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The Creatives, an Alliance of Top Indie Producers, Open Up About Providing Writers With ‘Safe Space’: ‘Where Would We Be Without Scripts?’

The Creatives – the Fremantle-backed alliance of 10 leading production companies – have shared the results of the first edition of “The Creative Connection” at the Venice Film Festival.

The companies – which include Lemming Film (Locarno premiere “Sweet Dreams”), Versus Production (Venice’s “Through the Night”), Maipo Film (“Elling”), Razor Film (“Quo Vadis, Aida?”), Komplizen Film (“Spencer”), Spiro (“Foxtrot”), Unité (“Salem”), Haut et Court (“Perfect Days”), Masha (“No Man’s Land”) and Good Chaos (“Triangle of Sadness”) – invited writers and producers to join forces over the course of three workshops.

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“Some of [the writers] were surprised we are actually normal people,” joked Haut et Court’s Carole Scotta during a panel at the Venice Production Bridge on Sunday. “We want to create a safe space for the writers to be able to work freely.”

Called “Inspiration,” “Brainstorming” – a series of experimental exercises led by Le Groupe Ouest – and “Collaboration,” the workshops took place in France, Greece and Germany. They were co-funded by the European Commission with support from Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg.

As pointed out by Laura Gragg, head of program at “The Creative Connection,” while five projects are currently underway, the focus was on collaboration, not final outcome.

“I think we all learnt a lot. How fast you can come up with an idea, how quickly you can develop something, how helpful it is when you join such a program without being obliged to deliver something at the end,” said Gerhard Meixner of Razor Film.

Lemming Film’s Leontine Petit added: “It’s not that we don’t think about the market, but to find and to give ourselves time is really necessary. There are very few workshops for writers that are not all about the projects. We want to give them time to think about what they really want to write about.”

Or an opportunity to build a proper network.

“For me, the most enriching aspect was this profound exploration of the individuals sitting across from me. In an industry preoccupied with pitching, selling and marketing, it prioritized profound human connection,” writer-director Mustafa Duygulu shared with Variety.

“This kind of interaction can be the foundation of a profound collaboration and maybe eventually the start of a richer and more creative storytelling.”

Tunde Aladese, known for Netflix’s “Transatlantic,” also appreciated the chance to connect.

“These experiences reinforced my belief that finding creative partners is like dating,” she noted.

“Collaboration, trust, partnerships and networks build strength. Being creatives and freelancers can be incredibly enriching, but it often leaves you feeling powerless and untethered. As long as we see collaboration as something that enriches us, we are taking steps in the right direction.”

With one eye on the ongoing strike in the U.S., European creators want to make sure their stories are told.

“More than ever, we need to take care of, and nourish, the needs of storytellers and their collaborators,” pointed out Synnøve Hørsdal, producer at Norway’s Maipo Films, who found the entire process “challenging but good.”

“We have to focus on how we can protect European identity and values, and continue telling stories that matter on an individual, local and international level. Stories that matter now and will in the future.”

Singling out the second workshop – “it was both barmy and inspiring, and perhaps inspiring because it was barmy” – Good Chaos’ Mike Goodridge added: “I thought it was an outstanding initiative, pairing producers and writers in an unprecedented way. I get so carried away with the day-to-day minutiae of getting things made that I forget I am also a creative with my own creative ideas.”

“It’s a cliché, but where would we be without scripts and ideas at the heart of the series? Writers should always have their due,” he said.

“We need unity, discussions, we need to talk about how to continue doing our craft and loving it. I think it’s essential to protect and respect the creative process and the people who create,” Julie Budtz Sørensen, behind Viaplay’s “Where Were You?,” concluded. “It sounds simple, but it’s a battle.”

The panel discussion will be available on the Creative Connection’s website after the festival here.

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