Maria Köpf, former producer and co-director of X-Filme Creative Pool and Zentropa Entertainment Berlin, is the new Managing Director of Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein.
You have now spent five weeks in your new position. What is your first impression of the film location of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein?
Maria Köpf: As a producer I had been shooting in Hamburg und Schleswig-Holstein on several occasions and I have a very good impression of the area. Hamburg’s infrastructure is sensational. There are highly trained teams, great locations and very good service providers. The producers’ scene has become young and fresh, in part thanks to the “Hamburg lives Cinema” initiative and the courses offered at Hamburg Media School (HMS) and the Academy of Fine Arts (HFBK).
Apropos fresh: What will your initial focus lie on?
Maria Köpf: Hamburg boasts a wide range of film professionals, from the short film scene to documentary filmmakers to major producers to the animated film industry. There are service providers, cinemas and distributors. I have spent the past few months analysing the industry’s needs and demands in countless discussions. My main focus lies on the effective support of a creative landscape in order to bring about excellent singular results, i.e. extraordinary films. My personal aims include an internationalization of the region, by the support of both international projects and training measures, as well as an increased networking, e.g. with our Scandinavian partners. We will also be keeping a close eye on film exploitation in the digital age and be supportive where we can.
You are exceptionally well connected to Scandinavia, particularly Denmark, thanks to your long-standing work at Zentropa. What can we learn from the Danes?
Maria Köpf: What I have observed is that Danish filmmakers approach their topics with a combination of great seriousness and audience-orientation, which they do not regard as contradictory. It may be related to the high value placed on TV and cinema. Major issues and conflicts are dealt with in TV series and cinema films. In Germany the majority of cinematic narration is covered in a single 90-minute feature film. Further differences can be found in international usability, i.e. a film’s initial concept is already more oriented toward the international market, also in its early accompaniment by the Danish Film Institute. Generally speaking, the broadcaster only becomes involved once a project has been brought on its way by its producers and public funding.
The Danish-German Co-Development Initiative launched by FFHSH and DFI begins with mutual subject development by German and Danish creatives. Should script and subject development generally be supported?
Maria Köpf: Yes, most certainly! Hamburg has already taken great initial steps worth expanding on. I really wish for closer interaction with producers and projects and a stronger accompaniment of film projects as regards content.
This interview was published in aufblende 16.1, on the occassion of 66th Filmfestival in Berlin.