Interview with producer Mimmi Spång
Times are busy for producer Mimmi Spång at Garagefilm. She is the Swedish co-producer of two films that have been selected for the Cannes Film Festival: Sick of Myself by Norwegian Kristoffer Borgli, and Godland by Hlynur Pálmason of Iceland, both screening in the Un Certain Regard section. We had a chance to chat to Mimmi – about Cannes, how she chooses her projects, and about having her own film festival.
How would you describe Godland and Sick of Myself?
Sick of Myself is an absurd black comedy which in many ways highlights one of the greatest vices of our time – the constant quest for attention – and takes it to the very extreme. Godland is about a young Danish priest who goes to Iceland to build a church and photograph the people there, but the further he gets into the uncompromising landscape, the further he strays from his original purpose.
Sick of Myself. Photo: © Oslo Pictures
How did you and Garagefilm get involved in the projects?
It was quite straightforward really. Dyveke Bjørkly Graver at [Norwegian production company] Oslo Pictures contacted me, and then we met at the Göteborg Film Festival. I thought Sick of Myself was a fun, bizarre project so we decided to work together. I had also seen Kristoffer Borgli’s previous films and was amazed by how he pushed the boundaries, he manages to surprise in an amusing way.
As for Godland, I had already worked with [Danish production company] Snowglobe, and when they said they’d be working with Hlynur Pálmason, who I find an absolutely fascinating director, I jumped at the chance to co-produce the project.
What does screening at Cannes mean for the films?
Premièring in Cannes obviously means a lot. Partly for the film itself, as international recognition like this will hopefully lead to more festival screenings and wider distribution on different platforms around the world. But it’s also an incredible validation for everyone who has worked on the film. The fact that it’s made such an impact and managed to stand out among all the amazing titles that were submitted is something I’ll carry with me for quite some time.
Godland. Photo: © Snowglobe
The somewhat unkind term ‘Europuddings’ was previously used to refer to soulless European co-productions, but many of the most widely acclaimed European films in recent years have been co-productions. What do you think this development is down to?
I think we’ve got better at collaborating in the right way, on the right things. I also think that organizations like Creative Europe and the co-production departments at our state-run institutes have done a great job supporting and encouraging European co-production. Co-producing has been an excellent way of funding arthouse films, which can rarely raise enough on their own. It’s also great fun both being a main producer and a co-producer, as there’s such a variety of projects and you get an insight into how filmmakers work in other countries.
Can you tell us anything about upcoming projects from Garagefilm?
Woman on the Roof is a Polish co-production written and directed by Anna Jadowska. It will be competing in Tribeca which is a lovely festival, so that’s great news. We also have two co-productions that start shooting in May and June. One is another project with Oslo Pictures, and the other is a new collaboration with Lithuanian production company M-Films.
Finally, have you had time to see any good films outside of work?
The most recent film that blew me away was Parasite, though that’s hardly a surprise as it took the world by storm. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do when it comes to watching films as I’m so busy with production, but I should get some time this autumn so I’ll have my own little film festival!
Interview: Per Perstrand
Mimmi Spång is a producer and executive producer and is one the owners of Garagefilm International, an independent production company based in Stockholm. The company was founded in 2007 and was joined by Anna-Maria Kantarius three years later. Garagefilm has more than 30 titles in their catalogue, including Sebbe by Babak Najafi, Call mum! (Ring mamma!) by Lisa Aschan and Amateurs (Amatörer) by Gabriela Pichler, as well as co-productions such as A Soap (En Soap) by Pernille Fischer Christensen and The Charmer (Charmøren) by Milad Alami. Over the years Garagefilm’s productions have won two Guldbagge awards for Best Film, prizes in Berlin, Toronto, San Sebastian and Gothenburg, and more than 80 other awards in total.
Published 16 May 2022