Von Trier, Alonso, Martel Producer Marianne Slot Goes From ‘Woman at War’ to ‘Normal Men,’ ‘Oca’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Producer Marianne Slot will continue her successful collaboration with Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson, following 2018 “Woman at War” with TV show “The Danish Woman” and upcoming feature film “Normal Men.”

“It’s a comedy, as you can imagine. Benedikt Erlingsson and a feminist producer – that’s a good combination,” she laughs, recalling their previous film about an environmental activist going rogue.

“’Woman at War’ was so joyful to make. It is still being shown and used as a reference, even by politicians in many different countries.” 

Slot talks to Variety in Locarno, when she is picking up the Raimondo Rezzonico Award, given to industry figures who have played a major role in international production.

 A French producer of Danish origin, she has collaborated with such directors as Lucrecia Martel, Lisandro Alonso and Sergei Loznitsa and has been co-producing Lars von Trier’s films since 1995’s “Breaking the Waves,” including “The House That Jack Built.”

Currently, she is also set to co-produce Karla Badillo’s debut feature “Oca” (“Goose”).

“She is so full of cinema,” says Slot about the director.

“I jump into new cultures and I have to immerse myself in them. On [Viggo Mortensen starrer] ‘Eureka’ with Lisandro Alonso, we had to go to the Indian reservation and meet the tribe. I really do go to all these places.”

Her production company Slot Machine has always been “auteur-driven,” she notes. 

“I have been producing for 30 years and what interests me the most is going off the highway and onto little roads, exploring cinema and new forms.” 

But personal relationships are also important.  

“I stay close to the director. You need to know if you can take risks together,” she says. 

“With someone like Lars [von Trier], provocation is what he does. He is shocking, because he doesn’t think there are any limits to what you can show. He really dares to talk about things that are very, very difficult. Things that we don’t necessarily want to see.”

“He wants people to think. It’s such a shame that some of them, or at least certain kinds of press, are more interested in ‘scandals.’ They want headlines, but if you really dive into his work, it’s very deep and very interesting,” she adds. 

“Recently, there was a retrospective of his work at La Rochelle Intl. Film Festival and many young viewers were discovering him for the first time. For them, it’s contemporary cinema. Not one of these films has dated.”

While Slot still believes in the power of name directors, she is keeping an eye on the changing film landscape. 

“I don’t think there is less desire for films from people who are willing to take risks, but we have to make sure we can keep making them,” she notes. 

“Everyone keeps talking about content, about stars, but we are not talking about the producers. We need to start doing that, because independent producers are becoming endangered species. And without them, this kind of cinema simply won’t exist.” 

“That’s why this award is absolutely fantastic, because even at festivals, sometimes we are not even mentioned in the catalogue. When everything goes smoothly, people go: ‘Why do we need a producer?’ And then things go to shit.”

Slot tries to approach each project differently, she explains.

“What I always do, or at least have been doing for the last 10 or so years, is trying to restructure the production. I am a French producer but I come from Denmark and work with directors from all over the world, from Japan to Iceland. Which means I don’t have a safety net, but it gives me freedom.”

“We keep talking about how we can survive, how we can protect creativity, but we also have to understand where the money comes from. Then again, I don’t do it for money. I never think about making money, I think about making movies. And I believe we can continue to do that.”

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