For the ninth year running, "Producers on the Move" at the Cannes Film Festival is the meeting place for the best and the brightest among young European producers.
"For now, my project profile is probably marked by my willingness to give difficult projects a chance. I like to go to bat for my project."
Representing Denmark this year is Louise Vesth of Zentropa. In 2007, another Danish woman, Sarita Christensen of Copenhagen Bombay, was a Producer on the Move, and in 2005 Tine Grew Pfeiffer of Alphaville Pictures represented Denmark at the international industry meet.
Vesth, 35, is a producing graduate of the National Film School of Denmark. Working at Zentropa, she has produced Pia Bovin's children's film "Wallah Be" (2002), Aage Rais- Nordentoft's youth film "Kick 'n' Rush" (2003), Christian E. Christiansen's "Life Hits" (2006) and Anders Rønnow Klarlund's "How to Get Rid of the Others" (2007). Most recently, Vesth produced Christian E. Christiansen's "At Night" (2007), an Academy Award nominee for Best Short Film. Christiansen is currently remaking "At Night" as a feature, due for release on August 1, 2008.
Cannes offers the selected producers opportunities for exchanging experiences and forging international contacts. What does her selection mean for Vesth?
"I'm not quite sure what it will mean," she says, "but I'm going in with an open mind." She points to the many opportunities for building networks with her European colleagues. "I hope to establish some relationships that might lead to something when I get back home. As a producer at Zentropa – a company with an international profile, looking for even more of an international focus in the future – this opportunity is a real gift," Vesth says.
As the European Film Promotion, initiator of the programme, puts it, "Producers on the Move" picks "ambitious producers who have caused a stir in their home countries with their quality productions and in some cases have already made an impact at the international level." That's not entirely how Vesth would describe herself – leaving that for others to decide – though, she agrees, she is ambitious. "Sure, I'm an ambitious person, in the sense that I'm very much engaged in what I do. Still, my work is as much a hobby as a job – filmmaking, after all, is a lifetime commitment."
What type of film does Vesth like to throw herself into?
"For now, my project profile is probably marked by my willingness to give difficult projects a chance. I like to go to bat for my projects. At issue may be new talents needing to go the extra mile to prove their mettle or the nature of the project itself. Case in point: Anders Rønnow Klarlund's upcoming "Memories" is a challenging film. Told entirely in stills, it takes an entirely different path than our usual way of producing films."
This is not the first time Vesth serves as ambassador for Danish cinema abroad. Earlier in the year, she was in the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles in a seat next to Christiansen, crossing her fingers that their short film At Night would come away with an Oscar. "It was super cool," Vesth says. "It was a life- long dream of Christian's, and he was as giddy as a kid whose biggest wish comes true. Also, for our future collaboration, it's cool that people appreciate what we’re doing, though that doesn't carry much weight in the Danish system. There, other parametres count."
Though they returned from Hollywood without an Oscar, Vesth is still happy to represent Denmark and Danish cinema abroad, as she is now, in Cannes. vI feel really good about it," she says. "I'm proud to be a part of Danish cinema and I want to help keep Danish films visible abroad. I gladly do my part in that".