From Journalist To Sales Agent, Festival Head To Producer: Mike Goodridge On His Rare Journey & Ramping Up His Good Chaos Slate — Cannes

EXCLUSIVE: Mike Goodridge has been on a rare journey. Not many in the industry can boast a CV that includes running a trade publication, an international sales company, a film festival and being the producer of multiple Cannes Film Festival movies.

Goodridge, the former editor of Screen International, CEO of Protagonist, and artistic director of the Macao Film Festival, is on the Croisette this year with Un Certain Regard thriller Santosh. In the UK-Germany-France co-production by filmmaker Sandhya Suri, a government scheme sees newly widowed Santosh (Shahana Goswami) inherit her husband’s job as a police constable in the rural badlands of Northern India. When a low-caste girl is found raped and murdered, she is pulled into the investigation under the wing of charismatic feminist inspector Sharma.

Filming begins this summer in Asia on Good Chaos/Nine Hours production for Netflix The Ballad Of A Small PlayerEd Berger’s next film starring Collin Farrell and Tilda Swinton. Goodridge is also producer on Baltasar Kormakur’s upcoming romance Touch for Focus and is gearing up on Son Of Saul director Laszlo Nemes’ next film Orphanwhich is due to shoot later this year.

As we revealed yesterday, Goodridge’s growing production banner Good Chaos has recently had investment from London-based audio platform Alexander. We spoke to the London-based producer about his journey, the company’s slate and what’s next.

DEADLINE: Things are ramping up at Good Chaos. How are you finding it and can you tell us about the Alexander deal?

GOODRIDGE: Things are going well. We’ve recently had investment from the audio company Alexander, run by a producer I knew called Cameron Lamb. They make podcasts and audio dramas narrated by big actors. It’s a strategic deal for us. Alexander will be able to tap into our IP for their platform and vice versa. It’s a minority equity investment, which allows us to maintain our independence and autonomy.

DEADLINE: The slate is really coming along. How did The Ballad Of A Small Player come together?

GOODRIDGE: I began developing my own projects after Protagonist, the first of which was The Ballad Of A Small Player due to my time in Macau where the story is set. Novelist Lawrence Osborne came to me and said I should option the book. After Macau ended, I had to then commit to producing full-time, which was a daunting decision but it has actually gone well so far. I’ve always been very international in my outlook and I want to keep doing that, making films about global stories, not only ones that are specific to the UK.

I met Ed Berger very early in the process. He had just done Patrick Melrosewhich was brilliant. Ed is a very sophisticated filmmaker and he sparked to the material and we sparked to each other. He would go on to win so many accolades for All Quiet On The Western Front and strike his deal with Netflix so I’m really grateful he stuck by our project. We were able to attach Colin Farrell even before Netflix came onto the project, and he is perfect for the material. We start filming this summer in Asia.

DEADLINE: You’ve worked on a number of Cannes movies. Last year you had your first here as a full producer (Club Zero). You’re now back with Santosh. What kind of voice does Sandhya Suri herald?

GOODRIDGE: Sandhya is an extraordinary person and the script was genuinely brilliant. The project had existed for 10 years but for whatever reason it couldn’t get made. Good Chaos isn’t afraid to get involved in multi-party international co-productions or shoot in far-flung locations. I’m very proud of the movie. She has done a fantastic job. It is partly a procedural crime-story but just as you think it may be going in one direction the movie takes you somewhere unexpected. It’s a surprising and riveting story.

DEADLINE: There was some expectation that we may see Touch at a festival?

GOODRIDGE: Ultimately, Focus and Universal wanted to harness the film’s emotional, crowd-pleasing aspect and release straight to cinemas. It’s something of a departure for Baltasar because it’s a beautiful love story set across 50 years between Iceland, the UK and Japan. It’s very sweeping. The project is personal to Baltasar for various reasons. He’s such an intelligent and versatile director.

To work with directors like Baltasar and Laszlo, who have great legacies, and with great first-time filmmakers like Sandhya, that’s what it’s about for us. We want to work with singular filmmakers. We’re also working on projects with Kornel Mundruczo, Duane Hopkins, Wash Westmoreland, Daniel Kojkatijlo, Anna Biller, Andreas Fontana, and Tony Fabian.

DEADLINE: Your journey is pretty unique: from Screen International Editor to head of the sales company Protagonist, to running the Macau Film Festival and now producing movies at Cannes…Which one gave you the most sleepless nights?

GOODRIDGE: I suppose it has always been leading in this direction, ultimately. They’re all difficult in their way. I think maybe producing is the most intense because it encompasses everything from the creative elements, finance, selling, marketing, positioning, press — it’s all-consuming and exhausting but very rewarding. Thankfully, I have a great team.

DEADLINE: Who is in that team?

GOODRIDGE: James Bowsher is our Head of Production. Yoav Rosenberg, who used to be at Head Gear, is Managing Director. Catriona Renton is our Head of Development. And then we have Sydney Oberfeld, Production Coordinator, and Ella Ritchie, Development & Business Affairs Assistant. We’re six people at the moment. Sam Lavender is consulting with us on development, which is great, and we have a new office in Soho. We’re also part of the production and development label The Creatives, which is a very rich alliance or producers.

Producer collaboration is something I really enjoy. Philippe Bober [of Paris-based Coproduction Office] and I have an informal UK partnership, for example, and I’m working with producers including Ceci Dempsey, Amy Jackson, Gaby Tana, and Killer Films.

DEADLINE: What’s your take on the UK market right now? It’s a challenging time for many…

GOODRIDGE: Just as the good news came down about the tax credit extension, we’re hearing about budget cuts at the big organizations. It’s difficult. I do think the UK is aways in a privileged position due to the language. The Anglo industry is still a world leader in entertainment. That said, I’ve steered my company to Europe and the East, rather than the US and the west. I have great relationships in the US, but there are already lot of UK companies that make films specifically for the US market.

DEADLINE: What’s coming up?

GOODRIDGE: I’m the UK co-producer on Ruben Ostlund’s film The Entertainment System Is Downwhich is going to be a knockout [Goodridge was UK co-producer on the same director’s Palme d’Or winner Triangle Of Sadness].

We are co-producer on Sukwan Island by Vladimir de Fontanay starring Swann Arlaud and Woody Norman. And we’re in post-production on Shih-Ching Tsou’s Left Handed Girlwhich she co-wrote with Sean Baker. Good Chaos is producing that with Sean and Shih-Ching. Sean is editing.

We’re also developing TV, which is important for us — we are working on TV projects with the likes of Oli Lansley and Tony Marchant.

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