Judit Stalter • Laokoon Filmgroup
by Fabien Lemercier
25/04/2012 - Propelled to centre stage of the Hungarian film industry in 2007 thanks to Happy new life (Special Mention in the Berlinale's Panorama section), Laokoon Film has since reinforced its name with Attila Till's Panic and by co-producing 1, Transmission and Tender Son – the Frankenstein.
Cineuropa: How was Laokoon Filmgroup founded and how have you developed your movie-production activity?
Judit Stalter: Laokoon Filmgroup is a young generation production company founded by Gabor Sipos and Gabor Rajna ten years ago. It focuses on the development, and production of high-quality auteur feature films, creative documentaries and shorts. There are three producers in the company: Gabor Sipos and me do project development, applications and are responsible for ensuring that European cinema has an international network.Gabor Rajna is the general manager of the company and is mainly responsible for production. Laokoon concentrates on co-productions with both international and Hungarian partners. Gabor Sipos is an ACE member, I am a MegaPlus member.
Can you briefly describe Laokoon Filmgroup's current feature slate?
My current upcoming feature is called Kills on Wheels by Attila Till. We have already received development support from the Hungarian National Film Fund and started developing the script and the project last year. Because of the international potential of the story, we are planning to make this film a Hungarian-Scandinavian co-production, and are planning to shoot it during summer 2013. Our latest short film Csicska(Beast) by Attila Till was premiered in the Quinzaine Section at Cannes 2011. After more than 30 international festivals, it has been nominated for the European Film Award.
Necromancer by Árpád Bogdán is another feature planned by lead producer Gabor Sipos. The first film by Arpad Bogdan, Happy New Life featured in Berlinale, Panorama in 2007 and received a Special Mention. This new project has been in development for two years and has won European development prizes, such as Black Nights in Tallinn (best project), Cinelink in Sarajevo (in-kind award) and also participated in the Nipkow Programme. We are planning to shoot the film at the end of 2012.
Another Laokoon project is S.K. by Laszlo Nemes, this was developed during the Cannes Résidence programme in 2011. I have been also working on a fiction documentary, Besence Open by Kristóf Kovács and a documentary film series about big European food markets in five countries. I am the co-producer of the Hungarian section; the lead producer is Stefano Tealdi from Stefilm (Italy).
What type of films are you interested in making?
Personally, I love good films in every genre. We have done a feature film every year that has kept us open-minded towards the younger generation. We like to do new things and try to make the impossible possible. I like authors with a strong personal taste.
What do you think of the crisis in the film-financing system in Hungary?
In the past two years, the situation has been really difficult. The Hungarian Cultural Ministry has completely reorganized the film-financing system, which only started to support projects six months ago. During the crisis, we worked hard and self financed our international developments. I did post-graduate work at MegaPlus in Media Business School in 2010, while Gabor Sipos completed the ACE program with Necromancer. We are participating in many international development fora,such as ACE, Cinelink, EEFA, EuroDoc. I am certain, with the level of our projects, that these are more reasons to be able to acquire recent production support from both new boards, MNF (Hungarian National Film Fund) and MTVA (Broadcast Support and Asset Management Fund).
Do you have international prospectives involving co-productions with other European countries?
Yes, absolutely, we would like to step beyond our borders and reach the international audience with all our projects. Hungary is a small country with a strong heritage of art-house cinema. My main goal is to reach the same level in the cross-over genres.
Producers on the move is an initiative of the EUROPEAN FILM PROMOTION