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BooBoo in the Land of Bears and Palms

Katarzyna Pachelska from CentEast 2008-10-21
Agencies selling films abroad, institutions common in the West, are still as rare in Poland as snow in Havana.

One harbinger of change is BooBoo Films, a new company founded at the end of last year in Katowice by young people from Silesia (a region in southern Poland): 31-year-old Joanna Malicka, a PhD student of film studies at the University of Silesia, postgraduate student of film production at the Lodz film school, and journalist who has worked with the Era Nowe Horyzonty festival in Wroclaw for 4 years, and 30-year-old Bartek Moczulski, an IT specialist and film production graduate of the Lodz film school.

"We are a world-wide agent mediating between film producers and companies interested in acquisitions, such as distributors or TV stations," Malicka explains. "We don't deal with the Polish market at all, only foreign markets."

BooBoo's portfolio already comprises quite a few films, mainly artistic ("sometimes difficult ones," Malicka admits), including Lech Majewski's video-art Glass Lips; two films by Rafal Kapelinski; the 33-minute Emily Cries and the medium-length The Ballad of Piotrowski; Radoslaw Markiewicz's comedy Paradise Too Far; and the 6-minute Bulba directed by Olga Kalagate.

The first to put his trust in them was Rafal Kapelanski, a Polish director who lived in London for many years and understood what an agent's work was all about.

"We promote our films abroad, doing our best to get them screened at festivals; we were particularly successful with Emily Cries which has travelled practically the whole world. We attend the major European festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, or the CentEast Market during the Warsaw Film Festival, and of course we sell the films abroad," Malicka says.

But BooBoo's real break only came recently. Wojciech Kasperski, a young director shooting his debut during the Lodz film school's workshops held in association with the film schools of Paris and London, made them a proposal of co-operation at the script stage of his film Winter House (working title). "That's exactly how film sales agents should work with directors and producers: from the very beginning, when the script is being written or co-producers are being sought,", Malicka is pleased to say. "This means people have started to notice how important a role in filmmaking is played by companies like ours," she adds.

BooBoo Films' founders make no secret of the fact that they are still learning their way around the European film market, but they are getting better and better at blazing new trails.

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