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Interview with Writer Producer Christina Rose at 74th Cannes Film Festival

Interview with Writer Producer Christina Rose at 74th Cannes Film Festival

CEO of Production Company Mirror Water Entertainment, Christina Rose co-founded the company with her brother Michael. She is an American-German director, producer, and screenwriter and plays an active role in the new "Hollyworld Movement", bringing international entertainment to the world. She has worked in North America, Europe, Africa (the famous Atlas Studios in Ouarzarzate), and Asia. Prior to starting her own company, Christina worked for Arad Productions (The Amazing Spiderman), Exclusive Media (Rush, Ides of March), in distribution at ZDF-Enterprises where she developed numerous projects with Michael Hirst (Vikings) and William J. MacDonald (Rome), and as an executive at the European network Sky acquiring new projects for development.

In an interview with Christina shortly after the 74th Cannes Film Festival, here is what she had to say:


 

Can you tell us about your company Mirror Water Entertainment and what kinds of films you are making?

CHRISTINA: Our company’s core focus is to pursue projects that follow the three E’s: ENTERTAINMET, EDUCATION, and ENLIGHTMENT. We develop and pursue projects that seek to entertain an audience but we also want to tackle subject matters that are educational. Most importantly, and perhaps the most difficult to achieve, is to tell stories that enlighten us, touch us, inspire us – simply said, make us think about the story we just watched days after we’ve seen it because there’s something about that story that has made us think differently about ourselves. Furthermore, we are developing projects that pairs experienced people with young and aspiring filmmakers. I really believe it’s a great business model. Our unwritten task is to reduce the risk for networks and different platforms, but allow new filmmakers to find their voice. I’m the kind of person who needs to fail a couple of times in order to succeed. I feel like for many first-time filmmakers, they put us under intense pressure so much so that if our first movie bombs, that’s it, career over. That is the wrong business model. I’m trying to bring people who have experience together with ambitious and hard working young people starving to catch a break – it’s not been easy because there are those who still think it’s risky. I strongly believe that in this way we will succeed. It’s just a matter of time. We will get there…..follow me.

 

You have worked at multiple renown companies before starting your own. How was that experience and what made you decide to start your own company?

CHRISTINA: I’ve been fortunate to have the chance to work at production companies, distributors and networks. This truly has allowed me to gain great insight into understanding the business and culture of making films. If you’re working at a production company, you have different challenges in comparison to being with a distributor or network. Insights, successes, failures have defined my path forward and helped prepare myself for making decisions. The decision to start my own company came from those experiences, which I would not trade for anything. While I attempted to create change at the companies I worked at, my ideas often landed on deaf ears. Because I believe in making this world a better place, I decided to pursue projects that are dear to my heart while finding opportunities to support voices of the next generation. Certainly there have been struggles along the way. I’m far from reaching my goals. I’m pretty sure there are people out there who don’t believe I can run a successful company, but I am not about to give up on my ideas. It’s a question of determination and persistence. I’m not going away soon.

 

Can you tell us about the Hollyworld movement?

CHRISTINA: The Hollyworld movement comes from the desire to go more global and international than ever before. It’s been my longtime wish to break the boundaries of countries and access their talent, struggles, pains and joys. This is something we all have in common. However, I see our thinking and approach as too local. Furthermore, we must nurture creative voices and talents from all over the world. It’s not Hollywood or Bollywood or Nollywood. We are one world and hence, Hollyworld. I am half American, half German, but I’ve been really fortunate to have had the opportunity to work from Morocco to India to multiple places in Europe and of course within the United States. I’ve learned that there are many unique events, happenings and stories that remain undiscovered. I want people everywhere in the world to understand that there’s a need to tell those stories. We need to find a platform to make this possible. After all, if there’s one thing we all experience its human emotions: we all laugh, cry, experience fear, joy, and happiness. A father-daughter story from South America can just be as impactful as one from Europe or Asia. There are a lot of themes that we share worldwide but I think there are stories that aren’t being given equal opportunities and we need to make sure that these are stories that aren’t lost to a wider audience.

 

You have been working on a docu-series called “Wonder Women”. Can you tell us about that?

CHRISTINA: “Wonder Women” is about young women making a major impact serving in leadership positions in underrepresented industries. We are defining underrepresented where 15% or less of a given profession has women in key positions. We are featuring a fisherwoman out of Alaska (Marie Rose), an Astronaut trainee from Germany (Suzanna Randall), a racecar driver from Hungary (Vivien Keszthelyi), a Puerto Rican Baseball player (Diamilette Quiles Alicea), a musical conductor from China/New Zealand (Tianyi Lu) and a pilot from India (Anny Divya). Each episode focuses on one of the women – their journey, their hardships, their impact and what they hope to achieve for future generations. The best news I can share is that “Wonder Women” will premiere at the 10 th Anniversary of “Kat Kramer's "Films That Change The World" where this year’s theme is #SHEROesForChange. I couldn’t have wished or dreamt of a better place for the series to have it’s debut. I’m truly grateful to Kat for this opportunity.

 

Documentaries and docu-series are becoming more in demand than ever before. Why do you think that is?

CHRISTINA: This is a very good question. I never thought of myself working on documentaries. The movies I have always been interested in are fictional stories, be it either movies or TV shows. However, what resulted in my interest in documentaries is the power of telling real, compelling, honest stories that are not just true but help us understand problems, challenges, and issues we are facing that need to be addressed. Instead of focusing on the subject matter alone, we are seeing these stories from the point of view of the characters – the REAL people. It allows filmmakers to creatively present events and experiences that people are experiencing in the real world. I think “Chef’s Table,” for example, was one of the first documentary series that made me realize this. It’s not about food alone – it’s about these people’s journey. That is where the inspiration of “Wonder Women” came from.

 

Is there a project you have worked on thus far that you are most proud of?

CHRISTINA: The project that I’m most proud of is “Wonder Women”. It’s been the most challenging project personally, mentally and physically. It is a project that's close to my heart because I have seen how women are discriminated against serving in such positions. I myself have experienced some hardship as well – we all know that the film industry is far from being equal when it comes to women or for that matter when it comes to diversity. So, basically, I was pursuing the question of how women, who are facing hardships in industries where they find themselves underrepresented, face and overcome adversity and what drives them to not quit. This documentary series will show viewers how diverse, talented, strong, determined and exceptional leaders women are. Furthermore, we will see these women taking on the challenges they face day in and day out AND how they inspire other women to do the same. 

 

You attended the 2021 Cannes Film Festival? Despite a lot of apprehension about this year's edition, was it a success or failure in your opinion?

CHRISTINA: The success of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival is seen in the art, creations and inspirations seen in the work of others in a very difficult and unusual time. Today’s stories allow us to tackle relevant issues – be it social justice, humanitarian, cultural, or societal. Every day events in society give us information to understand hardship, human behavior, suffering, but also hope when we think we have lost it all. The whole world has all been part of this pandemic and we’ve seen the worst of people and the best of people. While the world will never be perfect, stories will continue to give us the chance to become better by understanding issues and bringing to light problems that are often buried. So, while certainly a lot of people couldn’t travel to Cannes, stories and the magic of movies will go to them. The art of showing, telling and sharing will continue to have an impact in our society. We must do everything we can to give the voiceless a platform in order to tell their stories.

 

Do you think Cannes is important to attend as a filmmaker?

CHRISTINA: Definitely, and for multiple reasons. It’s not just a great film festival that showcases really some great movies, but it’s also a great network opportunity where people from all over the world meet, come together, share ideas, establish friendships, and maybe find a way to work together. It is hard, exhausting work but it is what sets the conditions for future success. Only at Cannes can that all come together.

 

What are your hopes for your company down the line? Where would you like to see it go in the next 5-10 years?

CHRISTINA: Despite the current COVID challenges, we’ve had to change and adapt to a new and evolving environment. It has been a challenge and the COVID crisis is not going away soon. To survive will take perseverance, determination and grit. Being able to push forward stories that have a purpose and need to be told is something we will prioritize. But technology is changing, people are changing, the world is changing around us as we speak both in climate, geo-political and ideological dimensions. To identify those changes and the people living those challenges is where I am looking. That sounds like a lot but it is my vision and that is where I am going. Climb aboard and prepare for a fun ride into the future. We are going to make the lives, experiences, hardships, and successes of others matter.

 

Interview by Vanessa McMahon. 74th Cannes Film Festival.

 

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