“It’s very hard to find a distributor for art-house films”
Industry Report: Documentary
Jitka Kotrlová • Producer, Frame Films
Interview with Jitka Kotrlová, producer for Czech company Frame Films and selected for the 2020 Emerging Producers programme
Why do you produce documentaries? Do you understand documentary film as an instrument of social and political change?
Jitka Kotrlová: My approach to filmmaking is more about the story and what the director wants to say. In this sense, a documentary is a form of expression as well as a political and social statement.
What qualities should a documentary producer have these days?
I can clearly see the increasing quantity of film production, I think that as a producer you need to be very well aware of the film market and follow the fresh approaches in distribution and in marketing. It’s my nature to push not only the topic of the film but also its form; in any case, in recent years I can feel the pressure on the visual quality. So I think you need to be still on track as a producer.
What do you think is the future of distribution of documentary films?
I think that documentary film has a certain disadvantage in theatres; it’s very hard to find a distributor for art-house cinema. There is certainly the question of the submission fee. I have to admit that special events and cinemas work much better for documentary film. So I believe that non-theatrical distribution, special events and VoD are the future of distribution.
What projects do you have under way (including in the area of fiction film and other projects)?
I have recently been working on documentary Jungle/Placht about Czech painter Otto Placht. He is a world acknowledged artist. His work crosses the continents, Otto lives and works in the Czech Republic and Peru, he is a painter of ”jungle" and he follows the philosophy of chaos in his paintings and even in his personal life. The director of the documentary is Alice Růžičková, a renowned script editor and director in the Czech Republic.
I have two documentary projects in early development. One is with Tomáš Elšík, the director of documentary Central Bus Station; we are doing a research on one environmental subject and discussing the form of the film. The second documentary is with Kristina Nedvědová who follows the topic of burials and their revitalisation in Czech Republic.
Among others we are preparing one web series for teenagers and TV series. Both are in development. In our production company, there is a lot going on right now, we are finishing and preparing co-productions and new projects such as a short documentary, VR projects and developments of feature fictions. As mentioned in my first answer, it’s always a matter of the subject and finding the right form.
Emerging Producers is a promotional and educational project, which brings together talented European documentary film producers. The programme is organised and curated by the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival.
Deadline for applications to the Emerging Producers 2021 edition is 15 March, 2020.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.