Two years ago Phanta Vision managing director Petra Goedings returned from Germany with a plan. She had observed how many German production houses were able to downscale their running costs while widening their output by running a team of freelance producers. The freelancer would look after the creative concept and the talent while the production house would raise the finance. As Goedings puts it: ‘The freelancer has no overheads and is much more flexible. The production company is offered more production continuity.’
So at Utrecht 2009 Goedings launched her own Young Producers’ Label, financed in-house and designed to hot-house the cream of young and energetic production talent from the national film school. The plan is that each producer will serve a four-year apprenticeship, during which he or she will produce six projects, a combination of features, documentaries and shorts. A new name will be added to the label every year.
‘For a long time I have taught at the film school in Amsterdam where there are always one or two people who have all the attributes of a good producer,’ Goedings points out. ‘Either content-wise or they are very good in the way they deal with directors and writers, or they know how to make a film better – all of these. But they also know how to raise the finance and to be both passionate and precise, to keep on working if necessary for years to get the film made. If you start immediately on a higher level with this sort of talent, making sure that they do not fall into problems that you can foresee, then you can facilitate them, make them grow quicker and our profession becomes far better professionalized and more respected as a result. And I get more continuity.’
Goedings’ first recruit is Keren Cogan Galjé, whom she coached for two years at film school. ‘She was developing very quickly in a good direction and I thought that this was the right moment to start with her,’ Goedings reveals. ‘We are now setting up three shorts, three features and a documentary with her. She has already made contracts with her talent and this month [January 2010 NC] she will attend the Rotterdam Lab.’
The label’s second fledgling producer is Felice Bakker who produced THE SEVEN OF DARAN, BATTLE OF PARAO ROCK, a film Goedings refers to as the first production in Holland made solely with equity money. The film was picked up by Buena Vista and enjoyed a theatrical release in The Netherlands. ‘I admire her,’ Goedings stresses. ‘She is very good at finding finance and prefers to be involved with commercial films. I will help guide her in order that she can pick up the required knowledge as quickly as possible, especially for international productions, not focussing so much on national funding.’
‘The producers working now in Holland now have had companies for the past ten or fifteen years,’ she continues. ‘It is not a healthy situation when the established producers are old and tired, so we have to look towards bringing new producers through. There are many initiatives for writers and directors in the Netherlands, but nothing for producers. So, for me, the Young Producers’ Label is not just good for my business, it allows me to pass on my knowledge, and for the young and talented people it’s nice to feel protected. It means that they do not have to be afraid of failure.’