Partner and executive producer Arleta Robinson tells LBB’s Adam Bennett how the New York gangster provided inspiration to start her company, and why #everydetailmatters
If you’re looking to shoot in Poland, Lucky Luciano has you covered. The award-winning boutique production service has been filming for the last half a decade, and is motivated by a near-obsessive attention to detail.
It’s that same obsession that drives Arleta Robinson, one of the company’s partners and executive producers. Arleta has been in Poland for her entire professional life, and brings a wealth of industry experience to Lucky Luciano’s work.
To find out more about how the company operates, as well as her own journey through the industry, LBB’s Adam Bennett caught up with Arleta.
LBB> Growing up, was it always your intention to work in film?
Arleta> My father was an actor and entertainer, so from a young age I too was practicing how to perform on stage – everything from song festivals and recitation competitions to emceeing and acting troupes. That was where the idea of working in front of the camera came from. However, I pretty soon realised that working in front of the camera was not for me. But television and film remained a magical world in which I definitely wanted to operate. So I took the long road from PA to producer. And the culmination of that career path is my, or rather our, production studio - Lucky Luciano Pictures.
LBB> Can you tell us how you came to set up Lucky Luciano? What motivated you?
Arleta> The motivation was... an eye for detail. There are plenty of production houses, but the quality of their services vary considerably. My partner - Michal Sitek, with whom I founded Lucky Luciano Pictures, and I wanted our projects to consistently be the best, the most unique and polished. This requires a great deal of awareness and attention to detail, because it’s the details that go to make up each film project. Contrary to what one might think, this is not a popular approach in our profession. You can have years of experience, be the largest production house and work with the largest of budgets and yet still be guided by the principle of "just as long as we’re earning" and "we can get away with this". But that’s not our style. In the end, we came up with the idea that if we wanted to produce with this particular degree of attention to detail, we would need to do so under our own banner. And so our motto in both life and work – #everydetailmatters became our watchword in the founding of what has become a low-key but distinctive company. That’s how Lucky Luciano Pictures was born.
LBB> And why did you settle on that particular name - do you take inspiration from the gangster?
Arleta> In a sense, yes. The New York gangster Lucky Luciano was the inspiration for 'The Godfather', one of our favourite movies. The production market is a difficult one, so in order to get a foothold and succeed you need a good dose of luck. Apparently Luciano had that – he dodged the deadly bullets of his enemies many times. We hoped that along with the name a bit of his good luck would rub off on us. We are developing and constantly growing. So, I think this spell of good luck has worked!
Besides, we wanted a name that suggested a bold outlook. The production service market is quite saturated. You have to be a bit pushy here, and you can't do that without a courageous spirit.
LBB> You guys are based in Poland, but you work with a large number of multinational clients. Do you try and keep your work distinctively Polish?
Arleta> If you’re asking whether we work only for Polish clients, the answer is no. The Polish market is quite small, and the nature and potential of the scripts are full of what I would smilingly call 'Polishness'. That’s why it was obvious to us, and such was our assumption from the very start, that we wanted and needed to be more service-oriented, open to clients from abroad.
Our work must above all be good. The best. And in this sense the origin of the script and client is irrelevant. We set the bar high for ourselves and that’s the most important thing for us and our clients, both Polish and foreign.
LBB> Why any producer from abroad would want to come to Lucky Luciano Pictures to produce their film in Poland?
Arleta> Because we're the best production service here. Because we are a boutique production house in the sense that we focus on quality not quantity. Because we handle projects from the moment of bidding to the wrap party by the same producer, or rather two producers - because two heads are better than one. Because our producers are only involved in one job at a time.
Also our service in Poland will prove more and more interesting for our foreign business partners for several specific reasons. Declining production budgets are forcing producers from Western Europe or North America to seek cost-effective solutions but they still need to deliver high quality. Here we see opportunities for ourselves. Clients coming to Lucky Luciano Pictures will find attractive cost estimates and the best professional service, along with the intrinsic #everydetailmatters ethos.
Poland is also simply very attractive in terms of its landscapes, architecture and nature. Few people realise that Poland on the one hand has mountains, sea, lakes, forests, meadows and even a desert, but also modern cities, new highways, skyscrapers and nightlife. And all this within a few hundred kilometres. We have even produced a Lucky Luciano mood-book in which on almost 300 pages we present Poland’s potential and possibilities. This is to be an inspiration for foreign producers, and an invitation to come to Poland and Lucky Luciano.
LBB> And what makes you guys distinctive in the Polish market?
Arleta> #everydetailmatters The entire answer to that question can be found in that one catchphrase.
According to one of our clients, attention to detail is nothing less than the ability to ask the right questions.
We are able to ask ourselves the right questions at the right time and place, but we also think that it’s all about the right attitude. We don’t accept "almost good". We fight for #everydetailmatters!
LBB> What does the future hold for Lucky Luciano – where will you be in five years?
Arleta> We will be the best service production house in Poland for foreign producers.
We have been working in this field for over 20 years. During that time we‘ve gained experience in the entire production world. We‘ve had the opportunity to work with the best production service companies around the globe and with top directors. That's where we get our inspiration. That’s where our standards come from. We’re also very particular in selecting our team. Crucial for us is the ability to provide a boutique-quality service, and not merely produce. Anyone can learn to produce, whereas best production service is of a specific nature. As my partner says, you have to have it in your blood. And that’s just how it is and will be at Lucky Luciano.
LBB> Who are your creative heroes, and why?
Arleta> We have recently worked several times with the director Brendan Heath for the L'Oreal and Nivea brands. The way Brendan gets involved in projects, the dedication with which he approaches his work from the very beginning, and his attention to detail have been and are for me an inspiration and a confirmation that the path followed by Lucky Luciano is the only right road to take. The beauty that Brendan has managed to elicit from his heroines, the lighting, costumes, indeed the entire crew and even the client, I found absolutely captivating. It seems that Brendan has also found soul mates in us, he considers Lucky Luciano one of the top-notch production companies in the world. And coming from a top beauty director, that’s no small compliment!
LBB> And finally, what do you do in your spare time? Any current obsessions?
Arleta> Yoga! That’s my obsession for today. I feel that standing on the yoga mat every day brings harmony to me, my family and our work at Lucky Luciano. It's wonderful that the balance I find in yoga, like a wave, spreads through everything I touch. I feel happy and… lucky.