Riviera Set Interview with Producer Paul G Andrews
Hi, first of all, congratulations, you are one of the winners of the Europe Film Festival UK. What do you feel?
I’m very happy. A lot of hard work has gone into this screenplay and lots of people have had input into the story as a whole so it’s great that all that hard work has been recognised.
Are you working on a new project at the moment or are you planning to?
We have a slate of nine films including Riviera Set so we’re very busy at the moment! The two projects that will be going into production the soonest are comedy-drama With Friends Like These and the Irish historical epic The Great Hunger. The Great Hunger has been written by the Man Booker Prize-winning author of Schindler’s List Thomas Keneally, double Academy Award nominee Roland Joffé (also directing), award-winning screenwriter and novelist Meg Keneally, and myself. We have an A-List cast in the process of being attached as well, so we think it’s going to be a huge film, not just because of its important subject matter of the Irish famine, but for its appeal to international audiences. The screenplay has already won 12 international Best Screenplay Awards, with an additional six nominations.
Also on our slate, we have a romance/drama with musical elements titled On Par, a romance/war story about the conflict in Cyprus titled An Island Apart, another historical epic that leads on from The Great Hunger about notorious civil war hero General Dan Sickles (also written by Thomas Keneally and Roland Joffé), as well as action/thriller Gorger, female-led historical drama Fled, and the love story set amid a war story (with the backdrop of the 1985 Live Aid concerts) To Asmara.
What makes a film great for you? Are there certain qualities that make a film better for you?
There are many different aspects of a movie that can make it great. I think the three most important things are: a great team, a great story, and an important message. Having a talented and hardworking team can be the difference between a good movie and a great movie, and it’s not all about the cast. The producers, the writers, the director, the cinematographers, the crew, they all bring something to the film, and if each of those individuals is passionate, talented, and driven then you’re set to make an outstanding film. A great story is an obvious must but executing it well can be hard. If you can find a story that is so good that it’s hard to mess it up, then you know you have a great film in your hands. Having a strong message in your film is what gets people talking after they’ve left the cinema. What did it mean to them? Do they agree with the message? Will the message of that film effect change in their lives? A great message is not only what makes a film a hit but makes it unforgettable.
What, in your opinion, is the most important quality of a film producer?
It would be hard to put one quality above the rest, but I would have to say passion is key. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, if you’re not driven to make the film the best that it can be, that can be your downfall. If you don’t have that passion, you’re more likely to give up at the first hurdle as opposed to persevering, not giving up, and giving it your all to ensure you achieve success with each film and in your career as a whole.
Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?
For me it’s harder to get started, I think. Getting that first ball rolling can be tough, but once you’ve got that momentum you can just keep pushing and tackling obstacles and achieving success. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right place to start in such a complex and competitive industry, but once you’re in it’s a whole different ball game. It’s an exciting industry so there’s always different things happening that can motivate and encourage you.