Monika Kristl was only 22 years old when she became a principal producer and managing director of the Prague-based international production services company Dawson Production (www.dawson.cz) in 1996.
Thirteen years later, Kristl is working on the one of the most anticipated Czech feature films of 2009, 3 Seasons in Hell, based on a celebrated Czech poet and set in 1947. The international co-production brings together Dawson Productions, Babelsberg Film (www.studio-babelsberg.com), Czech television (www.ceskatelevize.cz) and Slovakia's Trigon Production (www.trigon-production.sk ).
"I'm sure the story is strong enough and universal enough to travel," Kristl says, speculating on why she got the EFP nod this year. "It is the story of two lovers that takes place in a very complicated time in post-war Prague. I don't think there was only one reason why the project was interesting to us. Maybe it was a combination of place and time and an emotionally strong and private love-story of a very controversial personality. We wanted to produce a European film. The tone of the film and story itself is a three-year story of a young rebel, and then a political film. That is why our hero and his story could resonate with audiences, even 60 years later. Beside the unique and private story, the film witnesses the beginning of Communism in Eastern Europe," Kristl told FNE.
Kristl previous production experience ranges from commercials to music videos to international projects, shorts and TV films, including the short film "The SUB". which premiered at the Rotterdam festival in 1999, and the famous TV series "Dokolac" by director Martin Krejčí.
Kristl has produced the Czech part of the feature film "WEG!", starring Labina Mitevska and directed Michael Baumann, which was shot with the co-operation of Flying Moon production in Prague and Berlin.
Kristl says she loves her job for the freedom and creativity in every project. "We do abide by our guiding principles. And we do not work like a factory or approach projects in a corporate way. We bring as much innovation and creativity as possible to every project. And we do everything in a hands-on way with precise attention to every detail," she says.
She knew she started out early in the business. "Looking back, I was very young at the time I joined Dawson. It all started by coincidence; my boyfriend was in a trouble and I wanted to help. It was a challenge for me to do something real, and as I was always a stubborn girl, I took the chance. I didn't think it over so much, I was too young to be aware of all responsibility. Thank God. I need to keep learning, that is why I love my job," recalls Monika.
Before Dawson Production, Kristl worked as a head of production at Cinemasound, one of the biggest sound studios in the Czech Republic, and attended the Academy of Film and Television in Prague.
She wants to continue with feature film production to help the reputation of Czech films. "My dream? To find some cool co-producers for my up-coming projects. I would really love to work with some great producers in a team, to make a good movie and have fun . I bought the rights on a very cool story happening in 1968 here in Europe," she says.
"The problem is the quality, aesthetic and themes of Czech films in general. Local productions will always remain local and probably will not be really understood outside the Czech Republic. We live in a small country, and this creates a base for the culture as well as giving limits on the quality and size of the films and local productions. However talking to creative people, artists and producers, I believe they are talented and experienced enough to work on European or studio productions. I hope there will be more Czech "European films" recognized internationally in the future," Kristl dreams.
Managing director and executive producer
Pstrossova 21, Prague 1, Czech Republic
phone: +420 224 999 911