2009 Producer on the Move - Denmark
by Annika Pham
- Christian Potalivo 2009 Producer on the Move - Denmark
A former child actor, Christian Potalivo has been working as in-house producer for one of Denmark’s most established companies, M&M Productions, since 2007. His credits include the short film The Pig, nominated for an Academy Award earlier this year, and the family film The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar III: The Mystery of the Snake Crown. He is currently overseeing post-production on the major international adventure film At World’s End, co-produced with Germany (K5) and Australia (New Holland Picture).
Cineuropa: What is your background?
Christian Potalivo: I was a child actor and entered the film world at the age of eight. I quickly realised that what I really loved was reading scripts and getting involved in the creative aspect of filmmaking. So I enrolled at the European Film College and then took a production course at the Danish Film School, from which I graduated in 2007. Meanwhile, I did an internship at M&M Productions. I started working for them as junior producer in 2006. Since 2007, I have been working as a full-time producer for them.
Tivi Magnusson, who founded M&M, is one of the biggest “moguls” in Danish cinema. What tips did he give you on the producer’s job?
When you work with someone that experienced, you learn how to react fast, how to keep your calm and how to push the right buttons when needed.
Do you have steady alliances with other Nordic producers?
No, we have shifting partners across Scandinavia. We shop around for every project, looking for the most compatible partner for each project.
How was your experience in Hollywood last February, with the Academy Award-nominated short film The Pig?
I produced The Pig with Tivi. It was one of the first projects I picked up. Going to Hollywood with the film was fantastic. I felt I was in the middle of a hurricane! I also realised how the US way of doing things is different from the Danish – and European – way, and how far away we are from the Hollywood hype.
What type of projects catch your attention?
In the two years I’ve spent at M&M, I’ve worked on four shorts and two family feature films (Frode and All the Other Rascals and The Lost Treasure of the Knights Templar III). A lot of projects come to us because we’re so established. We also have several close collaborations with established writers, such as Anders Thomas Jensen. As I grew up with film and always have a lot of kids around me, working on family films is very natural for me. But I don’t really have any favourite genre. I like all genres if the story is good and intriguing, and if the craftsmanship is good.
What are you working on?
I have two films in post-production: Monster Busters by Martin Schmidt, a mix between a traditional Danish family film and Ghostbusters; and Tomas Villum Jensen’s international adventure film At World’s End, starring Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Nikolaj Coster Waldau, Kee Chan, Steven Berkoff, and Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, among others. The DKK 26m (€3.5m) film is co-produced with Germany (K5) and Australia (New Holland Pictures).
What did you learn from working on such a major international co-production?
At World’s End was a tough co-production because it involved different countries and different locations, therefore working with great distances. It was shot in Denmark, Australia, Singapore and Indonesia. I learned that to work on such a grand-scale production you need to have a good crew that you can rely on. I was also lucky because Europeans and Australians are like-minded. The film will be ready for a Danish theatrical release through Nordisk next October.
Are you excited about being a Producer on the Move?
It’s a great opportunity to meet like-minded European colleagues, to discuss our own projects and perhaps also to pick up other European projects.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.