Producers on the Move 2015 – Portugal
by Vitor Pinto
- Joana Ferreira co-founded C.R.I.M., producing, among others, Rita Azevedo Gomes' A Woman’s Revenge and Joaquim Pinto’s award-winning What Now? Remind Me
Joana Ferreira began working in the film industry in the 1990s during her Anthropology studies at Lisbon's Nova University and was involved in films by such Portuguese directors as the late Manoel de Oliveira, João Botelho and João César Monteiro. In 2005, Ferreira co-founded C.R.I.M. with Isabel Machado and Christine Reeh, producing, among others, Rita Azevedo Gomes' A Woman’s Revenge [+see also:
interview: Rita Azevedo Gomes
film profile] and Joaquim Pinto’s award-winning What Now? Remind Me [+see also:
film profile]. C.R.I.M.’s new projects include the upcoming films by Jorge Cramez, André Gil Mata and duo Joaquim Pinto/Nuno Leonel.
Cineuropa: How did you initially get into the world of production?
Joana Ferreira: It’s not easy to remember when it all started, but there were certainly moments that pushed me in that direction. I had moved to Lisbon to study (first Philosophy, then Anthropology), and I was working part time in Bairro Alto’s mythical bar Captain Kirk. Back then, [director] Jorge Cramez organised daily film screenings at the bar. Every evening there was a new film, and that’s when I saw the movies by Ford, Cronenberg, Welles, Rossellini, De Sica, Sirk, Fassbinder and so many others for the first time. From then on, cinema became part of my life. I started to pay attention to new films and to look at them in a different way. My circle of friends accompanied me throughout that discovery process. Then I met [producer] Paulo Branco at a friend’s dinner and asked him if there was anything I could do on one of his films. The following day, I became a production trainee on João Botelho’s Tráfico. And ever since then, I have been working in production: firstly as a production assistant, then as a freelance production manager. I did post-production coordination and also worked on project financing for years - until I decided it was about time to create my own company, C.R.I.M. In a happy coincidence, over 20 years after meeting Jorge Cramez for the first time, C.R.I.M. recently presented his latest short film (Tow Truck Driver) at the 12th IndieLisboa. We are also currently working on his second feature-length film, entitled Amor Amor, principal photography for which is scheduled for later this year.
In a male-dominated industry, C.R.I.M. has a fully female team. Does it facilitate your company’s performance or condition it in any way?
The fact that we are all women is just a coincidence. It happened naturally. We have obviously interviewed men, but for some reason, we ended up selecting women. This does not prevent us from working with male directors. It is also true that we work with a lot of female directors, but I do not think that our choices are gender-orientated. Honestly, I don’t think that’s an issue for the (male) producers, directors and artists we work with. C.R.I.M.’s work is respected through its films and through the relationships we have developed with several people over the years. Male dominance in society is quite an old, serious socio-cultural problem. Things have evolved, although the reality is far from being perfect. My motto is: “Think the utopia, transform the reality.”
C.R.I.M.’s growing international reputation is linked to Joaquim Pinto’s amazing documentary What Now? Remind Me… Are you particularly keen to produce documentaries?
Not really! Our line-up is so vast that it’s not fair to get stuck into a particular genre. We take our chances on projects we tend to indentify with. We have produced a lot of films – both fiction and documentaries - and TV series, besides several other projects, which are related to visual arts. Nowadays, it no longer makes sense to draw a rigid line between reality and fiction: we make films, we make cinema; that’s all. Pinto’s film is actually a good example of it: it travelled and was awarded at several festivals, not in documentary festivals specifically. It even won the Special Jury Prize at Locarno, side by side with the so-called “fictions”.
Are there any recent titles in C.R.I.M.’s catalogue that you would like to highlight?
Yes, I would like to draw everyone’s attention to Jorge Cramez’s Tow Truck Driver and Philippe Costantini’s A Casa Maes – two shorts recently shown at IndieLisboa. I would also like to mention two other films that we will release this year: Christine Reeh’s As Crónicas de Polyaris – a co-production with Norway and Germany almost entirely shot in the Arctic Svalbard archipelago – and Rita Azevedo Gomes’ Correspondência, about the epistolary exchanges between [Portuguese poets] Sophia de Mello Breyner and Jorge de Sena, which will wrap soon.
What about other co-production projects in stock, which might be interesting for some of the other Producers on the Move?
We are now strongly focused on C.R.I.M.’s internationalisation process, and I am working on three projects, which certainly have co-production potential: Amor Amor by Jorge Cramez, which is supported by Portugal’s film body, the ICA; A Árvore by André Gil Mata, which we will co-produce with Serbia; and Pathos, the new film by Joaquim Pinto and Nuno Leonel, featuring characters we will all fall in love with.
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