Insights > Producing Adult
01 Dec 2004

Producing Adult

The man who seats behind the guest table Is a former mathematician. Years ago he was still involved at high level in collaborative project between the Exeter and Kassel Universities in Germany. You could say that he was the kind of teacher as described in the Christophe Barratier French film "THE CHORUS" but from the other way round. Hostile to the modern way of teaching, what decided him to quit the job was a dilemma. To continue teaching in a system that he believes encourages a too high level of freedom for the students, or to fight a system that he considered has not repressive enough. He decided to quit and started to produce a few remarkable films. Now, the man's name is on the director's list of nominee for several coming awards.

For many more or less young filmmakers who produced far away from the spotlights, and for those also many, who followed the traditional option of learning film at school, the case of the formal mathematic teacher becoming an award winner director from one day to another can be a discouraging example. The problem is that the case is not an exception. The lists of nominees for the coming European film awards and for the American Oscars are also rich in stories like that. If further more, you are looking into these different “own ways of becoming an acclaimed filmmaker”, it will then seemed legitimate to wonder what is the best way? School, training centre or simply to ignore this option and jumping in the job “your own way”?

The example of Aleksi Salmenpera who is nominated for the Oscar is an equivalent to the mathematician from above. Aleksi Salmenpera is a new filmmaker from Finland and his “PRODUCING ADULTS” is his first feature film. He first studied architecture before studying film directing at UIAH - University of Art and Design Helsinki (read more in the Finland Resource Directory). Coming later to film is also the case of the Greek Tassos Boulmetis who studied physics before studying film production and direction. Good choice if you consider what the guy is collecting from the sales of the tickets only during the first weeks of the release of his film. More than all of the Greek films screened during the period 2002-2003! His latest “A Touch of Spice” (Politiki kouzina) will now also compete for an Oscar as the Greek selection for the Best Foreign Language Oscar for 2005 .

No serious statistic is available to compare the numbers of awarded film made after a school training and result of films made directly on the production ground.

There are also many young filmmakers who started in the middle of a film crew, they then left their job to start any studies and later came back to film. This is the case of Eddy Terstall. The Dutch nominee for the Oscar was born in 1964. He came back to filmmaking after a double jump from a job as simple lighting technician to political sciences studies at the Amsterdam University. As did also Gianni Amelio “THE HOUSE KEYS". The Italian filmmaker studied philosophy in Sicily before coming back to his childhood dreams and, now director with a film in the Foreign Language Oscar selection

But remain assured that film schools are not an obstacle to a brilliant career. The German film that will probably mark the more the year 2004 is “DOWNFALL”. The movie that depicts the latest hours of Adolf Hitler (played by Bruno Ganz) is of Bernd Eichinger who studied Direction and Production Management at Munich's Academy for Television & Film (HFF/M).

Erik Van Looy who is the Belgian nomination for the Best Foreign Language Oscar for 2005 studied at the RITS Film Institute in Brussels. Since 1981 Erik works as journalist, TV and film director for the Flemish Broadcasting Corporation of Belgium (VRT).

Rich experiences, together with a sensitive nature are some of the must have criteria that make an upcoming filmmaker more close to the audience heart. But, today's success stories in film come also with some tendencies. One is the talent to express the cultural diversity, and the other is a talent to translate minorities' voices into film stories.

The cultural diversity can be expressed by the film director style. And the styles largely depend on the working conditions.

Danish filmmakers Jorgen Leth and Lars von Trier are in the competition with “The Five Obstructions”. They consider that obstructions and obstacles shall be recognized as fertile grounds for the development of ideas, projects and art forms. They have used the obstruction as a creative game and a methodology to develop their film. The way they have worked reminds us the French novel “La Disparition” a book that Georges Perec wrote without using any French word counting the letter “e” (“ch E rch E r la f E mm E !”).

Almost at the other side of the Danish game and philosophy comes the way the Finnish filmmaker Aleksi Salmenpera has directed “Producing adult” who also compete for the awards. At the 5 th Seoul European Film Festival, the director admitted that he is interested in “the way a young man lives in the modern days”, where “Learning” as lost much of its traditional meaning.

“Producing adult” contains some of the main questions – answers on today's filmmakers “own ways”.



The European Film Awards 2004 will be celebrated in Barcelona on 11 December 2004.

Event description and categories: (official website)



ETT HÅL I MITT HJÄRTA (A Hole In My Heart), Sweden/Denmark

directed by Lukas Moodysson

produced by Memfis Film, Zentropa, Film I Väst, SVT, Nordic Film- & TV Fund

GEGEN DIE WAND (Head-On), Germany

directed by Fatih Akin

produced by Wüste Filmproduktion /Corazon International /NDR /ARTE

LA MALA EDUCACIÓN (Bad Education), Spain

directed by Pedro Almodóvar

produced by El Deseo D.A., S.L.U.

LES CHORISTES (The Chorus), France/Switzerland

directed by Christophe Barratier

produced by Galatée Films /Pathé Renn Production /France 2 Cinéma /Novo Arturo Films /Vega Film AG

MAR ADENTRO (The Sea Inside), Spain/France/Italy

directed by Alejandro Amenábar

produced by Sogecine /Himenoptero /UGC /Eyescreen


directed by Mike Leigh

produced by Thin Man Films Ltd/Les Films Alain Sarde

by Gyora Gal Glupczynski