12. April 2007

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Q&A with Danish producer Morten Kaufman from the production company Nimbus Film Productions, which is one of the major players in Danish cinema and is celebrated for several Dogme films (especially Festen/The Celebration by Thomas Vinterberg, 1998). We caught up with Morten Kaufman on the set of the film Flame & Citron (budget of approx. EUR 6.3 million), which is being shot partly in locations and studios in and nearby Prague. The story is based on real events and is set in 1944 during the German occupation of Denmark. Flame & Citron is a period piece. Denmark, 1944. Why aren’t you shooting it only in Denmark? Why did you come to shoot in the Czech Republic, after which you will shoot in Germany? We needed to recreate historical scenes from 1944 Copenhagen and the present-day city was too modern. We scouted around Central Europe; we looked at Poland and at Riga, which bears a resemblance to Copenhagen in terms of architecture, but it didn't have what we needed in terms of infrastructure. And Prague offers just that film infrastructure. Why is infrastructure so important for you? With lower budget films such as ours, it is important not to risk with the choice of a new film destination. When we leave Denmark to shoot abroad it is very important for us to feel secure and to know that we won’t end up squandering money – by not finding the infrastructure we need or having something go wrong because the local filmmakers lack the necessary experience. With regard to that, we feel absolutely secure in the Czech Republic with our project. Flame & Citron is the second film you have shot in the Czech Republic. The first was in 2005. Why did you choose to shoot in Prague back then? The answer is easy, and the name of the film (Prague) is quite telling. The screenplay and the story, which takes place in Prague, required it. It was our first experience shooting in the Czech Republic and working with a Czech production and crew. We were very satisfied with their work and that contributed to our decision to come back here with Flame & Citron and to work with Simply Sirena again. How would you characterize your cooperation with your Czech partner and shooting in the Czech Republic in general? The production company and the entire Czech crew is absolutely professional. They are very well organized, structured, and reliable. They understand the constraints on low-budget films, and they conform to them in their work. One feels secure with them. For those reasons, I have recommended and continue to recommend shooting in the Czech Republic to my fellow Danish producers. Other pros include the good prices and the world-class infrastructure. Is there anything that should change/improve for foreign filmmakers coming to shoot in the Czech Republic? The Czech Republic’s position would definitely improve if your state supported film production and the industry and provided enough resources, e.g. via a sufficient film fund, for Czech producers to be able to markedly co-finance and co-produce films such as ours. That would draw more international productions to the Czech Republic.