Producer Profile: Astonishingly Accomplished Producer Sylvain Goldberg
With a dazzling list of award-winning film and television credits in his repertoire, Belgian producer Sylvain Goldberg has established an astonishing reputation as a producer who goes above and beyond. A proven professional when it comes to tackling every aspect from fundraising to weaving together powerful and talented teams behind the scenes, it’s no wonder that Zag Entertainment has tapped Goldberg to come on board as a producer on their highly anticipated “Miraculous Ladybug” film.
An internationally acclaimed film producer, as well as a supremely skilled musical composer, Goldberg is probably best known for his work as the producer behind the action-packed crime film “What Happened to Monday” starring seven-time Oscar nominee Glenn Close (“Fatal Attraction”) and four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man”), and the 2019 film “Sympathy for the Devil,” which earned the Best Actor, Prix du public, Grand Prix and Prix du jury jeune Awards from the Festival International de Film Saint-Jean-de-Luz earlier this year.
While his stellar track record as a film producer precedes him, Goldberg’s unique breadth of talent as a composer has also placed him in the spotlight in a big way. In 2017 he was awarded the prestigious Tiantian Award from the Beijing International Film Festival for his work as the musical composer alongside Matthieu Gonet on the film “Fleur de Tonnerre” aka “The Poisoning Angel,” which he also produced. Undoubtedly, it is the unique melding of his talents that have set him apart in the film industry on a global scale.
“Since my early youth I have been very passionate about cinema, music, and animation. I had fun making small films when I was 13 years old with my best friend at that time… I also started composing music at the same time. I guess I needed to express my emotions,” recalls Goldberg, who grew up in Brussels, Belgium.
At 18 years old, while most of his peers were still figuring out their career path, Goldberg was busy opening Art Symbols, his first production company. That very same year he both produced and composed the music for his first play, “Gosses de merde,” an adaptation of the film “The Breakfast Club,” which was met by great success. And in 1988 he earned the Belgium Artistic Promotion Award of SABAM, which is awarded to most Original Composition by a Young International Composer. Hot off the success of the “Gosses de merde” Goldberg quickly moved into the world of film and television as a producer.
Goldeberg’s foray into film production began in 1994 when he founded At-Productions along with his partner Arnauld de Battice. A media production company known for its work producing popular TV shows such as “Largo Winch” and “Frank Riva,” and the feature films “Alive,” “Le Chignon d’Olga,” and “Sexes tres opposes,” At Productions was proved to be an incredibly successful start to Goldberg’s career.
With an overwhelming and expansive skill set, Goldberg is a remarkably accomplished producer who’s managed to accomplish more in the film industry in his life than most do over the course of several lifetimes. In fact, since beginning his career back home in Belgium more than two decades ago, he has come to produce more than 100 films and TV series.
Some of Goldberg’s early projects include the incredibly popular film “Ghislain Lambert’s Bicycle,” which took home the Best Screenplay Award from the San Sebastián International Film Festival, the film “Il giovane Casanova,” which earned the Silver FIPA Award from the Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming and the Best Music Award from the Luchon International Film Festival and “Dead Man Talking,” which was nominated for the prestigious César Award in the Best Foreign Film category.
In 2009 he and his production partner Serge de Poucques founded Nexus Factory, an all around audiovisual company that quickly became one of the leading production companies in all of Belgium. With Goldberg and his partner at the helm, Nexus Factory has been a pivotal player in the release of more than 80 feature film and television titles that have garnered international applause over the past decade. Some of the films that he’s produced through Nexus Factory include “Seven Sisters,” “Papa Ou Maman,” “Papa Ou Maman 2,” “Hollywoo,” “The Visitors: Bastille Day,” and “Cloclo,” to name a few
Encapsulating the power of a project’s producer, Goldberg says, “A producer is a catalyst for all energies.”
As the producer of a project there are many aspects one can take on. From the creative side to bringing a powerful team together to the ability to raise the necessary funds and ensure a profit, all being equally vital to the outcome, most producers take on only one aspect, but Goldberg has a talent for each one, something that makes him a rarity in the industry.
“A producer must above all, in my opinion, manage energies and talents to create projects that please as many people as possible. To ensure that an artist’s dreams bring emotion to the public in a cost-effective and economic equation,” explains Goldberg. “A good producer has to accumulate skills. He must be both a manager, salesman, have a creative capacity and a sense of marketing, while being able to anticipate the public’s feelings.”
Over the past two decades Goldberg has produced well over 100 feature films and television series. What’s even more astonishing than the sheer number of productions he’s produced is the fact that the majority of them have been met with incredible success at the box office, as well as at the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
Last year Goldberg produced, as well as composed the music for Franck Dubosc’s feature film “Tout le monde debout” aka “Rolling to You,” which grossed over $22 million. He also produced and composed the music for the recent films “Love in Vienna” starring CinEuphoria Award winner Barbara Cabrita, and Jacques Kluger’s “Play or Die” starring Charley Palmer Rothwell from the two-time Oscar Award winning film “Darkest Hour.”
“I always took refuge in the arts. I like telling stories, I like beautiful pictures and I love music above all,” explains Goldberg. “What I’m passionate about is creating relationships, building teams that will work together… wonderful artistic connections with others that can be established. Then you have to know how to sell and generate business in order to make the projects profitable.”
A rare breed of human, Goldberg is not only a supremely skilled producer when it comes to ensuring the productions he produces will make a desirable profit, but he’s a creative at heart, and a talented one at that. For him, the overall artistic vision of each project is at the forefront of his decision to come on board or not, and he prides himself in being in tune with what the public wants and the impact each story will have on audiences.
“I believe that we must be able to listen to the needs of the public. Rather, I should say the need of every public. Because obviously there are several types of audiences,” says Goldberg. “For my part, I have always tried to choose projects based on the impact on its target audience. I really like comedies and the world of animation, but I also like thrillers, action movies and films d’auteur. I suppose that I am eclectic.”
Perhaps it’s Goldberg’s eclectic nature and keen sense for powerful stories across genres that has led him to earn the level of international success that he’s garnered over the years with his work.
When asked what makes him unique — Goldberg replied with a smile, “I think to be instinctive and unifying. I am passionate and I sell what I believe in.”