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Dear Mr. Hope, congratulations on being the 2018 recipient of the Premio Raimondo Rezzonico, supported by the Comune of Minusio. A prize to the achievements of a lifetime is always a good occasion to reflect on the legacy of your work. How do you feel looking back at the beginning of your career?
I feel I was really lucky that I started being involved in the film industry at the right time. When I moved to New York in the 80s, I had the chance to encounter all the great people that had started the new indie movement of American Cinema in those years, people like Spike Lee, the Coen brothers and Frances McDormand, Jim Jarmusch… they were just simple guys, people you would meet on the subway or at the local movie theater, and this made me realize that it could be done, I could also try and make independent films myself.
After three decades as a producer, do you feel the film industry has changed?
I think there are changes every five to ten years, there have always been changes, in production or distribution. But the struggle for a voice to be heard, raising finances and developing stories, those will always be the same. Making a movie will always be a commitment; it’s a bit like a romantic relationship. You choose a project, and then decide that for the next three to five years, you’re going to have lunch or dinner with these filmmakers almost every day!
Looking at your filmography, we see that you had the opportunity to produce the first film of many directors who went on to beautiful careers. Would you say you have a talent for spotting talent, or that you know where to look for one’s gift?
It’s easy to spot the diamond, because it’s always the one that shines brighter. Even in the rough, a diamond is always a diamond. Moreover, I have always been attracted to the kind of people and projects that question what we already know, that push the boundaries. So I always looked for new directors, that could bring a freshness and also be able to make mistakes. As a producer, I had to guard over their mistakes, because that’s part of the learning process.
There are always pessimistic views in our industry – do you think there’s any hope for the future?
Ah! (laughs) I have always been grateful that my family gave me this beautiful name… and I always tried to be as full of hope as possible! I make lists every day of new things that excite me, new trends in popular culture, new ideas to develop. I think that the film experience will actually improve in time. In ten years, movies will be better than ever.