Budapest Reporter | Jun 15, 2021 | 0
Who marches to the beat of his own drum – producer Robert Lantos
The figure of the producer is as important as detested in the cinema world, especially by the public. The negative consideration of this occupation derives primarily from a great deal of ignorance. They represent the producer, in a narrative point of view, as an antagonist.
It’s like a fantasy story: on one side the hero, the director who has to express his creativity in a free way; on the other side the producer, the villain of the story that tries desperately to deprive the art from the audio-visual product, in order to earn more at the box office. This is not a prerogative, of course, but sometimes happens.
In fact, the producer is the one without whom there would be no film, because there would be no one to finance it, to invest in the film project. To discuss this professional figure and show you how a producer can be a cultured character, we talk about Robert Lantos.
Born in 1949 in Budapest, Hungary and moved to Canada in 1963. Since then his life has changed a lot. Citing the well-known IMDB news site:
In 1972, when he was still a student at McGill University, Robert Lantos co-founded the company that grew into Alliance Communications Corporation, which for 25 years was Canada’s largest film and television production/distribution company and a leading specialty broadcaster. He was Alliance’s Chairman and CEO and took the company public in 1993, selling his controlling interest in 1998.
His production activity began in 1977, when he produced “L’ange et la femme” (1977), a very peculiar film about a violent death and a resurrection by an angel. From this small film, Robert produced only cinematic works until 1983, when he chose to invest in a television series that would have some success in the United States. We are talking about “American Playhouse”, an anthology show where each episode tells a different story, almost always treated by American theatre dramas.
Robert will continue to produce small movies and television products, as well as shows and documentaries, thus ranging from one macro genre to another, from a type of cinema to a completely different one. Although he moved to Canada, he has never forgotten his origins: in 1999 he produced a film by the great Hungarian director István Szabó, also born in Budapest as Robert. Today this producer is mainly remembered for a collaboration with the master of body horror David Cronenberg.
As I said at the beginning, the producer is the key figure without which the film cannot even enter pre-production. If there are no investors, if the director doesn’t find people who believe in him, the film cannot be made. If you watch films such as “Crash” (1996), “eXistenZ” (1999) and “Eastern Promises” (2007), very important works by Cronenberg, you must not only thank the creative team, but also those who chose to believe in the project.
That person is not the antagonist, although certainly many producers are rigid and want to have control. Instead, there are producers who believe in their work, that of financing a possible masterpiece that could not come to light without economic help. Without a producer. Without Robert Lantos.