Producer on the Move 2014 – Spain
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
- Producer Marta Velasco, from Seville-based Áralan Films, will be the Spanish representative at the 2014 edition of the European Film Promotion Producers on the Move event
Despite her having taken her first steps in the film industry in 2000, Marta Velasco fully immersed herself in her role as a producer when, together with Gonzalo Bendala, she founded Áralan Films, with which she has produced several short films. She made the leap to feature films with Els nens salvatges [+see also:
film profile] (2012) and is currently at various stages of development with a number of other features, such as Asesinos inocentes and the international co-production Cuando los ángeles duermen. These new projects embody an editorial policy that strives to reach as extensive an audience as possible. In Velasco’s own words, “The most important things are the stories, the scripts. We don’t close our doors to any genre.”
Cineuropa: How did you initially get into the world of production?
Marta Velasco: Shorts, shorts and more shorts. Toughening myself up with the short-film format was an essential step for me when I was starting out. You gain experience, you get to know professionals and you try out formulas that can be of use to you later on – or not – but you can always learn something from them. Through creating my own production company, Áralan Films, I began to familiarise myself with a totally different world, a world that’s more closely related to the financial side of film production, which, at the end of the day, is the basis of any initiative. Through Áralan, we began to offer services to third parties, and with these I continued to train myself up as a producer, as well as going along to markets, festivals and specialised training courses, and minority co-producing more prominent projects. But I generally got myself involved as much as I could in order to constantly learn as much as possible.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of an international co-production?
One of the advantages of an international co-production is that you can take on more prominent projects, with bigger budgets, since you have a wider range of funding sources at your fingertips: those from your own country as well as those from the co-producing countries. Likewise, the exhibition market that you have access to is also bigger. The disadvantages include the fact that there are more responsibilities to take on with each of the countries involved, which isn't always in the interest of the production. On the other hand, operations become more complicated and remote working has its own range of physical complexities, although, thanks to the internet, this potentially very complicated aspect is not so complex any more.
Spanish film production is going through a very unsteady period. What is your opinion of the current situation?
The film funding model is changing, and that is an obstacle when it comes to taking on projects, but I also think that new opportunities are being created, opportunities that it's essential to make the most of. We're experiencing a change from a funding model based on public subsidies to a different one founded on attracting private capital. I think that it's a wise move and that it will benefit the sector in the long run. Moreover, there's been a fundamental, almost imperceptible, transformation that we have experienced over the last few years, which is that Spanish audiences have ended up accepting this opening-up to genres that had been somewhat under-developed by Spanish producers in the past for fear of them looking ridiculous or having a lack of acceptance. Now no one bats an eyelid when they see Spanish horror films, children's movies or even action films, and this is something that would have been unthinkable for our country's audiences a few years ago. Hence the old derogatory term españoladas being used to refer to those films that gave a very clichéd image of Spain. This fundamental change has been made possible by impressive films and talented filmmakers who knew how to connect with audiences in unprecedented ways.
What are your hopes for the Producer on the Move event?
I think it's a great opportunity to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, sharing ideas and projects with other European producers from your own generation. I'm going to the Producer on the Move event hoping to meet people and become more familiar with certain projects, to engage with possible partners for Áralan's upcoming films – and, ultimately, I'm going along full of hope for cinema.
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