EFP Producer on the Move: Michal Kollár

By Dominika Uhríková

    Slovakia's Michal Kollár, taking part in the 2011 European Film Promotion's Producer on the Move presentation in Cannes, describes himself as "quasi-schizophrenic" as he alternately acts as producer, director and editor.

    Born in 1978, Kollár (previously known to the public as Michal Krajňák before changing his name in order to pay a tribute to his grandfather) started directing TV commercials and music videos at the age of 18. While still a student of business management in Bratislava, he met Czech director Viktor Tauš, with whom he later co-founded the Fog'n'Desire Films production company (www.fogndesirefilms.com) based in Prague. Fascinated by cinema, he decided to pursue his studies and enrolled in the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava to study film editing.

    After graduation in 2007, Kollár co-wrote and directed his first feature, Catfish Summer. Independently financed and self-distributed, the comedy attracted a respectable 130,000 admissions in the Czech Republic. A year later, he co-produced Viktor Tauš's top-grossing romantic comedy, The Big Thaw. The producer is currently based in both Prague and Bratislava, and also runs his own production company, Sokol Kollár (www.kollarfilm.com).

    Kollár, recommended for the EFP honor by the Slovak Film Institute (www.sfu.sk), will present his most recent co-production, Zuzana Liová's feature debut The House, which became the first Slovak movie to screen at the Berlinale in 20 years.

    The movie tells the story of a teenage girl who wants to escape her remote, sleepy hometown to work as a babysitter in London. However, her father has other plans and is building her a house next door. He is all the more obstinate as he had previously started constructing, but failed to complete, another house for his elder daughter, who managed to flee the family nest.

    "I found working on The House to be a very enriching experience, and I think so did Zuzana," he told FNE. "Having directed and produced several films before, I was able to provide her with some practical help."

    On the other hand, the producer did in no way influence the director's vision, though, as he said, it required some self-denial.

    "This is, actually, quite a common problem in Slovakia: there being very few professional producers, this role is often played by other artists such as scriptwriters, editors, and so forth, which is also my case," Kollár remarked. "As a result, these people often attempt to fulfill their hidden artistic ambitions. I tried to avoid that."

    Apart from The House, Kollár hopes to promote in Cannes two other projects now in development: Clownwise, a €1.5 million Czech-Finnish co-production by Viktor Tauš; and The Red Captain, a €2.4 million European co-production which he will direct himself.

    As Kollár explained, multilateral co-productions are for him a matter of both personal preference and necessity.

    "The Slovak market is so small it reminds me of an aquarium," he said. "Therefore, we have to be open to cross-border co-operation - even with movies involving highly culture-specific topics."

    Moreover, he often finds it easier to obtain support abroad, where funding mechanisms, in his view, seem to be better developed.

    "Slovakia lacks what I call ‘continuity;' rules of grant schemes change too often, and a producer's past success is rarely taken into account. It is as if we always start from zero," he concluded.

    Contact information:

    Sokol Kollár

    Šulekova 32

    811 03 Bratislava, Slovakia

    Tel: +421 905 619 027

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Fog'n'Desire Films

    Voroněžská 24

    101 00 Prague, Czech Republic

    Tel: +420 775 619 027

    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.