Annick Jaëgy on making movies that touch hearts and awaken minds

December 8, 2017

There is an unwritten code amongst film producers that dictates the one rule for their profession: when it comes to film production, there are no rules. This is not to suggest that they do not need to learn a number of different skills and techniques; however, filmmaking requires a level of creativity that transcends all limitations. For highly esteemed producer, Annick Jaëgy, this makes for an exciting way to spend her working days. According to Annick, there are two essential prerequisites to becoming a film producer: a great love for film, and an even greater love for the arts. With a burning passion for both, Annick is at the top of her game. When she is producing, every fiber of her being comes to life and it brings her a happiness like no other.

 

“I am not a producer to receive accolades or awards. It is always nice to be recognized for your work, but this not the ultimate goal. My goal is to make movies that contribute to our society, that can leave a print. I want to make movies that touch hearts, can be awakening, change perceptions, and open minds,” notes Annick Jaëgy.

 

Annick recalls her first cinematic experience as involving the cult classic, E.T. At the time, she was just a little girl and she vividly remembers the traumatizing feeling of watching E.T. leaving planet Earth to go home. Between sobs, she was taken aback by the connection she had established with the characters and knew that working in film was where she belonged. It took her years of navigating the entertainment industry, however, to realize that she feels truly alive when she is producing. In fact, Annick pinpoints her time working as a marketing coordinator at Twentieth Century Fox in Germany as being the moment she realized that she was passionate about making a film.

 

“A producer's role is arguably the perfect job for the all-rounder with an interest in the big screen,” says Annick Jaëgy.

 

At the outset of her career as a film producer, Annick committed to her interest in sharing meaningful stories with the world. With that in mind, she has put her heart and soul into productions such as Mackenzie and Gubagude Ko. Mackenzie, for instance, follows the struggles of a teenage girl who is forced to come to terms with the emotional distress of moving to college whilst leaving behind her severely anorexic sister. Gubagude Ko, on the other hand, follows the internal battle within a man who witnesses a young woman’s rape and refrains to intervene. Both films deal with strong themes of guilt, pain, loss, and suffering. Despite the fact that the content is heavy, Annick finds herself drawn to scripts that tap into the complex nature of human connection and she develops a sense of duty to the characters experiencing these trials and tribulations. For Mackenzie, in particular, Annick was humbled to witness months of her hard work and dedication unfold before her watching the final footage of the film. It is moments like this, for Annick, that remind her why she chose her career path and why giving up would be a disservice not only to her audiences, but to young, emotional childhood self, watching E.T. for the first time.

 

“The road is bumpy and sinuous. It is hard, don’t get me wrong. But there is nothing more magical than seeing months, even years, of hard work revealing itself before your eyes while you’re on set,” Annick Jaëgy states.

 

Reid Cox, who played the lead role of Mackenzie in Mackenzie, shared in Annick’s sentiments toward the film. Having drawn personal connections to the script, Cox was equally as determined as Annick to honor the life circumstances of her character and of so many other young women and men going through something similar.

 

“I am so grateful for the opportunity that Annick gave me to work on such an incredible project with such amazing people. I could not thank her enough for creating a safe environment for me to act out such an extremely vulnerable role. Annick is such a bright light and I would be honored to work with her again in the future,” tells Reid Cox, actress.

 

As a producer, being able to work with like-minded creatives and highly motivated individuals allows Jaëgy to thrive in such a cutthroat industry. She is energized by any opportunity she gets to work with directors, writers, actors, and more, who share in her passion for advancing the current state of film whilst honoring the outstanding work that has made it what it is today. She finds great inspiration from fellow artists within the film production community, such as Academy Award winner Grant Hill of The Thin Red Line and The Matrix Reloaded, with whom she assisted while promoting The Thin Red Line during Berlinale 1999. Another of her major inspirations is Laura Ziskin who she also assisted in Berlin while working at Twentieth Century Fox. She can be credited with producing Hollywood fan favorites like Pretty Woman, As Good as It Gets, Spider Man, and many more. For Annick, Laura Ziskin is so much more important than the success of her films. She is a representation for individuals of all ages that women are powerful forces to be reckoned with and that they are capable of exceeding the oppressive circumstances that history has dealt them. Annick takes great pride in knowing that she, too, has joined in that movement and that she has a platform to change the minds of individuals from all different walks of life in all different areas of the world.

 

Annick Jaëgy’s talents as a producer have even earned her work in the music video industry. When Annick was approached about working on a music video for artist, Dhanya’s, powerful song, "Fire", she was eager to match a visual representation to its moving lyrics. She endeavored to pair Dhanya’s beautiful, soulful voice with landscapes and environments that complimented them. In collaboration with the video’s director, Rasa Partin, Annick selected three settings to shoot in. For the first, she used macro shots, or extreme close-ups, to capture grains of sand, water droplets, sun flares, and more in a desert setting. In the second, she manipulated drone and Steadicam movements to show the movement within spiders, dirt, flowers, and other earthy elements in a forest-like setting. Finally, she tied all of these scenes together in the studio, using lighting techniques to showcase Dhanya’s intricate costumes and intense makeup. She used multiple single fluorescent, flickering bulbs, as well as black-light to contrast her makeup. When the final product came together in post-production, Dhanya was blown away by the artistic nature of the video and the way it would support her song. It may have been difficult to create, but Annick’s keen filmmaking eye and dedication carried her through from start to finish and she was more than pleased with the outcome.

 

She has also worked on several award-winning films as a line producer, including the College of Television Awards winner, Dollar King, which received two College Emmys for Best Comedy and Best Writing Comedy, Academy Award-Qualifying Bahamas International Film Festival comedy Leo Johnson, and Oscar-Qualifying LA Shorts Fest drama Aloud.

 

Currently, Annick is in post-production on two films, Sauna, and Best Man. Sauna was an amazing experience for the producer, as the film was shot on 35 mm film and underwater with children. She also looks forward to her upcoming projects such as Solidarity, a feature film showcasing the struggles that immigrants face in the United States, as well as a 7-part anthology directed by women based on a collection of short stories, and 8.5 Seconds based on the conspiracy assassination of Benigno Aquino Jr., the husband of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino in 1983.

 

“As a former reporter, I have travelled, worked and lived in 67 countries in the world, which enabled me to gather stories from different countries, cultures, etc,” she said.

 

Through projects like these, she aims to continue sharing her greatness with the world for several years to come and they remind her every day why being a film producer is what she is destined to do.

 

“There are days where making films feels like the most frustrating, horrible process and I wonder why I even do it. But the sparkle and the kick I get when I am on set, seeing the story unfold is unlike anything else I have ever experience. Then, showing my work to my peers on a big screen makes me believe I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. That’s my job.” she concludes.

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