Magazine article Variety

Crews Cash in on Co-Production Coin

Magazine article Variety

Crews Cash in on Co-Production Coin

Article excerpt

film production has been described as an industry of itinerant workers. Below-theline crews move from job to job, often from location to location. Job security is precarious. Benefits, negotiated by unions and guilds, are frequently at the mercy of such factors as number of days worked per year.

Outside and unpredictable developments can have a devastating effect on those workers. One such example: the writers' strike that shook Hollywood in 2007-08 - a repeat of which was narrowly averted last week.

Yet, for foreign crews, one global trend has been particularly beneficial. International co-productions have been assembling financing and pooling resources from many countries, giving life to films that might otherwise not be made.

Stockholm-based producer Erik Hemmendorff has based his career on building such co-productions. His next feature, "The Square," which debuts in competition in Cannes this month, has brought together financing from Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden and the U.S. Directed by Ruben Ostlund and starring Elisabeth Moss and Dominic West, the darkly comic drama, set in the art world, was created by crew members of many nationalities and hailing from four countries.

For Hemmendorff, the business model matches that of his 2014 film "Force Majeure," also helmed by Ostlund, which built its $3.8 million budget from 15 financiers in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, France and Italy. The international roots of the film, a drama about the ways in which members of a family on a ski vacation try to survive an avalanche, are apparent in its locations - which include the French Alps and a perilous mountain road in Italy. Its wildly diverse crew included a Danish editor and color grader, Swedish and Norwegian sound mixers, a Swedish cinematographer and grips and technicians from all three countries.

When "Force Majeure" filmed in Italy and France, Ostlund and Hemmendorff worked with Italian and French crews, hiring locally and creating jobs at each location.

"We think of ourselves as international filmmakers," Hemmendorff says. "The way we develop our projects, they are not so much Swedish as European."

Co-productions are also boosting the number of animated films. …

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