Liberty mini-series Stage 5 co-productions better together international
July 12, 2019

Dylan Voogt Explains His Recipe for a Successful Co-production

Dylan Voogt and Stage 5 on the recipe for a successful co-production, and the home-court advantage…

This article was first featured in Issue 3 of the Callsheet.

What are the ingredients for a successful co-production partnership?

By skill set, acumen and personal preference. Choosing someone who has a skill other than yours is very important. This also means weighing up what you need and why; and then looking for, and choosing (if you’re fortunate), the best fit for you.

You have to have a mutual shared ambition for the project. Your goals have to be aligned. Unrealistic expectations can ruin any relationship. Your partnership needs to be put ahead of all else, the often separate but no less meaningful, personally identified, core ideal of the project. This supersedes money. Life is too short to not make things that are not meaningful. Even if only meaningful to you. Honesty and integrity together build trust. Trusting each other’s strengths and respecting your mutual ambition will see you through what is often a very trying pursuit.

Liberty mini-series Stage 5 co-productions better together international

Liberty mini-series by Stage 5 Films

What co-productions are you currently working on and with which countries?

Apocalypse Now Now with Canada and The Elephant Whisper with the UK, USA & France. There are a few others but we haven’t announced them just yet.

READ MORE: Co-productions: Better Together

In your experience, what are the benefits of co-producing with other countries?

You double your efforts and usually, two heads are better than one. If you have complimentary skill sets then this is particularly true. Finance, of course, is a big one and coming from a small African country on the tip of the continent. Filmmaking is an expensive sport and most co-producers pool their money whether it is equity, sales (in their territory) or soft money in the form of grants or tax incentives.

Access to the market is key. Filmmaking, like everything else these days, is global. Unless you are making films for specific local markets your co-production partners can give you great access to festivals, sales and distribution. Often through personal contacts built up over the years. Home court advantage! Perspective, creatively is also very helpful, especially as we have been and are arguably geographically removed from the bigger markets of North America and Europe.

Dylan Voogt Stage 5 co-productions international

Skoonheid, a French-South Africa co-production

The French co-production for Skoonheid might well have benefitted our Cannes chances. Our North American co-prodution saw us Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. More recently we had our co-production with the Danish miniseries Liberty premiere at the Berlinale Drama Days. All African stories, shot in South Africa in local languages that have, through meaningful co-production partnerships, travelled to the highest heights globally.

READ MORE: South African Film Rebates and Incentives

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