Producer on the Move 2007 - Slovacchia
Marek Veselicky is a young Slovak producer who in 2006 produced Meeting the Enemy, a story based on the autobiographical novel by Partisan fighter Leopold Arje Friedmann. The film is an eccentric and arduous anti-war manifesto.
Cineuropa: What is your background and how did you decide to become a producer?
Marek Veselicky: My father was a TV producer of foreign programmes so I grew up in close contact with the artistic milieu. I was getting the feel of the TV studios, of documentary and film production and for some time I worked part-time as a prop man and production assistant. Later on, I started a career as a rock musician, our band travelled a lot throughout Central Europe. Then I got a job in a media agency, where I was able to get some business and marketing experience. This led to a decision to create an event production company of my own – FARBYKA. The company was a success and my next logical step was to try my hand at producing a feature film. Another reason to produce it was the fact that the film business in Slovakia was slowly disappearing. The movie, Meeting the Enemy, was my attempt to revive it.
You produced the film Meeting the Enemy, a World War II story. How did you put the financing together?
First of all, the film may be set at the end of WW II but its message is more general, this story could have taken place in any war, at any time. Almost 60% of the budget was covered by our company’s resources, the rest was a grant from the Slovak Ministry of Defence, as the film used documentary sequences showing Slovak soldiers in their peace-keeping missions abroad. Some money came also from other partners whom we offered advertising spots during the film’s promotional campaign.
What are production conditions like in Slovakia? Do you work with other countries?
The situation here is very complicated. Getting a grant is a long road with no guarantees because there is no well-defined or established system [regarding] why and which film should get state support. The “old boys network” also plays a significant role. So it’s no wonder that films that get state grants have little or no response abroad as well as at home. That’s why we made a decision to look for budget funds from private companies rather than to rely upon state support. Of course, projects in preparation are made in co-production with neighbouring states, such as the Czech Republic or Poland, which means that budgeting potential is much better. Some of the national TV companies have also started becoming co-production partners more and more frequently.
What do you expect from the Producers on the Move event organised by European Film Promotion?
My main ambition is to place Slovakia again – after a long time – on the European filmmaking scene. To produce films that would attract audiences and find positive acceptance both at home and abroad. As the head of a company I also wish that FARBYKA will find its place among the companies with a professional renown, that we prove we are able to enrich the art of film with new incentives, to discover new movie personalities – actors, directors, cameramen and composers. And it is my hope that some of these newly discovered talents will make a breakthrough abroad as well. We would also very much like to participate on quality international projects, and contacts made during Producers on the Move might help us with all that.
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