ACE Producers

Ateliers du Cinéma Européen




Nous avons la grande tristesse d’apprendre le décès de Gayle, producteur de talent et membre actif de ACE depuis 2004. Sa disparition constitue une grande perte pour le cinéma britannique et pour notre association. Nos pensées vont aujourd’hui à sa famille et à ses proches. Lire sa Nécrologie par Screen ici.

Portrait #1 : ROMAN PAUL / Razor Film Produktion, D


Roman Paul began his career in cinema as Acquisitions Assistant at Prokino Film Distribution (Munich) and then moved on to become Head of International Acquisitions at Senator Film in Berlin and Los Angeles. At Senator he met Gerhard Meixner who worked as a producer for the company. Though he liked acquisitions, Roman felt that after 5 years in the “corporate world” it was time “to do something of our own”.
In 2002 he left Senator along with Gerhard Meixner and together they founded Razor Film Produktion. Roman Paul says that he and Gerhard complement each other very well. Being partners offers the possibility for exchange, to share hard times and good. Both their experiences and their different skills (Roman Paul as a buyer and Gerhard Meixner as a producer) were very helpful to start the independent company. They are united by their interest in different cultures as well as Pan-European and international projects. As Roman says: “We like living the European idea”. This has also to do with their upbringing, and their studies in various countries (Germany, United-States, France and Japan for Roman Paul!), hence the eclecticism of the company. As development takes a long time, during the first 3 1/2 years of Razor Film, Roman was also an acquisitions consultant for Celluloid Dreams. “It was a great opportunity to work in acquisitions for one of the best sales company in the world, and to work with an icon of independent cinema like Hengameh Panahi who became a friend over the years. We had a great run and benefited very well from each other. And I learnt so much there.”

The first project produced by Razor Film was PARADISE NOW by Hany Abu-Assad, in 2005, in co-production with Amir Harel (Lama Films, Israel / ACE Producer), Augustus Film (NL), Lumen Film (F) and Arte France Cinéma. Sold by Celluloid Dreams, the film was selected in many festivals (Berlinale, Toronto, New-York, San Sebastian, Karlovy Vary, etc.) and won a lot of prestigious prizes, such as the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in ‘06 or the Blue Angel Award for Best European Film (Berlinale, ‘05). In 2006 and 2007, Razor Film also produced RUNNING ON EMPTY by Bülent Akinci that won the Perspective Section of Berlinale 2006 and Awards for Best Actor and Best Film in Moscow the same year. The film was selected for more than 40 festivals worldwide and was released in Germany in 2007. Razor Film also produced the local comedy CUTTING EDGE by Carsten Strauch that made around 100,000 admissions in its German release.

This year’s most remarkable event for Roman Paul is certainly the impressive WALTZ WITH BASHIR by Ari Folman, selected in Official Competition at last Cannes Film Festival and now screened at the Sarajevo Film Festival. Razor Film got on board 2 years ago when Ari Folman wrote them an email saying that he was a looking for a German production company. Advised by Amir Harel, who worked with Razor on PARADISE NOW, Roman Paul and Gerhard Meixner met Ari Folman in Berlin, where he presented his project: some animatics, the script and the interviews. The second time Ari came to Berlin, they decided to do the project. Ari Folman was his own producer, with his company Bridgit Folman Film Gang and he was already working with French company Les Films d’Ici’s Serge Lalou and Arte. From the beginning Roman Paul, and Gerhard Meixner, had a very good artistic and personal relationship with Ari Folman. Concerning the financing, it was a bit difficult at the beginning, because “animation is a long developing process, and everybody needs to be fully dedicated for very little money”. But thanks to their good relationships with Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg and ARTE, Razor could show the preliminary commissions material, convincing them that the project would be a theatrical film (which it needed to be in order to get the funding ; the film had initially been funded as a TV film). The film was finally produced for 1.3 M €, with the support of the Medienboard, the Israel Film Fund, the New Israeli Fund for Cinema and TV, Noga-Communication-Channel 8, Hot Telecommunications LTD, les Editions Montparnasse and in co-production with (besides Razor Film, Les Films d’Ici and Bridgit Folman Film Gang) Arte France and ITVS Int’l. Roman Paul and his partner worked on the sound production and the post-production in Germany. A this time they managed to bring the Match Factory on board as world sales company. The sales agency then sold it to France, United-Kingdom and Germany before the Festival de Cannes premiere. And then in Cannes the rest of the territories were sold. Released in France on June 25th by Le Pacte, the film will have made 500,000 admissions in France by the end of the year!
In Cannes, WALTZ WITH BASHIR was very well received, by the audience and the critics. A “wonderful experience” for Roman. Razor will co-produce Ari Folman’s next project!

Presently Roman is working on WOMB, a film by Benedek Fliegauf, selected at this year’s Atelier du Festival de Cannes. The script won the Krzysztof Kieslowski Award for the Best Eastern and Central European Script. They now have half of the financing and were able to get a good group of experienced producers on board of the project as partners: Cedomir Kolar (ASAP, F / ACE Producer), Andras Muhi (Inforg Studios, HU), Mark Herbert (Warp Films, UK), Film 4 (UK) and The Match Factory as world sales company. The development was funded by the Medienboard, MEDIA, the Hungarian Film Fund and Film 4. The shooting is scheduled for Fall 2008 in North Germany and Berlin.
Roman is also working on DEADLINERS (his ACE project!), directed by Randa Chahoud. With the latter he followed the ACE training Programme in 2006-2007. To him and Gerhard Meixner, ACE is a very important network. They can rely on the information ACE provides and they appreciate the confidentiality, which permits producers to have open discussions. “It’s necessary and we cannot really find that kind of open forum within the industry, apart from with close friends”.
Lastly Razor is preparing an adaptation of the bestselling novel, THE STORY OF BLANCHE AND MARIE, by Per Olov Enquist, in co-production with Bob Films Stockholm and Celluloid Dreams in Paris.

We warmly thank Roman Paul for the time he shared with us in Cannes for this portrait!

In brief…
Name: PAUL
Surname: Roman
Nationality: German
Born in Frankfurt/Main on August 18 1968.
Studies: Theatre, Film and Media Studies and German Literature (Goethe University, Frankfurt) ; Fulbright scholar at New York University ; Erasmus scholar at Université Paris 8 ; University of Takamastsu (Japan).
Company: Razor Film Produktion (founded in 2002, with Gerhard Meixner)