Producer on the Move 2007 – Poland
by Dorota Hartwich
Piotr Mularuk is a director, scriptwriter, and producer. He studied English literature at the University of Warsaw and in 1993 completed his cinema studies at the City University of New York. His graduation film Opowiem wam o Ester (lit. “I’m going to tell you the story of Esther”) won the Golden Apple at the National Education Film and Video Festival in Oakland, California, as well as Best Film and Best Director at the New York Hunter Student Film Festival.
Mularuk has been living for the past number of years in Poland, where he set up his production company Yeti Films.
Cineuropa: Your production outfit is only five years old and yet you managed to produce a film by one of the indisputable masters of European cinema, Peter Greenaway. Was that difficult?
Piotr Mularuk: Very difficult because Nightwatching [+see also:
film profile] had an extremely complicated financing structure. It’s a co-production between four countries: Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and Poland. But money came from other sources besides these four, such as institutions, as well as national and private organisations and pre-sales. The most difficult thing was integrating all these sources. That took us nine months. The timing too was particularly difficult because in Poland the PISF (Polish Film Institute) had just been set up and the funding mechanisms were not very well developed. So we had to lead the way.
Before studying at Walthamstow College of Art, Greenaway had contemplated studying at the Łódź Film School. So Poland wasn’t all that new to him. Did that make it easier to work together?
Certainly. We hit it off almost right away. He is clearly attracted to the East, by the people here. He has a very faithful public in Poland and Russia. I have a hunch that his next film will be made even further east than the last one. His eastern journey will not end in Poland.
The features (Wholetrain, Nightwatching and the upcoming Yuma) that you produce are co-productions. Do you rule out making domestic films?
No, I even have two film projects that will probably be shot entirely in Poland and financed here. But I also have two other projects that will be co-productions. This mirrors my mentality: now that we are members of the European Union, it is necessary to be open to the area beyond these European borders and act without complexes. This kind of attitude allows you to meet interesting people, travel and learn.
Yuma, which is scheduled to begin shooting next autumn, is about juvenile delinquency on the German/Polish border after the fall of the Berlin wall. What is it that fascinated you about this subject, considering that you have been working on the film for four years now?
What’s most important to me is not the criminal aspect but the human side of this story. I don’t want to tell a story about thieves and gangsters but about people who live in a place that the world has forgotten, where they are completely lost, have no models to follow and are left without hope. What I am trying to do is show how they fight to escape the boredom, the misery and the complete absence of hope.
With Yuma you play the triple role of director, scriptwriter and producer. Which of these suits you the best?
Director, without a shadow of a doubt. Setting up a production company was dictated by necessity. I felt that if I didn’t take things under control, I would always be depending on someone else. What I really like is directing though. Production belongs to the sphere of reason, but directing is a passion.
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