„The idea for setting up my own production company became concrete in summer 2016 during the shoot of Barbara Albert‘s MADEMOISELLE PARADIS,“ recalls Martina Haubrich who had been working until then as a producer at LOOKS Filmproduktion since 2003 where she had set up the cinema department. She subsequently joined forces with Albert, the film‘s Austrian producer Michael Kitzberger, German distributors Alexandre Geisselmann and Reno Koppe of Farbfilm, and writer-director Angelina Maccarone to launch CALA Filmproduktion at the end of 2016.
„The great thing about our company structure is the different areas of expertise the partners are bringing. It therefore makes sense to have an exchange of ideas about the projects,“ Haubrich explains. „I discuss the theatrical projects with Alexandre Geisselmann as a distributor because I really appreciate his perspective on a film‘s release potential. And I bring in the other partners when I‘m narrowing down the choice of projects because I value their opinion, but also want to keep them in the loop.“
At the same time, she points out that the partners are not bound exclusively to channel their projects through CALA Film or for Farbfilm to handle all of the company‘s output.
The fact that two directors in the company also work for other producers can have a positive „knock-on effect“ for CALA Film‘s own production plans: Barbara Albert, for example, recently made her first foray into high-end TV as a co-director on the Sky eight-parter PARADISO and her experiences there are likely to be particularly useful for the ambitions to also produce for the small screen in the future.
„Whether it is historical or contemporary: the artistic vision is at the centre of our projects and the question of what this has to do with us in the here and now,“ she says, adding that she is especially interested in „new and unusual perspectives”.
A start was made with Italian director Elisa Mishto‘s debut feature STAY STILL, which had its world premiere at the Filmfest München in 2019, and preparations are now underway for Angelina Maccarone‘s next feature film, TURNING ABLES (KLANDESTIN), which is set to have an international cast and already has Belgium's Tarantula Film and longtime partner from France Les Films d’Ici onboard as a co-producer. Depending on how the Coronavirus pandemic develops, principal photography should begin at locations in Germany, Morocco and Belgium from this October.
The documentary genre remains close to Haubrich‘s heart as the first productions under the roof of the new company show – ranging from New York-based independent filmmaker Paula Eiselt‘s 93QUEEN (world premiere at HotDocs in Toronto in 2018) through the award-winning freelance journalist Francesca Manocchi‘s ISIS, TOMRROW. THE LOST SOULS OF MOSUL (‚out of competition‘ in Venice in 2018) to her current production of Claudia Müller‘s ELFRIEDE JELINEK – DIE SPRACHE VON DER LEINE LASSEN schedled to be released on the occasion of the Nobel Prize-winning author‘s 75th birthday this autumn.
Meanwhile, CALA FILM‘s development slate includes filmmaker Ulrike Tony Vahl‘s debut feature THE CRUX, which was selected to participate in this year‘s Torino ScriptLab, Greta Marie Becker‘s documentary about the Senegalese dancer and choreographer Germaine Acogny, as well as several new film and TV projects, including some with Barbara Albert.
Turning Tables in fact marks a new chapter in the company‘s history as this will be the first production to be co-produced with the affiliate CALA Film Central which was launched at the end of 2020 in Erfurt with the dynamic young producer Claudia Schröter – previously at Kinderfilm GmbH/Grown Up Films - at the helm together with Haubrich. As far as CALA Film‘s future strategy is concerned, Haubrich says that co-production will continue to have a high priority for „working with attractive international partners who broaden our horizons.”
Moreover, she believes that „the trend towards more and more providers in the streaming market and the expansion of the public broadcasters‘ mediatheques offer us additional – and not fewer – opportunities to vary lengths, genre and forms for a larger audience and develop more of those ambitious stories that characterise European cinema.”