PRAGUE: Jitka Kotrlová from Frame Films Production Company 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 Jitka Kotrlová about the issues facing documentary film producers.
Before becoming a producer, Kotrlová worked for Czech film festivals in the Industry and Programme departments, and she continues to work as a part-time programmer. During her studies, she established her own company, Frame Films. Later, she was joined by two other producers, Zuzana Kučerová and Hana Blaha Šilarová. Jitka is a producer of the fiction feature Snowing! by Kristina Nedvědová and the documentary feature Central Bus Station. Together with Hana Blaha Šilarová, she coproduced the documentary Soviet Man directed by Ivo Briedis, which is now in postproduction.
FNE: Why did you become a documentary film producer?
Jitka Kotrlová: The more I am a part of the documentary film industry, the more I find some kind of urgency in myself. I have always been interested in telling stories and pushing expectations. This is what I like about the documentary, recent stories that show the audience new points of view on the world. For me, documentary film keeps your eyes open.
FNE: What is the biggest practical issue that you have to deal with in your own country as a documentary film producer?
Jitka Kotrlová: The audience. It’s really hard to reach the audience and I find the distribution of documentary film to be a very difficult task all over the world.
FNE: What are the crucial topics that you explore as a documentary film producer?
Jitka Kotrlová: As I’ve mentioned before, I focus on strong stories. In each subject, I try to find a core and then build the story around the topic. Usually the theme is closely connected to the director. I would describe myself as a team player, so I do enjoy the whole process of creation, and I usually search for the values that are in our stories. For example, when we were filming Central Bus Station, we were talking a lot about hope in humanity. The bus station in Israel is full of people hoping to find a new home and they find it. Now I’m working on two documentaries and both are actually very similar, they are about man and his urge to create.
FNE: Do you have a project that you are bringing to Emerging Producers in search of coproducers and partners?
Jitka Kotrlová: I’m now preparing a documentary Jungle Placht by Alice Růžičková. The feature documentary tells a story of Czech painter Otto Placht, whose personality is divided between the Czech Republic and Peru, between two families, and he represents strong intuition and creativity, that bring struggle in real life. I’m looking for coproducers, a sales agent and broadcasters. Another project which I’m bringing to the Emerging Producers workshop is a documentary about cinematographer Robert Richardson, directed by Jana Hojdová. He is a three-time Oscar awarded DoP, who worked with Oliver Stone, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino. He is on board with us to create a personal portrait. The documentary is now in development and we are searching for coproducers, sales agents and broadcasters as well.
FNE: What is the most important thing a potential partner/coproducer should know about you?
Jitka Kotrlová: I would say that when I’m hooked by a story, I become a fighter and I try to do my best for the film. As I said I’m a team player and I’m used to working in a group of people.