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How we made Ida: Pawe Pawlikowski on the journey from script to film

by Pawe Pawlikowski.


Recently, someone from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles asked Ewa Puszczynska, Ida’s Polish producer, to send them the script of our film so they could deposit it in their core library collection. Ewa rang me, worried: what exactly should she send them? She had 23 permutations of the script on her files. Surely she couldn’t send them the official script we raised the money on. It was nothing like the film that ended up on the screen. Maybe we could simply send a transcript of the finished film? But that would amount to no more than 30 pages – probably not much use to the Academy, either.

The accepted logic of most film producers is this: you buy a book or an idea, then hire a screenwriter – in Britain, usually a converted playwright – who then turns it into a three-act structure, puts in some twists and lots of dialogue, and hands you a 90-page script. Next, you hire a director, who brings in his “vision”, attracts some cool actors, and breaks scenes into shots; and then you get a DP who photographs the thing as artfully as the story will allow. Then comes the editor to speed things up or slow them down, cover up holes, and sort out loose ends. The product at the end is more or less what was planned at the start – and with the right cast, soundtrack, journalistic hook and promotion it should make money.

Read the rest of this article from The Guardian.

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