The Producers Connection, the newest addition to IDFA Forum which serves as a bespoke platform for fostering international co-production, providing a necessary space for sustaining this collaborative model of realizing documentary projects, had a successful first edition and we talked to the participants about their experience.
"This initiative shows, once again, that IDFA is at the forefront of important changes in our industry," says Siniša Juričić of Zagreb-based Nukleus Film. "TV financing is lagging behind because of immense pressure by the streamers and the only way for independent producers is to connect and bring these wonderful projects to their local funds and co-produce.
"There are several fiction producer initiatives that are trying to help European film companies to stay independent and I think it is the time to start something similar in the documentary field. So, in that sense I can say that I will be happy to follow-up the meetings I had at the Producers Connection and try to help bring those wonderful films to the light of the cinema screen."
Irish producer Roising Geraghty of Inland Films, who took part in Producers Connection with the project No Place Like Home, directed by Myrid Carten, says that taking part in the Producers Connection has been a fascinating, fruitful and educational experience.
"Not only have I learned a lot about the co-production landscape in Europe and made fantastic connections, but it has been really helpful in engaging with partners for our project," she explains. "In addition to this, the IDFA industry team has been so supportive and nurturing of the film. I am very grateful to have been involved."
Filipino producer Alemberg Ang of Daluyong Studios, who is working on the Philippines-Afghanistan co-production Dream of Grape Gardens, directed by Sahra Mani, says this was his first time at IDFA because previously he mostly worked with fiction.
"Being able to access the vast network of documentary producers that come to IDFA enabled me to get a better grasp of the documentary world. We got some really good connections to possible co-producers for our film. It seems that the producers who attended and booked meetings with us were well-curated.
"I just wish we had more days for the meetings. But then again, the abrupt changes brought about by the Covid situation may have affected the number of meetings we had," he said.
Finally, experienced French producer Marion Guth of a_Bahn, based in Luxembourg, says she found the atmosphere, the set-up and the projects brilliant.
"Under such difficult circumstances, IDFA Industry team managed for us to meet in this beautiful wide room yet operating like an intimate shelf where we could have meetings and focus on film coproduction and potential collaborations," she explained.
"I enjoyed meeting with a wide range of artists and producers, some known, some new to me. It's a delightful experience after such a long time being apart. It's a great initiative for creative documentaries to get a co-production focus as well."