‘Chernobyl’ Director Johan Renck On Cultural Authenticity & His Filmmaking Motto: “Make It As Difficult To Film As Humanly Possible”

In any artform, one of the things we respond to is this inherent feel that there’s a struggle behind it. What it does feel is big. “That’s how you make it good. “My motto in filmmaking is to make it as difficult to film as is humanly possible,” he says. Dry and Sisyphean work, in so many aspects. Always make it as difficult as possible, and look for the most difficult solutions, because I think that comes through on the other end.”” /> Film is cumbersome and horrendous. He would have it no other way. You should never take the path of least resistance. In Renck’s hands, the scale of the disaster is immediately clear.
Still, the itch kept itching. Mazin, along with EPs Jane Featherstone and Carolyn Strauss, came to visit him in New York, to persuade him to sign up. “To me, it was just about getting further ammunition to use on my wife and kids.” “I realize maybe they thought they were there to convince me to do it,” he says now. In retrospect, he now believes, he had already made that decision.
“I’m a bit of an ostrich like that,” he notes. But as his excitement grew, he pushed a tricky conversation with his family to the back of his mind. “I didn’t know how to tell my wife, so she found out I was doing it by reading an article in the trades. “I like to stick my head in the sand.” The result of going to ground? “It was kind of catastrophic,” he says, with only a subtle hint of humor. I was like, ‘Oh, I was supposed to tell you.’ It was not good at all.”
He felt the pathos of Mazin’s telling of the story and saw the responsibility to get it right. He loved that the scripts focused on the human side of the catastrophe and were grounded deeply within characters. “I wanted to rub shoulders with reality, but still with some of the enhancements we can bring to it with filmmaking. He could see the path of the show, and what he could bring to it. I wanted it to be like nothing else.” “I started playing the theater of it in my head,” he says.
He loved the variety that the story encompassed. All those stories were different animals, but they all pointed back to that exploded power plant. It never feels disjointed.” “There was a vignette aspect to it, because of these different stories running side-by-side.
We were a social democratic government with two national TV stations. Growing up in Sweden in the 1970s, to be honest, was not drastically different from the Soviet ’80s. There was a resemblance there, so I felt I knew visually what we were going to try to do.” “We could not cheat anything here,” he says of this approach. Our grocery stores had maybe two kinds of cereal, and one type of sausage. “Everything had to have cultural authenticity.
So his approach was to push the authenticity of Mazin’s already meticulously-detailed scripts. For his work on the show, he has been recognized for the first time by the Television Academy, with two Emmy nominations. Renck rejects the notion of referencing what has come before. It’s testament to the complexity of the challenge he faced, navigating a series that turns between action, drama, thriller and, of course, horror. “I’m not a film school person,” he says, “I just sort of taught myself how to do this.” He began in music, and segued into directing when tight budgets demanded that he helm his own music videos.
He’d just brought his family home after months shooting The Last Panthers in Eastern Europe, and the idea of a return to the Bloc for the whole family—a wife and three kids—was too much to conceive of. “I love this, but I’m not going to do it,” he told himself. But, ever an apprehensive man, his initial reaction was caveated. Johan Renck felt the call of Chernobyl grow stronger as he charged through more of Craig Mazin’s scripts for the five-part limited series. The problem?
But yeah, that’s the way it goes.” Thankfully, his marriage survived—indeed, Renck welcomed a fourth child while in production in Lithuania—and the experience they had in Eastern Europe turned out to be wholly positive for the entire family. “The kids loved it, my wife loved it, it was all good.

Canada & Ireland Development Fund Winners; Europa Cinema Awards; Hubert Bals Prize — Global Briefs

Five projects will share $150,000 CAD ($113,000). The program intends to increase gender parity in industry leadership roles and four of the five projects are led by female producers. Previous co-productions between Ireland and Canada have included Room, Brooklyn, Maudie and The Breadwinner. Canadian film and TV funding body Creative BC and Irish counterpart Screen Ireland have revealed the recipients of their inaugural international co-production development fund. The five successful projects selected are In Blood, produced by Underground Films and Hoodwink Films; Crossfire, produced by Tile Films and Soapbox; Children Of The Church, produced by Wildfire Films and Screen Siren; Cry From The Sea, produced by Shinawil and Sepia; and Recovery, produced by Samson + Goonworks.
The Hubert Bals Fund (HBF), administered by International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), is creating new awards worth a combined €100,000 ($113,000) in partnership with the Netherlands Film Fund (NFF) and the Netherlands Post Production Alliance (NPA).The two Dutch post-production awards, each worth €50,000 ($57,000) will be open to film projects previously supported by the HBF, which supports filmmakers from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe.” />
Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Frémaux oversees the Lumière venues, which attract more than 200,000 annual admissions. The 2018 Europa Cinemas awards, which are given to the best European cinemas supported by the Creative Europe programme, have gone to the Theatiner Film in Munich for Best Programming; Kino Urania in the Croatian city of Osijek for Best Young Audience Activities; and jointly to the Cinémas Lumière and the Comoedia in Lyon for Best Entrepreneur. The awards will be given on November 26 in Lyon and on December 5 in Munich.