Interview with Peter Badač
Meet Peter Badač (1986), producer at film production company BFILM and lecturer at FAMU in Prague and Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. His portfolio includes films, TV shows and programmes, and commercials. He has worked on such films as animated short Pandas (2013) by Matúš Vizár, awarded at Cannes Cinéfondation in 2013, or features Filthy (2017) by Tereza Nvotová, premiered at IFF Rotterdam 2017, awarded with Czech Film Critic Award for Best Film of 2017, and Freedom (2017) by Jan Speckenbach, premiered at Locarno IFF 2017.
What does being a Producer on the Move mean to you?
First, it is an honour for me to be among 20 promising European film producers and represent Slovakia at such a prestigious platform. The fact that the participation is not automatic, but producers have to meet quite strict criteria only adds to the feeling. At the same time, it is a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleague producers from other European countries and to exchange individual experience, news and perhaps even insider information on the industry in other countries. I look forward to interesting talks on new trends and directions of audiovisual production.
As a producer, how much do you put yourself into a film project?
Film for me is a collaborative piece of art; it is not made by only one author, but a whole team, including the producer. Therefore, openness to discussion is very important. I am not a directive kind of person. You know, one that does not allow any but his/her way. I prefer to talk with my team, look for the most suitable solutions that will meet their expectations and artistic ambitions, and in the same time are acceptable for my goals and me as the producer. I believe the recent collaboration with Tereza Nvotová on Filthy is a good example. Tereza is quite a stubborn author, but she is open to constructive discussion and search for solutions. The result is a film that resonated well with the audience, and whose admission, as well as the impact of the main idea on the public have surpassed even my expectations.
BFILM has in its portfolio short and featurelength films, animated as well as live action. Which would you call your coup de coeur?
My very first projects were auteur animation short films, and I am still devoted to them. Then we embraced animated films for children, feature-length animation, as well as live-action features and shorts; currently, BFILM has several interesting TV projects in development stage as well. Each category connects with filmmakers with whom we have been working for several years, so it is impossible for me to pick my favorite type of production. Yet, the growing potential of TV production and the changes in TV programers' thinking fascinates me.
Both Filthy and Freedom are about strong decisions of women and their consequences. After being raped, Lena opts for (attempted) suicide over speaking up, and Nora just leaves her husband and two children. Can we speak of an artistic intention or is it just a coincidence?
The latter. It just turned out that way that both films have female lead and both were released in 2017. On the other hand, I am glad that there are filmmakers choosing strong ideas and introducing strong female characters with interesting stories that have potential to speak to both, Slovak and international audiences. But for me, it is the filmmaker's personality that is crucial, not that much the story itself. I think that nowadays many films are made just because there is this possibility. No one thinks about whether or not there is a need for this film, what is its audience, what is its message or idea. I believe these are important questions the filmmaker should be able to answer.
Otherwise the project loses its allure. Can you give us some insider information on BFILM's current projects?
I would mention Weirdo in the Underground that we are developing with Vilo Vadnal as director and Viliam Klimáček as scriptwriter. The idea is of a cross-genre film in Michel Gondry style, but Viliam's approach is much less dreamy and poetic. If things continue going well, we should start shooting next year.
The feature-length film by Peter Budinský Heart of a Tower is a project that we have been intensely working on for some time already. Now we are gathering finances so in 2019 we could start with animation and hopefully, in 2021 we might be ready to present to the audience one beautiful and artistically peculiar animated family film.
In 2018, we should also finish two animation shorts. We will present The End by David Štumpf and Miša Mihályiová at Mifa Pitches at Annecy Festival in just a couple of weeks. Its release is planned for the end of 2018. Martin Smatana has just started animating The Kite. We very much hope to repeat the success of his Rosso Papavero, and present it at Berlinale in 2019.
If you were to leave everything behind, where would you go?
This is my 4th Festival de Cannes and I have already learnt that it can be quite intense with all the meetings, presentations, new people and old friends. That is why right after the Producers on the Move ends, I am leaving all the buzz behind and go to visit my friends in Singapore and New Zealand. The plan is to relax and gather energy for the upcoming BFILM projects.
Personal quote: „There is little success where there is little laughter.“ (Andrew Carnegie) Favourite word: approximative
Favourite meal: beef tartar
A film you could watch million times: Blockbuster (Trhák, d. Zdeněk Podskalský, 1980)
Related AIC articles:
Producers on the Move 2018: Peter Badač