Europe is getting serious about film business training. Richard Brass speaks to graduates from some of the key courses.
Well established in the industry and working at the time on a comedy with Italian stars Enrico Lo Verso and Monica Bellucci, the Serbia-born, French-based producer Cedomir Kolar signed up with the Ateliers du Cinema Europeen (ACE) in 1994, attracted by what seemed a new idea.
'Now you have workshops all over the world of all kinds, but these kind of workshops did not exist so much then,' he says. 'It was a very new system.'
For Kolar, the content of the workshops, which he still attends, is always valuable, but the networking opportunities that come with them are priceless. 'I found my distributor for Italy there, and the distributor for France.'
Kolar says that once you take part in a workshop you become a member of the family: 'There are thousands of people that I've met through ACE,' he says. 'It's unbelievable. I was at a party in Cannes for the Sarajevo film festival, and I met at least six people from the last workshop who I'd met in December in Roubaix.
'One is from the UK, one from Hungary, one was a visiting producer from Russia. And it wasn't like I was an established producer and they were first-time producers. We were all there as friends.
'To stay in the network is extremely important. But the workshop by itself is also incredibly important.
'And I don't understand why there always have to be discussions about how they're going to be financed. A thing like this should just go on automatically.'