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MITO TREFALT, presenter, producer for Slovenia and international project leader

12 nov 2006 • Catégorie(s) : Interviews

In 1996 in Torino with the Slovenian producer Dajana Makovec.
In 1997 in Budapest with Neli Kapous, representant of RTVSLO.

The youngest among us should have read his name on the ending credits between 1994 and 1997. Head of entertainment for RTV SLO, he prepared the starting of his country in JSF before becoming project leader, a hard job where he had to follow the mutation of JSF, now recorded on a single place. The oldest should have seen him in front of the camera of the 1980 Yugoslavian heat in Portorož.

Lire l’interview en français

Sébastien Dias ( When you became project leader, what was your job exactly about?
Mito Trefalt:
I became project leader by a decision of the organizing committee of JSF. JSF was in crisis. The costs for the series were very high and some TV networks were beginning to think of withdrawal. The goal was find how to save the games, make them more interesting but decrease the production budget at the same time. Not a very easy task.

We achieved the financial goal organizing all the recordings (excepting the final show in 1997) in a single place. Compared with the previous practice (each show in a different country), the savings were substantial.

To make the show more interesting, we form a group of the games creators. There were several meetings of the group, where the creators discussed the proposals, making them better, simpler, understandable… We also had meetings after every production rehearsal, changing details, rules, duration of the games, commenting the work of the director…

On the whole, the responsibility for the success of the show was spread among all the participants and it was no more a matter of a single EBU member. Project leader of JSF was not a pleasant job. Many times it was very difficult to find compromises because of strong individual interest. Could you compare the Slovenian version of JSF with the other ones?
M. T.:
The ratings of Slovenian version of JSF, in the prime time slot, were the best of all. In 1994, our ratings were something you can only dream today. The time of commercial TV didn’t come as a serious threat yet. Even in the years 96 and 97 the ratings were between 30 and 40 % and the shares were of course even higher. Your happiest memory is with no doubt the only show recorded in Slovenia in 1994, isn’t it?
M. T.:
In 1994, Slovenian television produced such an international show for the first time. In that time I was as inexperienced as my team. We compensate the lack of experience with great enthusiasm.

If the games were interesting with details which could make people laugh and if we accelerated the recording, we could win. And so it happened. We paid attention to all above mentioned details and we created games based on our history, legends, agriculture, apiculture, architecture, vine trade, horse breeding etc.

We produced a show that made us happy and the co-producers satisfied. How many people worked in your team and how long did it take to complete the project?
M. T.:
I think about 40 people. We were engaged with the project for a period of six months. This doesn’t mean that 40 people didn’t do anything besides JSF. JSF was a supplement to the normal working schedule. You worked with your daughter, Špela. Is it easier or more difficult?
M. T.:
I didn’t have any problems with her. This show is I think the unique case in the story of JSF that a song was written specially for…
M. T.:
I can’t guarantee this uniqueness, but for sure it was something which surprised the co-producers. The song became a hit during the production and it was composed by Slavko Avsenik jr., the son of our most famous composer Slavko Avsenik sr. If the 1996, 97 and 99 would have been « traveling » seasons (as 1994), do you think Slovenia would have hosted at least one show?
M. T.:
I don’t think so. The scenographer and the scenery were the most expensive items of every budget. The co-producers saved JSF changing it in a “not travelling” production. What is your worst memory?
M. T.:
In spite of all meetings and discussions preparing the games and trying to make them simple and clear in competition so that the viewers could follow them, I didn’t succeed to convince one director that it is more important to know who the winner is than to catch the sunshine in the hair of a female competitor. According to you, what is the most beautiful venue?
M. T.:
To be objective, the 1996 set in Torino. And if I can be subjective, Ljubljana 1994! More than 15 years after, what are you most proud of?
M. T.:
Maybe the word proud is not the correct one to express my attitude to the things I judge as very important. The fact is, that in the year 1996 JSF were in a very critical situation. One of the oldest EBU projects was in danger. The number of participating countries was not sufficient, the costs were too high. You already know how we reduced the costs, but we also increased the number of participants (Holland, France) with the very important maybe even decisive role played by Marie Carrard from EBU. Do you have any regrets?
M. T.:
Many times I hear people saying that they do not regret anything and that they would do in the same situation the same thing. I am not one of them. I have more or less choleric temper and I am used to say some things too openly. What memories do you have of the teams of the other TV broadcasters?
M. T.:
My best memories are connected with the producers of Wales and Holland. They were good workers, with a modern attitude to the show-directing, creative and helping to make games more interesting, open minded and at the end of the work good friends too. Why did Slovenia be off of JSF in 1995 and then in 1998?
M. T.:
We started in 1994 to see if we were able to take part as co-producers. We needed one year to be prepared and then we took part in the following years 1996 and 97. After the 1997 series, I retired and I don’t know the reason why RTVSLO decided to withdraw. In 1999, JSF ended. Do you agree this decision?
No. Do you think it is because of the lack of money ?
I don’t know, but it could be. Was JSF very expensive for RTV SLO?
Slovenia has only 2 million inhabitants. In spite of smaller audience TVS could afford this project. It was expensive, but it was always able to satisfy the numerous viewers. Do you think JSF could come back in Slovenia?
JSF can come back in every country, where it took place already, but with a lot of changes. Is there such a show today in Slovenia?
No. What did you do after working on JSF?
TV Slovenia produced about ten years ago a series about unemployed people called “Office entrance”, based on my scenarios and a quiz “Ljubljana, the capital of EU” during Slovenian EU presidency. For the last six years, I’m leading the association “Dobrodelno drustvo France Trefalt” which is organizing charity events. I’m preparing scenarios for the events and I’m hosting them.

Express biography :

  • 1939: Born in Kranj
  • 1963-1966: Member of the National Theatre in Ljubljana.
  • 1966: Diploma at the Academy for theatre, film, radio and TV in Ljubljana
  • 1959: first radio coverage.
  • 1960: first appearance on TV.
  • 1966-1980: Sport TV commentator.
  • 1980-1995: TV Host and writer.
  • 1990-1994: Head of entertainment department of Slovenian TV.
  • 1995-1997: Head of entertainment department of EBU
  • 1996-1997: Project leader of JSF, leading the production in Torino, Budapest and Lisbon.
Visit the official website of Mito Trefalt
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  1. J’ai regardé une fois et c’est pas trop trop mal dans l’ensemble… Mis à part un arbitre qui s’égosille un peu trop et qui doit en faire des caisses pour assurer le show ainsi qu’une présentatrice au sourire ultra-brite plus attirée par son reflet dans la caméra au lieu d’être proche et réactive avec son collègue animateur mais aussi les candidats…

    Le hasard fait généralement bien les choses…. mais bon, là, comme par hasard, c’est la dernière et sixième émission éliminatoire qui départage les deux équipes prétendantes à la finale… la joie du montage…

    Il aurait été aussi de bon ton de faire jouer les quatre équipes à chaque fois au lieu de les opposer deux à deux… On aurait additionné les scores obtenus à chaque émission et c’est l’équipe avec le plus gros total à la fin des six émissions qui serait allée en finale

    Il est surtout URGENT de revoir les règles du dernier jeu qui est complètement aberrant… Comment se permettre de traduire un écart de points en une distance, ce qui n’est pas du tout significatif et qui est difficilement convertible !!

    Une équipe peut très bien gagner jeu sur jeu et tout perdre au dernier moment, tout ça dans le but de ménager un « pseudo-suspense » à deux balles alors à quoi bon alors se fatiguer durant les épreuves si c’est pour tout perdre à la fin ?? Suffit juste de mettre des candidats costauds au dernier jeu et c’est gagné…

    Les questions de culture générale étaient plus adaptées comme dernier jeu et avaient selon moi plus de sens… Disons que les candidats faisaient fonctionner leurs jambes mais aussi leur tête !!

    Néanmoins, cette session de Jeux à la neige est moins ennuyeuse et surtout moins cheap que les Intervilles des années 2000 sur France Télévisions… Gardons espoir que Mistral Productions continue sur cette lancée à remonter la pente…

    Ce n’est pas une questions d’argent mais juste d’avoir l’envie et la volonté !!!