Interview with producer Mira Mendel


Mira Mendel graduated from the University of Amsterdam with a Film and Television degree. Afterwards she attended New York Film Academy for a film making course. During her studies she worked for advertising company 180 Amsterdam, an international advertising agency with many international clients. After returning from New York City she started working at Interakt as a producer and CEO for documentaries, series and features. As core activity Interakt aims for primarily high-quality, in addition to realizing artistic, socially relevant, historical, literary, musical, accessible and intellectual, also educational documentary films and later drama productions. The different genres coexist and be developed in collaboration with directors, broadcasters and clients such as museums and institutes.

  • A producer is a leader or a boss?

I believe that a producer is a leader first and foremost.

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

Flexibility, ambition, creativity and most of all that they are teams players. As we can’t make film alone.

  • What do you look for in a script?

That it is one of a kind. Either in a story that hasn’t been told or in how it is creatively told or made.

  • How do you select a director?

I think it is all about a connection. Working together on a project sometimes takes years, it is almost like a marriage. So it is important that you in the first place you get along, can challenge each other and trust one another.

  • 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.

For the first draft I always say that your imagination should take the overhand. Write what you want, what is you story, what do you want to tell. When you know what that is, that is the  moment when you start to look at the possibilities from the production side. Which sometimes mean your story can change a bit. But most of the time it makes it better.

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

I prefer to be involved from the beginning, I love working together with a director when it comes to writing and thinking in creative lines. Both sides enhance each other in my opinion.

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

It is team work so also as a producer you have influence. Plus it is also our duty to manage the budget and all the connections with financiers and broadcasters etc, who also have some influence at times that we need to implement.

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

To always keep going. I really believe that is an idea is good it will be made. Sometimes the time is not right and you need to have a lot of patient. So that is another thing I have learned to be patient. Besides that you learn from every production that I produce, every project is different.

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

Good question! That would be a dream for sure. I would love to be able to have an unlimited budget. I don’t think I only have one project that I would spend it on. I would take it broader. I would produce a production that fall in between all the rules and regulations to find funding. Such as hybrid productions, or that are unique in style. Also I would love to give directors a chance that might not have an opportunity to apply to other places. I did say that I would like to produce a series with one theme, told from many different cultural aspects and backgrounds. I think that would be amazing.

  • What does the future of film look like?

I think film will get more personal. We already notice that people watch at their or own time when they feel like it due to the all the digital platforms. I think this will expand even more. I hope that the future is that we can still make and create beautiful stories and that makers will tell their own stories with and from their own perspective and background, which will lead to a more divers and inclusive film world.