ŁÓDŹ: Łukasz Długołęcki from NUR has been selected to participate in the 2020 Emerging Producers programme for documentary film producers, which kicks off at the 23rd edition of the Ji.hlava IDFF, taking place 24-29 October 2019. FNE spoke with Łukasz Długołęcki about the issues facing documentary film producers.
Łukasz Długołęcki was born in Łódź in 1989. He produced and coproduced more than ten student films, both feature and documentary, at PWSFTviT. He made his first short film in 2011. Observing the rapid evolution of European film production sector and the role of a creative producer in contemporary filmmaking led him to co-found NUR. In 2018, he produced the documentary In Touch, shown at international festivals around the world and awarded at IDFA in the Netherlands and Skjaldborg in Iceland. FNE: Why did you become a documentary film producer? Łukasz Długołęcki: For me, the most important factor is the actual ability to enter someone's life and the possibility to sort of peek into the everyday matters of other people. It may sound a bit like a platitude but this is the only profession that allows entering the apartments of other people and getting to know their life from a perspective of an inquisitive observer. FNE: What is the biggest practical issue that you have to deal with in your own country as a documentary film producer? Łukasz Długołęcki: The simple answer is always that the issue is with the financing, but actually with the current support offered by the Polish Film Institute and several regional funds in Poland there are a lot of possibilities. I am basing my financing experience on the feature documentary In Touch directed by Paweł Ziemilski and it led me to believe that as far as funds go, we really don't have much to complain about, both on the local and international market. Of course, with every film production there are practical issues, as this is the nature of working on set. Also, in Poland we are really strong in the documentary department, but when it comes to features there is a shortage of good scripts; that has been pointed out several times in the past. FNE: What are the crucial topics that you explore as a documentary film producer? Łukasz Długołęcki: I am interested in topics that address social issues because while we have a lot of possibilities within the film industry, as a society we are still facing a lot of social issues. They are not only a problem in Poland, but they are very visible in our country; that is why I think it is crucial to tackle them right now. I enjoy working on collective stories. Of course as a viewer I like watching a film with one or two main protagonists, but as a producer I am interested in showcasing some sort of a group or a subculture and create more of a cross-section view rather than a character driven story. This is what happened in In Touch, where we presented a whole village and a collage of their experiences. FNE: Do you have a project that you are bringing to Emerging Producers in search of coproducers and partners? Łukasz Długołęcki: No, I am deliberately going there without one, as we have just finished Paweł Ziemilski's film and now I am actually looking for projects. I would like to become a coproduction partner for a creator or a producer from another country. I am interested in two types of projects: ones with a strong visual narrative concept, more of an author cinema that is focused on the visual style; and on the other hand, projects focused on social issues, with a more classic narrative, offering an interesting showcase of protagonists and opinions on a certain subject. FNE: What is the most important thing a potential partner/coproducer should know about you? Łukasz Długołęcki: I guess the most important thing for me is the understanding that cooperation on a film should always be based on a meeting between people that have a similar energy, a similar view on life and they are willing to spend up to 5-6 years of their lives together. I don't know if I have any characteristics that would strongly distinguish me from others, but I am a mediating producer and a person who can always keep a crew communicating and solving several problems that are bound to appear on a film set, especially in documentaries where the number of people involved is usually very small. I can always find the golden mean and bring the crew together.