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Vanessa McMahon

Vanessa is a novel writer, screenwriter, rep and a film producer. She shares her discoveries and film surprises. :-)



Interview with Slovenian Producer Ales Pavlin on Director Fortnight Film "Ashkal" (2022) at 75th Cannes Film Festival

Interview with Slovenian Producer Ales Pavlin on Director Fortnight Film "Ashkal" (2022) at 75th Cannes Film Festival Interview with Slovenian Producer Ales Pavlin on Director Fortnight Film "Ashkal" (2022) at 75th Cannes Film Festival

Award-winning film and television producer Ales Pavlin is co-owner and co-founder of Slovenian based production house PERFO Production. His company Perfo Production has produced a few hundred commercials and many TV series and feature films, which were awarded on national and international festivals.

Aside from producing, Ales also works as professor at Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television AGRFT in Ljubljana. In 2012 the European Film Promotion's (EFP) named him for the Cannes-based program 'Producers on the Move'. He is a voting member of European Film Academy (EFA) and member of European Producers Club (EPC). His most recent film "Ashkal" was featured in Directors Fortnight at the 75th annual Cannes Film Festival, 2022.


In a recent interview with Ales at the Cannes Film Festival, here is what he had to say:


Can you tell us about your path to become a producer? Did you always know this is what you want to do?

ALES: My path of becoming producer was a little bit longer than expected, since I was coming from post-socialist country and the profession of producer as we know now was starting to develop in the mid 90-ies. I always knew this is what I wanted to do, but before becoming that, I was professionally active for a few years in theatrical distribution (working as representative of United International Pictures in Slovenia), later in theatrical exhibition and finally for the last twenty years in production. But from today’s point of view, I believe it is even better since I really know very thoroughly all 3 basic parts of the film industry.


Most producers struggle to make one movie in five years, but you seem to be turning out multiple per year. How do you do it? 

ALES: With a lot of will and passion for every possible project where I get the possibility to be attached to. I am coming from a very small market. It is a combination of major producer and minor co-productions for feature films combined with some mini-series, but the most important is that you stay in shape, therefore it is worth trying.


What have been your challenges and greatest rewards thus far?

ALES: Greatest challenges are always how to produce films with very low (compared to average European budgets) budgets, but still wanting to have a look much above the budget. The greatest reward is satisfaction you get after a successful project, creativity which you are surrounded by and many international friends you get through this path.


Is there a film you have worked on that you are most proud of?

ALES: Diplomatically would be to say every film I worked on, but really a project which I can be most proud till now is the first feature film “Apples” (Greece-Poland-Slovenia coproduction) by Christos Nikou, where I have met extremely talented director, recognized an amazing and unique project, met a great production team and a passionate sales agent. The film was very successful all over the world and brought the director the opportunity to work on a 2nd  English speaking film called “Fingernails” with Jessie Buckley and Riz Ahmad.


A recent film you worked on, "Patchwork" went to Karlovy Vary last year. Can you tell us about that?

ALES: That is a very good and strong woman topic film with a powerful director team Petros Charalambous and Janine Teerling with the best Greek actress Angeliki Papoulia and great Israeli actress Joy Rieger. It was a completely unusual coproduction from two small countries as Cyprus and Slovenia are, combined with Israel.


Your most recent film "Convenience Store" went to Berlin 2022. Can you tell us about it?

ALES: It is a powerful story about human slavery in Moscow, directed by huge talent first time director Mikhail Borodin. It was awarded in Berlinale Panorama with Arthouse cinema award. It was a co-production of Russia, Turkey and Slovenia, which is now unfortunately almost on hold due to the political situation with Russia.


And your film "Ashkal" was featured in Directors Fortnight at 75th Cannes Film Festival. Can you tell us about that?

ALES: I am still excited after the Cannes premiere in Director's Fortnight. I was lucky to be able to be small- tiny part of this film completely shot in the Gardens of Carthage, a district of Tunis initiated by the former Regime whose constructions stopped at the beginning of the Revolution. It is a mysterious case of calcined bodies found in the middle of the construction site. 


What were Cannes audience reactions to “Ashkal”?

ALES: Extremely good and positive.


What was the highlight for you at this year's Cannes Film Festival?

ALES: Personally, the feeling that life is pretending to be normal again. So many people come back after three years, many good films and many good, positive, promising meetings.


What will you be working on next? 

I am working intensively on two projects: ‘Father Figure”, directed by Slovenian director Nejc Gazvoda (it is his 3rd film). It is a film about a particular period (the middle of 2021), set in an elementary school, and all the issues it deals with are concrete: peer violence, loneliness, dignity. It is Slovenian-Italian-Czech co-production and we just finished the shoot. The second project is English speaking feature film “Wild Urge”, directed by Israeli director Sharon Bar-Ziv. It is Slovenian-Israeli coproduction shot completely in Slovenia with exciting international cast with award-winning German actor Samuel Finzi and Israeli actress Yaara Pelzig ("Policeman"), playing the leading roles, joined by Serbian French actor and César Award nominee Radivoje Bukvic and Slovenian actresses Nina Rakovec and Mia Skrbinac. The film is in post-production. The movie has recently been put on prestigious Screendaily’s special list “58 European films to tempt festival directors in 2022”. Beside that we are in pre-production of the most ambitious Slovenian high-end mini-series, which we start shooting at the beginning of next year.



2022 Ashkal (co-producer)

2022 Convenience Store (co-producer)

2021 Patchwork (co-producer)

2021Bir Umut (co-producer)

2021 Brexit Through the Non-political Glass (Documentary) (co-producer)

2020 Apples (co-producer)

2020 Bridges of Us (Najini mostovi) (TV Series) (producer)

2019 Black Sun (Senke nad Balkanom) (TV Series) (co-executive producer)

2019 Uncle Geza Goes To Zaturci (Stric Geza ide v Zaturce) (co-producer)

2017-2019 River of Love (Reka ljubezni) (TV Series) (producer)

2017 Slovenia, Australia nad Tomorrow the World (Slovenija, Avstralija in jutri

ves svet) (producer)

2017 The Basics of Killing (Druzinica (producer)

2016 Usodno vino (TV Series) (producer)

2016 Takle mamo (TV Series) (producer)

2016 Beef Trout (Goveja postrv) (co-producer)

2015 Juliet and Alfa Romeo (Julija in alfa Romeo) (producer)

2015 Šiška deluxe (producer)

2015 We Will Be the World Champions (Bicemo prvaci sveta (co-producer)

2014-2015 Our Daily Bread (Nas vsakdanji kruhek (TV Series) (producer - 18


2014 Time To Improvise (Cas za improvizacijo) (Documentary) (producer)

2014 The Woods Are Still Green (Die Wälder sind noch Grün) (co-producer)

2014 Mother's Day (Mamin dan) (TV Series) (producer - 13 episodes)

2014 Drugo zivljenje macesna (Documentary short) (producer)

2014 Little Buddho (Mali Budo) (co-producer)

2013 Dual (Dvojina) (producer)

2013 Balavica (Short) (co-producer)

2012 Children of Socialism-Replace my Head (Otroci socializma - Zamenite mi

glavo) (Documentary) (producer)

2011 In Treatment (Na terapiji) (TV Series) (executive producer - 45 episodes)

2011 A Trip (Izlet) (producer)

2008-2011 Lepo je biti sosed (TV Series) (producer - 98 episodes)

2010 Smehljaji (Short) (producer)

2009 E-Pigs (Short) (producer) .....


Interview by Vanessa McMahon


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