Hubert Toint and Mark Denessen • Producers, Ginger Pictures
“What matters to us is quality; we don’t want to limit ourselves to a medium, a genre or even a geographic area”
- We met up with two of the associates behind the inherently pan-European production company, a joint venture between Benelux and Scandinavia
Launched in 2020, Ginger Pictures already has projects lined up for the next four years, all of them collaborations spanning multiple European countries. Next up, they are co-producing two ambitious series: the children’s animation Monster Loving Maniacs and The Kingdom: Exodus, the third season of Lars von Trier’s series. With one office in Benelux and the other in Scandinavia, Ginger Pictures is ready to take on the rest of Europe. We met up with Hubert Toint and Mark Denessen, two of the associates behind the company.
Cineuropa: How did this collaboration come about?
Mark Denessen: I actually don’t remember when we first met exactly, do you?
Hubert Toint: No, I don’t either!
MD: In any case, I had started spending more time in Belgium through my work with Danish production companies, and we got to know each other.
HT: Which is how I heard about the work Denessen Media was doing, and we started working together on MEDIA slate applications for Saga Film – the production company that I launched 35 years ago this year. Jennifer Ritter, Ginger Pictures’ head of administration, has also been an essential member of Saga Film since she joined us in 2014.
MD: When I decided to start my own production company, it felt natural to reach out to Hubert and Jennifer. Their individual know-hows, and Saga Film’s established and long-standing success, are the pillars upon which Ginger Pictures is built. It’s great to benefit from their experience in this new endeavour.
HT: Yet, it is a true collaboration, as Mark’s network, versatility and dynamism enable us to pursue a wide variety of projects, all very exciting.
Tell us about these projects. What are you working on?
MD: Well, our special co-production approach allows us to cherry-pick the projects that we want to take part in based on what we find most inspiring. In this digital day and age, there are a staggering number of projects in development – what matters to us is quality; we don’t want to limit ourselves to a medium, a genre or even a geographic area.
HT: Which is partly why we’re international, structurally speaking – by having offices in both Denmark and Brussels, but also through our collaborators. We’ve assembled a great international team of young, diverse talents who are all multilingual.
MD: They also ensure that we’re up to date on trends.
HT: We are currently co-producing two very different series. One is a fantastical children’s animation called Monster Loving Maniacs, written by Rune Christensen, who also directs it, and Anders Berthelsen, who is also a producer, as is Maria Wernicke. In fact, it’s a co-production with Danish company JA Film, Raphaele Ingberg for Belvision and Mondo Italy. We’ve secured sales agent Toon2Tango, and it is being animated by JA Film and Belgian company DreamWall. We are also very honoured to be a part of Lars von Trier’s long-awaited continuation of his chilling series The Kingdom Exodus, distributed internationally by TrustNordisk.
Is there anything else coming up for Ginger Pictures?
MD: Absolutely! We have over 20 projects in the works, all very different from each other, but all unique and relevant. One of the things that brought us together – Hubert, Jennifer and I – are our shared values. We want any project that we put out into the world to be inclusive and to be an original take on current issues.
HT: Whether we’re producing films or series, for children, teenagers or adults, we want it to be relatable in some way – for it to say something that will add to the international public discourse. Otherwise, what’s the point, you know?
MD: Exactly! So, one example of a series that we are developing is The Token, a satirical comedy based on an idea by up-and-coming writer Stine Likodelle. Set in a “recruitment agency” which actually just offers a catalogue of for-hire tokens (ie, people who are BIPOC, Muslim, disabled and so on), the show comments on the harmfulness, and ridiculousness, of corporate performative activism. Another project that we are excited about is called Fast Sand: it is an adventure series based on the incredible true story of the first women's team to compete in the notorious Middle East Rally Championship. We’re developing that with French-British writer Lucy MacPherson-Mulcahy.
HT: So again, they’re very different, but they’re both great, transnational projects… A perfect fit for Ginger Pictures. And like Mark said, it’s just the beginning. We can’t wait to unveil the rest.
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