by Pauline Clague and Gillian Moody
In February the European Film Market takes place a s a part of the Berlinale Film Festival. Winda and UTS this year participated in the NATIVe Stand and the Fellows Program by inviting an Indigenous Producer to attend the Indigenous Lab to pitch to market a feature script ready for market. The NATIVe Stand is also a opportunity to promote Indigenous films and to show the breath and many facets of our industry to give a strong voice to the filmmakers in our regions. There are twelve members of the NATIVe Stand, which has been going for five years, but this is the first time Australia was a part of the Stand through it’s connections with Winda and the other International festivals around the world, with imagineNATIVE bringing together as many of the voices from the Indigenous space to the stand. As Berlinale’s Indigenous Spotlight this year was the Pacific, we thought it was important to add the Australian voice to the Stand and Fellows program.
The Stand helps to promote Indigenous voices to the International stage, led by imagineNATIVE (Canada) the largest Indigenous Film Festival in the world, it’s other partners are the Sami Film Institute (covering the Sapmi from Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia), Vision Maker Media (USA), Sundance Native Program (USA), Maoriland Film festival (NZ), Indigenous Media Initiatives (South America), Pacific Islanders in Communications (Hawaii) New Zealand Film Commission (NZ), Greenland Film Makers (Greenland), Sakha Film (Russia) and Winda Film festival (Aus).
Each member supported the stand and filmmakers in attendance at the festival, giving them a space to pitch and engage with the world markets.
I caught up with Gillian Moody the recipient of the fellows program to see what the experience was like for her.
“Firstly I’d like to thank WINDA and Jumbunna UTS for providing the opportunity for me to be the first Australian NATIVe Fellow to attend the NATIVe Programme at the European Film Market and Berlinale 2019. It is always so inspiring to gather with likeminded Indigenous filmmakers from around the world!”
What is your role and what project were you pitching to EFM?
I am a producer and company owner of Kalori Productions which currently has a slate of feature projects at varying stages of development and a short film in production.
The project I was pitching at the EFM is Ginderella, which is currently moving into 4th draft. My aim is to attract an international distribution and sales company to our film as this is a requirement of funding within Australia when financing the film through federal financing avenues. Ginderella is supported by the Indigenous Dept. of Screen Australia who have contributed to development to date. They are keen to continue their support and together we are hopeful to have the next draft be ready to put out for financing from. Therefore as we are currently developing this next draft, I was able to soft pitch the project with a few pre-scheduled meetings and cold pitch both Ginderella and other projects to companies as I wandered around the EFM spaces.
One meeting was extremely important to me as I was able to re-connect with a sales company whom I had spoken to about the project at Cannes in 2018. To have the opportunity to meet face to face and provide an update of where we are at with the project is invaluable as our industry relies heavily of relationships and sustaining contact. I also had other meetings with sales agents who are also keen to stay in touch and receive the script.
It also gave me the opportunity to consider distribution/sales options for a documentary project that was completed in 2018. The EFM provides access for all formats with Feature being its main focus and TV Drama and Documentary also.
How many of the fellows were there?
There were 7 fellows in the producers program in 2019 including myself. They 6 other fellows were:
Tyler Hagen – Metis producer from Vancouver Canada. Tyler was participating in the fellows program with his film The Body Remembers When The World Broke Open a feature film screening in the Generation Program of the festival. Tyler also introduced us to the filmmaking team behind the feature, writer/directors Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers and his wife Kathleen Hepburn along with his co-producer and the films DOP.
Sergio Rapu – Rapanui producer/director from Easter Island. Sergio currently lives in the USA but originates from the small Island of Easter Island in his words ”famous for the big stone heads”. Sergio has a documentary that is starting to do the festival circuit Eating Up Easter a film that looks at the globalizing affects Tourism has on small communities. He was looking to connect with distributors and sales agents for his film.
Brook Swaney – Blackfeet Tribal Member & Salish Descendent producer/director from the USA. Brook has been working on her documentary Daughter Of A Lost Bird across 7 years, a film that explores one womens’ connection with her mother and her Indigenous bloodlines as an adult after having been adopted as a child. Brook was also keen to meet with distirbutors and sales agents for her project which is currently in post-production.
Nina Paninnguaq S. Jacobsen – Greenlandic producer from Greenland. Nina is one of very few Producers in Greenland and therefore is often approached for her expertise, she collaborates with both local and international people/companies. Nina came to EFM with 13 projects on her slate. But her fellow project was “Alanngut Killinganni” which will be her first feature as a producer.
Desray Armstorng – Māori producer from Aotearoa New Zealand. Desray has produced documentaries, factual series, music videos, web series’ and award-winning short films and was attending with Stray her co-producer and director Dustin Feneley’s feature film screening at the EFM Market.
Lisa Marie Kristensen – Sapmi producer from Kautokeino in the northernmost part of Norway. Lisa is a documentary producer who works with a small collective of filmmakers in her home town. She is currently producing her first full length documentary Báttit.
Do you think the experience at market is a helpful one?
Just generally to have an opportunity to attend a festival and market the size of Berlinale and EFM is an important experience, whether it be to observe how the market works or experience a screening with a festival audience, both enable a producer to be prepared for the future. The landscape of filmmaking is constantly changing and evolving and the EFM and Berlinale also provide access to ways of educating yourself on the current changes and trends. All of this information and experience only goes to helping producers understand how to plan for financing, marketing of their films and how a market or festival can be best utilised for your projects in the future.
The support I had in having my travel and accommodation covered was immeasurable as this can often be an obstacle and strain for independent producers, the fellowship also provided a stipend to cover my time and expenses whilst on the ground, again to have this provided helps to alleviate the strain of being away from the day to day work and allows you to dedicate your time and mind to preparing for and attending the Fellows Lab. Is also makes you feel valued and secure when traveling overseas. The support given to being able to print flyers and business cards prior to the trip was fantastic as this provided me with materials that I could hand out at meetings and in networking. I also must day that having Pauline in attendance was a great bonus for me also, we provided support to each other across the festival.