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Maja Zimmermann Headshot

Searching for Conflict

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At film school I leaned that a screenplay needs strong characters and lots of conflict, and as a producer I first and foremost need a good script.

Having grown up in small town in Switzerland, my formative years have not been infused with lots of conflict, so I set out to travel the world; first Paris, then Los Angeles and most recently, Colombia where I produced my first two feature films.

The locations of these films: Florencia, Quaqueta for Porfirio Ipiales, Narino for Field of Amapolas are not well known as tourist areas, but are rather making news because of conflict. Some people felt it was courageous that I, a blond, blue-eyed woman with little Spanish knowledge would travel to a region where few friends from Bogota have ever been, but I did not regret a moment of it. I will never forget how heartfelt my welcome in the vibrant city of Florencia was when I teamed up with our crew, and how excited the local bystanders were that an international film production would choose their city as platform for our film's production. A young student was very emotional as we met and thanked me -- that after two years of language studies he was finally able to use his English.

In privileged and protected Switzerland, some Colombian kids where adopted to have a chance for a better future. Meanwhile the table has turned, and the Colombian film industry has adopted me as one of their producers who is instrumental in bringing their stories with lots of conflict, humanity and humor like Field of Amapolas to the global arena. This weekend our film was showed to a full house at the Tribeca Cinemas in Manhattan during the second Colombian Film Festival, and earned a standing ovation from an enthusiastic expat audience.

As a film producer I see myself building bridges, adding assets and value as well as taking risks. All this in order to bring engaging stories, like the one of a exiled father and son from the beautiful high planes of Colombia, to screens around the world. Making movies is a journey, and through all the challenges and joys, I'm learning that, the fun and satisfaction is in the making, the process and the experience along the way.

From Hollywood I'm learning that the public love Happy Endings, so I'm excited to report that our film has just won the Audience Award from the Colombian Film Festival and trust this will create a nice momentum for the distribution of our movie.