An interview with Anamaria Antoci

Anamaria Antoci studied choreography at UNATC and wanted to be a theater choreographer. Now, she is a film producer and co-founder of Bucharest International Dance Film Festival. We wanted to find out more about what does it really mean to be a film producer, what are the challenges behind this job and what are Anamaria's plans for the future. She was kind enough to answer all our questions and she also told us a bit about what we are going to find out during the Student Hub masterclass held on October 30th, at CINETic Centre: "The script is done. What's next?"

You studied choreography at UNATC and wanted to be a theater choreographer. How and for what reason did you get to film production?

It just so happened that I got in touch with the world behind the curtains of a dance performance and then a theater festival, and step by step I fell in love with organizational work. I really enjoyed being part of the team that made things happen and I understood how important people who, driven by their passion, support the achievement of the artistic act are, and not just the creators. The transition to film production came from a need of new challenges, after about 5 years of working on several cultural projects and artistic events.

And what exactly made you stay in this area and not go back to cultural management or choreography?

During the time I worked as a project coordinator, I realized I did not want a career as a cultural manager. I just felt it was not for me.I’ve never given up choreography, I just quitted being a choreographer. I think this job wasn’t meant for me and I was aware I didn’t have the necessary talent, but my love for dancing has always been there. Hence my involvement in the production of several dance performances and short films, and in organizing a dance film festival.

I’ve noticed that sometimes people don’t really know what a film producer does and what his tasks are. Help me shed some light on this mystery by answering the following question: What is the hardest challenge for a film producer, in general?

I think it’s hard to unveil this mystery and mainly because a producer has multiple responsibilities so the answer could be quite intricate. It’s not easy to define the role of a producer, but it’s essential in making a film. His tasks can include anything from script development to funding, and even designing a marketing campaign. He is also responsible for hiring all crew members, starting with the director.

But the biggest challenge you faced throughout your career as a producer and managed to bring to completion?

Perhaps, the greatest challenges occur in the first film. After a long period of time when I sent the film as a work in progress to several festival programmers and sales agents and received endless refusals, I managed to stop before jeopardizing a last major opportunity. It turned out that the final version was the one that met their conditions and was selected in an important festival.

How and on what criteria do you choose the projects and productions you decide to “bring to life”?

First of all, the project has to be captivating at my very first reading. Secondly, the relationship I have or want to build with the director is very important. In order for me to bring the project to life, I have to entirely believe in it, and that’s the only way I can convince other people to believe and invest in it.

What is “Tangaj Production” and how was it set up?

Tangaj Production is my film production company and was born out of a need to focus my energy in one place and to give the projects I initiate a common identity.

How does the ideal producer-director relationship look like to you?

It has to be a relationship based on trust, similar views and goals. Most of the times, in theory, it’s a love story, practically it’s a complicated marriage.

What projects are you currently working on? Does the producer job leave you any time to take on other projects?

I work on several features and short films, such as the new feature film directed by Dan Chişu, Jandarmul, currently in post-production, the debut film of a director in the Republic of Moldova – Grigore Bechet, and Adrian’s Sitaru latest feature. Besides film projects, I am also involved in an annual dance film festival  (Bucharest International Dance Film Festival) which I started in 2015 together with a very talented choreographer and my best friend, Simona Deaconescu.

What future plans do you have?

I want to continue to produce films, as diverse and daring as possible, ideally alongside a dynamic team of 3-4 people, in a market based on transparency and fairness.

Do you have any advice for young producers who have just entered this world or wish to do it?

My advice is not to dream of success and big festivals, but rather of new ideas and honest scripts. The success of a film is not just Cannes or Berlin. Also, to be flexible, creative and have patience because each project has its own way.

And last but not least, what will you talk about on the masterclass held on October 30th, at CINETic Centre: “The script is done. What’s next?”

I will talk about the producer-director relationship and the role of the producer, where it starts and where it ends, about the importance of a development and financing strategy specific to each project and how to make a film project attractive to investors, and just about anything else considering the questions or concerns of those present.

Photo credits: Adrian Silișteanu, BIDFF

An interview by Romina Banu

English translation by Andreea Toader

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