Dorota Kośmicka- Gacke – television and movie producer with 22 years’ experience. As a manager and producer while working for HBO she coproduced such titles as: „Sezon na leszcza”, „Weiser”, „Operacja Sammum” , „Na koniec Świata”, „Szczęśliwego Nowego Jorku” , „Billboard”.
Working for TVN she was one of the producers of „Vinci” , „Nigdy w życiu”, she produced and supervised the production process of such tv series as: „Niania”, „Hela w opałach”, „Camera Cafe” and „Kasia i Tomek”.
She produced five seasons of the beloved tv series „Rodzinka.pl”, nominated for the Telecamera awards on numerous occasions. She has already received a Telecamera award for „Niania” and was a nominee for the Wiktor awards in the Best Producer category in the year 2012. She is highly regarded as one of the three most influential women in show business in Poland. She is a member of Stowarzyszenia Filmowców Polskich (The Polish Filmmakers Society) and Krajowa Izba Producentów Audiowizualnych (The National Audiovisual Producers Chamber).
Since 2015 together with ATM she has been producing the tv series „Druga Szansa”. We are now able to view the second series running on air on TVN.
What is the role of a tv producer? Is he or she more a creator or an investor?
The producer lives through the project he or she is delivering. It is of course partly an artistic endeavor which requires the ability to form teams of producers and scriptwriters, the skill of creating plots, fables, events, which we later carve into what viewers view on the screen, be it feature films or TV series.
All of this is up to the producer to handle, this is what „turns us on”- telling stories in new teams with new people. Later I have to struggle seeking investors to put money down on the table, to invest in our idea. (laughter)
Each new script is like a new romance. It always starts from a new idea or actor for whom we create a World that slowly unfolds. An idea usually comes up and that idea sometimes comes along with a director, or it accompanies a fellow actor, actress mainly people who fascinate me. I enjoy reading scripts that grasp and withhold my attention…
We commence with talks, we share our thoughts and we create a new World which we customize to our needs. Later on the others join in: the directors, art directors, costume designers, we create this World together. So was the case with „Druga Szansa”. The first person with whom I put this World together was Joasia Pawluśkiewicz, however the whole story of Monika Borecka came to life courtesy of a group of scriptwriters headed by Katarzyna Śliwińska-Kłosowicz. As we speak we are working on the third series.
Where did the idea of „Druga Szansa” come from?
It’s a byproduct of my own life. I have been producing tv series for years now starting from studying journalism and political science at the Warsaw University, through my work for HBO, TVN, TVP, up until today. It happens sometimes that I and Małgosia Kożuchowska give some hints to the scriptwriters, to enrich the plot, but we do not write it.
Since it is a TV series about women , the female audience has fallen in love with Monika Borecka and her „non show business” problems. In the plot we try to help answer questions about how to get by in life, being an active woman and how to sustain the feeling of fulfillment as a mother. We merged these stories and brought them together into the World of television and added a little bit of show business to it. This puzzle and maze and gallery of characters from various Worlds came to a particular liking of the TVN audience. Simultaneously and this deserves special attention the image and character of Monika Borecka was also created through the exceptional costumes of Dorota Williams. I also have to mention the wonderful photography of Tomasz Dobrowolski and the cinema like quality of the production.
All of your TV series keep the viewers’ eyes glued to the screen – What gives you that positive drive?
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. But surely a lot of determination helps not only on my side, but determination coming from my loved ones.
I get a lot of positive energy out of joyful people. One should create a positive aura at all cost at all times! And this is somewhat part of what Monika Boreckas’ story is about. We can bump into such women as Monika in London or in New York – it’s a universal plot.
The TV series„Druga szansa” revolves around social aspects – transplantations, relationships with parents, addictions – inspiring the viewer to ponder over these topics.
Because that is what life is like and problems, which we resolve don’t only revolve around the color of one’s nails, or one’s participating in the casting process. Life challenges us and forces us to make critical decisions in front of the camera .
I believe, that people watching the series do appreciate this fact, that we raise questions about, what the life of a woman is like when that same life turns into workaholism, when we maltreat our own feeling of value performing our duties without much energy, out of pure boredom, solely for the feeling of security; when we could sacrifice something in the name of a decent cause, that sometimes we do things for people we don’t know , not solely for family. That is what life is about! Show business gives us an interesting background, but the characters together with Małgorzata Kożuchowska also starring Bartłomiej Świderski, Małgorzata Pieńkowska, Bartłomiej Topa are made of flesh and bones.
We deliver the tv series using a cinema like production technique using two cameras, therefore it requires going to extra lengths by the operating team headed by Tomasz Dobrowolski, the scenography department (Agata Stróżyńska , Magdalena Marszałek) the production department (Grzegorz Olkowski). We depict the life of Monika Borecka in Warsaw a city bustling and vibrant and full of life with a touch of show business using natural interiors. Actors become characters quicker when they are more acquainted with the role . The delivery of the second season of „Druga Szansa” is a huge production endeavor, which is managed by ATM Grupa and a very professional production management.
Was it difficult to convince TVN to air this kind of tv series?
I had to convince Mr. Edward Miszczak in my executive summary of the series. I wrote that I want to deliver a TV series for women who have already lived through a lot and that in the leading role I imagine Monika Borecka starring Małgorzata Kożuchowska.
Edward Miszczak has a lot of intuition and talent, he trusted me and Katarzyna Śliwińska-Kłosowicz allowing to create the series while experiencing smooth cooperation on both sides. Which doesn’t mean we were relaxed when awaiting the launch of the Autumn TV broadcast schedule. Together we lived through the fear asking ourselves will the audience be fond of this new topic… (laughter)
You also happen to have a good taste for selecting actors how is it done?
I observe actors in the theater later I invite them to work “on the big screen” if they can time wise. This is how I came to meet Maja Ostaszewska, Cezary Kosiński, Tomek Karolak, Katarzyna Herman or my latest discovery – Maciek Musiałowski and Monika Mariotti.
The theatre is the battle ground where actors gain their experience, which turns into rewards on “the big screen”.
I have my favorite casting directors: Małgorzata Adamska, Ewa Brodzka, Edwin Bażański, but sometimes exceptions are made and I step away from the standard path as was the case with Maciek Musiał, who was placed in „Rodzinka.pl” . I discovered him during one of the first casting processes that I organized for „Niania” (The Nanny) – he was 5 years old back then. Several years later during the selection process of „Rodzinka.pl”, Maciek appeared again and he gained my trust and won my heart. The character of Tom Boski a huge and serious role – I think he did fine with the role.
I admired Agnieszka Dygant in the tv series „Na dobre i na złe” (For Good and For Bad), when I was searching for the leading actress to star as „The Nanny” directed by Jerzy Bogajewicz. When Agnieszka came to the audition she wasn’t sure about the role and I had to convince her to take the part. I remember how I promised her that, „Niania” will be one of the best journeys in her life. I really believed in that, and life proved I wasn’t wrong (laughter).
I knew Joanna Brodzik from „Graczykowie” and I believed she should be the partner of Paweł Wilczak in „Kasia i Tomek”. Jurek Bogajewicz wonderfully led the two and he extracted their charisma and charm and the natural relationship between them.
It was quite a similar case with Natalia Rybicka starring in „Londyńczycy” (Londonners). The role of Asia Budzisz gave her the award of Best Supporting Role during the 2009 International TV Festival “RomaFictioFest” in Rome.
Thanks to Gabriela Muskała, Robert Więckiewicz, Lesław Żurek, Rafał Maćkowiak and Marcin Bosak the tv series „Londyńczycy” was awarded in the Best TV Series category.
But its worth producing feature films…
Yes! I haven’t forgotten about cinema. I have a script that I really like but it’s a long way ahead… I admire young talented directors such as Michał Gazda, Xawery Żuławski, Maria Sadowska, Kinga Dębska, Paweł Maślona. I am fascinated by Małgorzata Szumowska as a woman and a creator standing behind the camera. So brave, she makes no compromises, she’s artistic and delicate a beautiful woman too.
Sometimes I dream to enter the plot of a debut director, I always search for young new talented creators. Some of them had their debut under my supervision – I have a good memory of my work with Greg Zgliński – “Londyńczycy”, Patrick Yoką – „Hela w opałach”, „Niania” and „Rodzinka.pl”.
Cinema demands special attention, so I cannot combine work in these two Worlds at the same time , but both Worlds are equally interesting.
How are contemporary media changing?
We are certainly redirecting our attention towards the World Wide Web, which enables viewing high quality customized content on demand. The WWW gives us the choice and allows viewers to decide when they want to watch their favorite programs.
No one will enforce upon us when we have to watch anything, the term “broadcast schedule” will die. I am sure we will experience new forms of ads. I am observing an increasing interest in product placement in online TV series. Slowly the family is moving away from the couch and instead people watch alone using mobile screens sitting wherever they want.
On the parallel we can enjoy TV on demand using e.g. Player, later on we can chat about what we watched online. Multilayer television is cornering us and traditional TV is experiencing a dwindling audience.
You worked as supervising producer working for HBO on the set of„Szczęśliwego Nowego Jorku” and „Londyńczycy” for Polish Public Television. Have you yourself experienced emigration in any way ?
I have had the chance to observe the life of a real emigrant – Jerzy Bogajewicz, his life fascinated me. We worked together on the set of „Niania”, „Kasia and Tomek”, „Camera Cafe”.
Jerzy Bogajewicz emigrated to Los Angeles from Poland as an actor of the Grotowski Theatre and there he started his career which resulted in an Oscar nomination for Sally Kirkland starring in his movie „Anna”. He also won a movie contract in 1993 and produced „Trzy serca” with Kelly Lynch and the young William Baldwin.
He is a full blown filmmaker and emigrant. He had to move around a lot in between Poland and other countries this in some ways affected me. I have family living in Chicago, London, Stockholm, Geneva.
I started to want to deliver „Londyńczycy” for Polish Public Television. I delivered the project with Anna Kempińska a producer from Telemark together with Greg Zgliński and Wojtek Smarzowski. It was a great experience which gave us ten international awards and a massive number of fans.
The production process brought my memories back to the times when I was a student living and working in London. I used to do house cleaning for a crazy Indian family, I tried to live off being a presenter for a British , music tv station targeted at Eastern Europe. It was a fun experience, at the same time emigration seemed different back then.
Several years later, my life changed. We delivered two seasons and I believe that it’s still a valid topic for millions of polish families. I would love to go back to it again.
Going back to the TV series „Druga szansa” could you tell us a bit about what to expect in the upcoming episodes? Who will appear as guest stars?
In this season will be able to see Kasia Klich, Tomasz Ossoliński, part of the main cast are now Wieczorkowski, Mikołaj Roznerski, Cezary Żak , Rafał Rutkowski. We will witness a glamorous fashion show, the rest shall remain my secret… (laughter)
Thank you for the interview and we wish you good luck with the third season of „Druga Szansa”.
Official website: Druga szansa
Photo © Robert Palka