Interview with producer Marie Sonne Jensen


Marie Sonne-Jensen is Danish and has been living in Paris for 23 years. She started her carrer in the company Les films de la croisade (Mondovino, official selection Cannes 2004). Subsequently, at Slot Machine, she has ensured the follow-up of numerous international co-productions notably those set up with the Danish company Zentropa (Dogville, Le Direktor, Dear Wendy). From 2006 to 2010, she has acquired executive production experience in Les Films the next day (films by Hou Hsiao Hsien, Lou Ye, Bertrand Bonello and Cédric Kahn). Within La Voie Lactée, she is passionate about the production of films by French authors and Europeans since 2005. His first short film was a co-production between Sweden, France and Estonia and since that day, many co-production projects have been carried out within La Voie Lactée. Marie’s cosmopolitan profile naturally pushes her to engage in film projects whose stories cross borders. Marie also co-produced the feature film Sauvage by Camille Vidal-Naquet, awarded at the Critics’ Week in Cannes 2018 and nominated for the 2019 César in the Premier Film category. 

  • A producer is a leader or a boss?

A producer is a collaborator, who first of all share the artistic view of a film project and helps the author/director to achieve her/his vision.

  • What qualities or attributes do you look for in people you are looking to employ or work with?

Sharing the same artistic ambition is the base of all collaboration for me and since filmmaking is a long-term adventure, it’s important for me to work with people with whom I can easily communicate and share my thoughts. 

  • What do you look for in a script?

I don’t look for anyhting specific; I do cherish rather radical narrative storytelling, with strong characters.

  • How do you select a director?

I have only produced author-directors, so when a script/treatment pleases me I go to the next phase meeting the author-director and then I see if it’s a match.

  • Would you recommend writers think like a producer when writing their script? Or, just write with reckless abandon and then worry about the cost, or whatever, after they’ve grabbed a producer’s attention.

Good scripts are rare… so please concentrate on the script, make it a blast and then we deal with how and how much.

  • How involved in the writing of a project do you get? Are you more involved in the initial development?

I’m very involved; I follow all the writing phases very closely.

  • How much influence as a producer do you have with the choices made by the director and/or DP?

Once we all agree on the artistic directions of a film I leave great liberty to the director and DOP.

  • What is the most important thing you have learned during your career?

Exchange, share, interact.

  • If you had an unlimited budget at your disposal, what would be your dream production project?

There will allways be limitations somewhere during the process. I guess that is part of making a film, part of making the necessary choices to improve the story.

  • What does the future of film look like?

The future for author / art house film is not very bright… but I’ll fight the best I can to continue to produce the films I cherish and get them screened in cinemas.