Giedrė Žickytė • Producer, Moonmakers
“A documentary producer has to have a very subtle and honest approach”
by Emerging Producers
- Interview with Giedrė Žickytė, producer for Lithuanian company Moonmakers and selected for the 2019 Emerging Producers programme
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Giedrė Žickytė: As long as I can remember, I’ve always loved telling stories. For me, a documentary film is a very personal conversation between the audience and the author. Film language is universal. One of the most important things I care about when I start working on a new film, is motivation. As long as the director sincerely cares about the subject of the film, the film has its purpose. The social and political change comes simultaneously.
What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
Most importantly, a documentary producer has to have human qualities to provide very needed support and help to all the people working on their film. Making a documentary movie can be very vulnerable, personal, raising ethical questions or moral dilemmas; therefore, a producer has to have a very subtle and honest approach. He needs to be patient, to give moral support and stay level-minded. Flexibility and ability to adapt to any situations, including the search for financing, is key in working in the documentary field. Especially in our times, when it gets really challenging to finance author films, producers need a lot of strength and creativity to find the ways to remain faithful to the cinema.
What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
Nowadays, the technology allows everyone to create films. The authors are able to get extremely close to their characters, spend time with them, and have endless amounts of footage. It is even said that directors are becoming “collectors” of the material. With that comes the challenge of managing and working with this footage. Simultaneously, more films are released every year, flooding the marketplace. Therefore, I think it is very important to keep one’s authenticity in order not to be lost in tens of thousands other movies. Also we need to have the professional skills in evaluating the strengths and certain qualities of our films. With that in mind, producers need to search for ways of distributing their films with unique and honest approach, and to find the specific path for each movie. Also, the technologies have changed the way the audience watches the films. The future distribution should have hybrid strategies which combine traditional releases like cinema, TV, etc. with online distribution.
What projects do you have under way (including in the area of fiction film and other projects)?
We have just finished short documentary One Life by Marija Stonytė following the entire life of commercially produced butterfly and waiting for world premiere. There are two feature long documentaries in postproduction: The Jump by Giedrė Žickytė (Lithuania, Latvia, France and United States) tells an extraordinary journey of a simple man whose bid for freedom captivated the world. Gentle Warriors by Marija Stonytė (Lithuania, Estonia) follows young women becoming warriors in the military and in their own lives. There is also a co-production Ukrainian documentary The Earth Is Blue as an Orange (dir. Iryna Tsylik) about a family in Donbas, Ukraine, who live in a front-line zone and still dream for normal life and even create their own films. There are three more documentaries in development stage too.
Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2020 edition is 15 March, 2019. Click here.
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