producing, directing and exhibiting in other territories, but I also have had the luck to travel and learn more about other cultures that I expected to be quite different. This has also given me the opportunity to expand my network, know more potential (even minor) co-producers, and thus find a co-producer for Wim’s new project, Everything Will Be Fine.
When and why did you join Romanian director Bogdan Mustata's debut feature project, Wolf?
I met Bogdan and his producer Marcian Lazar, from Strada Film (If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle [trailer]), during the TorinoFilmLab, in 2009. That was their first pitch! In addition to this, without knowing it, Marcian and I took part in the same producers’ workshop (EAVE) in 2010. So, in the end, we had three occasions (and every time more than a week) to discuss projects that year, particularly Wolf.
During the EAVE workshop, we decided to produce Wolf together. Besides the fact that Marcian Lazar was someone I knew I wanted to work with, the main reason for this was the very direct and tough cinematic approach shown in Bogdan's short film A Good Day For a Swim (Golden Bear 2008).
Wolf has already participated in several prestigious workshops (Torino and Sundance). At three months before shooting begins, what do you hope to achieve at the Cannes Atelier? Are you still looking for partners?
Yes, we are. We had good talks with some world sales agents, but it seems too early for a definite commitment. As the financing is not closed yet, Cannes remains a good option to find the right partners: we are still looking for a German TV partner and we could also consider working with a third co-producer. That depends on what fits best.
Do you have other projects in the works?
Sure. There is Wenders’ next feature, Everything Will Be Fine (an episodic drama about a man who runs over a child and is struggling with that guilt a year later), which was part of the Toronto Producers Lab in 2010, and which we are going to shoot in Canada in 2012. There, we have Sarah Polley already on board, and we are looking for partners. We are also searching for a new 3D arthouse project. After the success of Pina, our third producer within Neue Road Movies, Erwin Schmidt, has become our 3D specialist and scans the market accordingly.