Oct 17 2013

MEET THE EFA BOARD: JANI THILTGES

Published by at 01:01 under Industry,Samsa

SOURCE: http://www.europeanfilmacademy.org/

Continuing our series introducing the members of the Board of the European Film Academy, producer Jani Thiltges from Luxembourg talks about the beginnings of his career, winning an award and learning from mistakes …

You are involved with production entities across Europe, in Luxembourg, Belgium, France and Portugal. Does that simply reflect the need for international co-production or are there other factors at play?
I’d like to be a great strategic planner, but unfortunately I’m not. These partnerships are due as much to friendship as to business planning. Luxembourg is obvious (it is our home country), Belgium is due to the fact that my partner Claude Waringo and myself went to film school there, and we met our business partner and friend Patrick Quinet more than 20 years ago. Paris was a logic step forward due to the fact that French cinema has for a long time been one of our favourites, and Portugal has a lot to do with things we miss so much in Luxembourg, i.e. the sun, great wine and food, and also a friend again, Luis Galvao-Teles.

Was there a certain moment in your life when you knew you wanted to work in film?
I remember quite vividly – I was 16, it was probably my first stay abroad with friends (in Paris), and I watched two films one day: MANHATTAN by Woody Allen and GOING PLACES (Les petites Valseuses) by Bertrand Blier. At that time, becoming a filmmaker in Luxembourg was more unlikely than flying to the moon!

Starting in the 80s, you have produced more than 60 feature films. What are the most important changes you have observed throughout your career?
When we started to make our first feature films, already during film school, words like money, audience, markets were bad words. It was all and exclusively about making films!

In 2010, you were awarded the European Co-Production Award – Prix Eurimages, together with Diana Elbaum. Can you remember what you felt accepting the award?
When Roberto Olla [executive director, EURIMAGES] phoned us to announce the award, Diana and myself thought it was a joke. I remember that we were laughing for minutes, in French we say “fou-rire”. We had the impostor’s syndrome, I suppose. The day when we received the award the feeling was most probably something close to “thank you for accepting us as part of the family”.

Would you say it’s more difficult for a young producer starting today? What are the biggest challenges they are facing?
Oh my God, it is incomparably more difficult today. We were the children of EURIMAGES, of MEDIA, everything was possible at those times, everything was still to be invented!

And what are your suggestions for supporting them?
This is what I try to do as Head of Studies of EAVE: to share what I’ve learned, mainly my failures! We lost a lot of energy, time (and money) by having to learn everything on our own. I hope that our advice and training can prevent some from making the same mistakes.
One of the EFA projects mainly dedicated to networking is A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY, an informal weekend encounter between young film professionals and some established filmmakers. Have you been involved with this?
Not yet, but I’m a rookie at the board of EFA. But as “A Sunday in the Country” is supposed to take place in Luxembourg next year, I suppose that EFA will not be able to avoid me this time. ;-)

What was the last film you watched?
Abdellatif Kéchiche’s BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR: I was speechless and moved!

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SOURCE: http://www.europeanfilmacademy.org/

Continuing our series introducing the members of the Board of the European Film Academy, producer Jani Thiltges from Luxembourg talks about the beginnings of his career, winning an award and learning from mistakes …

You are involved with production entities across Europe, in Luxembourg, Belgium, France and Portugal. Does that simply reflect the need for international co-production or are there other factors at play?
I’d like to be a great strategic planner, but unfortunately I’m not. These partnerships are due as much to friendship as to business planning. Luxembourg is obvious (it is our home country), Belgium is due to the fact that my partner Claude Waringo and myself went to film school there, and we met our business partner and friend Patrick Quinet more than 20 years ago. Paris was a logic step forward due to the fact that French cinema has for a long time been one of our favourites, and Portugal has a lot to do with things we miss so much in Luxembourg, i.e. the sun, great wine and food, and also a friend again, Luis Galvao-Teles.

Was there a certain moment in your life when you knew you wanted to work in film?
I remember quite vividly – I was 16, it was probably my first stay abroad with friends (in Paris), and I watched two films one day: MANHATTAN by Woody Allen and GOING PLACES (Les petites Valseuses) by Bertrand Blier. At that time, becoming a filmmaker in Luxembourg was more unlikely than flying to the moon!

Starting in the 80s, you have produced more than 60 feature films. What are the most important changes you have observed throughout your career?
When we started to make our first feature films, already during film school, words like money, audience, markets were bad words. It was all and exclusively about making films!

In 2010, you were awarded the European Co-Production Award – Prix Eurimages, together with Diana Elbaum. Can you remember what you felt accepting the award?
When Roberto Olla [executive director, EURIMAGES] phoned us to announce the award, Diana and myself thought it was a joke. I remember that we were laughing for minutes, in French we say “fou-rire”. We had the impostor’s syndrome, I suppose. The day when we received the award the feeling was most probably something close to “thank you for accepting us as part of the family”.

Would you say it’s more difficult for a young producer starting today? What are the biggest challenges they are facing?
Oh my God, it is incomparably more difficult today. We were the children of EURIMAGES, of MEDIA, everything was possible at those times, everything was still to be invented!

And what are your suggestions for supporting them?
This is what I try to do as Head of Studies of EAVE: to share what I’ve learned, mainly my failures! We lost a lot of energy, time (and money) by having to learn everything on our own. I hope that our advice and training can prevent some from making the same mistakes.
One of the EFA projects mainly dedicated to networking is A SUNDAY IN THE COUNTRY, an informal weekend encounter between young film professionals and some established filmmakers. Have you been involved with this?
Not yet, but I’m a rookie at the board of EFA. But as “A Sunday in the Country” is supposed to take place in Luxembourg next year, I suppose that EFA will not be able to avoid me this time. ;-)

What was the last film you watched?
Abdellatif Kéchiche’s BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOUR: I was speechless and moved!

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