FNE Cannes 2015: EFP Producer on the Move: Mariusz Włodarski

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WARSAW: Mariusz Włodarski was born in 1980 in Poland. In 2005 he graduated from the Department of International Relations at the University of Lodz and wrote his thesis on the use of marketing approaches in film distribution in Poland.

When asked about what inspired him to become a film producer he said, ”Originally I thought I was going to be a distributor and I decided that I should learn how films are actually made. When I got in, I started working on my first project as a production manager and knew immediately that I wasn’t going to be a distributor. I wanted to get involved in the process. “

He completed postgraduate studies of Film Production at The Polish National Film School in Lodz. He launched his career spending five years at a major production studio in Poland – Opus Film.

“I was fortunate enough that immediately after film school I started working for Opus Film and tried on different jobs, ended up as a junior producer under Ewa Puszczyńska, who along with Piotr Dzięcioł became my film godmother and godfather. They taught me that a good producer is a devoted one, one that is connected and engaged in the project,” Włodarski said.

In 2010 together with three friends he founded his own production company Lava Films, where for the start he produced a 35-minute short film, Without Snow by Magnus von Horn, a film generously awarded worldwide. Lava Films is an independent film production company which collaborates with aspiring filmmakers as well as with established professionals coming from Poland and abroad.

“What ultimately draws me to the projects is the people, a creative team that inspires me. I enjoy films that are a fusion of different genres, something that we can experiment with like drama with a side of thriller. I grew up in the small town of Starachowice, and one day a new shelf appeared at my local video store. It was a Gutek Film shelf, I started watching all they had in their offer and this probably shaped my taste for more art-house and challenging cinema.”

In 2011 Mariusz has graduated from the EAVE producers’ workshop, partnering with director Magnus von Horn and his film The Here After which will be showcased in Quinzaine/Directors' Fortnight at the 68th Cannes Film Festival. He is also one of the tutors at the workshop for creative producers organized by Wajda School in Warsaw.

He is currently developing several projects including Wooma by Paweł Borowski; 21 Times New York, a documentary directed by Piotr Stasik; and the drama Viet Wander House by Mariko Saga, awarded with the second prize at the Script Pro 2015 screenwriting competition.

“When we started Lava Film we knew that, among other things, we wanted to make films for kids and Wooma appeared as this perfect project. I believe that we need to work on cinema for kids because that is how we can educate the younger viewers and influence their tastes. This requires good quality family film projects,” he said.

Lava Films is also engaged in several international co-productions that in Włodarski’s opinion are “the most accurate answer to the needs of a multicultural audience. That’s why we choose projects with worldwide potential as the majority or minority producer, as well as working as service providers on productions. I am very excited that the Polish Film Institute recommended me for Producers on the Move this year as it will surely let me establish new internationals contacts and get in touch with producers and filmmakers with new exciting projects from all over the world.”

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