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The Austrian-Slovak-Czech documentary film Cooking History (Ako sa varia dejiny) was five year in the making, but for producer/director Peter Kerekes, the selection as a Producers on the Move in Cannes made the long journey worthwhile.
In 2003 Kerekes was filming 66 Seasons, a small documentary about a swimming pool in Slovak city Kosice, using it as a lens to view the history of the 20th century. "I did this film because of personal reasons - it was dedicated to my grandmother, parents and few friends," Kerekes told FNE. "Surprisingly, the rather narrow local theme attracted the attention of the audience around the world. I traveled through many festivals and the film was bought by around 30 televisions."
The challenging part of this film was production. Unable to find a producer, Kerekes' only possibility was to produce the film himself. He jumped in and had to learn to swim. "I learned everything by doing it - from financing the film, ensuring the shooting, postproduction, presentation at festivals and sales," explains Kerekes. "The door to the world was opened to me by this local film."
Kerekes studied film directing at the Academy of Performing Art (VSMU) in Bratislava, but admits it wasn't his first goal. "I wanted to study something more serious than film. But I had horrible marks at the high school. With such bad results I realized I would be accepted only at some kind of art school. Surprisingly, they actually accepted me at VSMU," he recalls.
Following the path of fellow Slovak documentary filmmaker-turned-producer (and last year's EFP Producer on the Move) Marko Skop, Kerekes is considering producing the films of directed by his friends. "But not more than one or two films in two-three years," he insists.
"I have my own documentary projects ready, which I also would like to produce by myself. Moreover, to make a good film, I try to ensure we feel pleasant while making the film and enjoy that process. And that can be achieved only by producing a small number of the films," Kerekes thinks.
He brings to Cannes also his new film Things (Veci). "The premise of the film was the question: Which things would we take with us, if we had to leave home forever?" explains Kerekes. With this film, a road movie in space and time, Kerekes sticks to his most significant theme: the history of 20th Century through the lens of (on the first glance) small and unimportant things.
"If the things go just like they go now - that would be gorgeous! I am fulfilling my children dreams and the result is, at least I hope, interesting. "
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