Michael John Fedun • Corrino Media Group
by Boyd van Hoeij
19/10/2011 - Born in Montreal to a Dutch mother and Canadian father, producer Michael John Fedun studied in the Netherlands before becoming a producer at Amsterdam-based Corrino Media Group, which alternates Dutch projects with international fare, such as the recent English-language film The Devil’s Double [trailer].
Cineuropa: How did you become a producer?
Michael John Fedun: I started in television but I quickly realized that my efforts disappeared faster than I could produce. TV has a short memory and lifespan. Films live longer; a good story can be passed on. The Netherlands Film & Television Academy was the 'boot camp' I needed in order to learn about the many flavours of world cinema. Film history coupled with my North-American upbringing gave me the best of both; I can appreciate Die Hard as much as The Battle of Algiers. Producing on two levels gives me balance; it's part of who I am.
How have you enjoyed the Producer on the Move experience?
It has opened up relationships with producers in other countries; It’s sometimes hard to meet people who have similar levels of experience. Working with individuals who are like-minded breaths energy into co-productions. Cultivating relationships is a necessity when dealing with ever-changing, country-specific resources. European films can easily function with different nationalities working together.
How was The Devil's Double put together?
It originated with us in the Netherlands but picked up a collection of passports along the way. It was financed partly through Belgium, crewed out of the UK and shot in Malta and Jordan with a cast from the Netherlands, France, UK and Iraq, among others. It is a European film directed by a New Zealander with the look of an American indie. The experience was fantastic. The energy derived from the different nationalities is what kept everyone on their toes. I think there’s a direct correlation between everyone striving to do their best as ambassadors of their countries and the film’s quality.
What are the differences between producing Dutch features and international films that need to reach wider audiences?
National films often have language and local cultural content inhibiting them from traveling much. This should not be construed as negative. Although the natural inclination is to want as many people as possible to see the film, the point of national films is often just that. Producing a national film allows for experimentation, risk and uniqueness that might otherwise be discounted for a broader audience. Producing an international film allows for creative and financial diversity with stories that often adhere to mass psychology.
How would you describe your ideal project?
On an international level, the ideal project is one born from a story that I've never heard before. Like The Devil's Double we often look for stories that are slightly off-center (the body double of Uday Hussein) while still based in mass consciousness (Iraq and Saddam's regime). On a national level, we look for stories that have a connection to the culture in question. We are now working with Hanro Smitsman on The Lost Son, an English-language film set in Afghanistan. And Michael Thomas, who wrote Double, is penning another film. I can't talk about it yet due to its controversial topic, but it is in line with what wefind interesting at Corrino, a story we've never heard before with a topic anchored in mass consciousness. But we don't want to over-fill our slate; what we do, we want to do well.