The 25th Sibiu International Festival Astra Film, which will take place from 15 to 21 October, has announced relevant film industry personalities as the 13 members of the Jury for its 5 competition sections: International, Central and Eastern Europe, Romania, Shorts, and Docschool. The jurors will choose the winners out of 55 titles in competition from 30 countries, selected from over 3,000 submissions from 93 countries. Prizes amount to a total cash value of over 25,000 euros.
The legendary Ally Derks, founder and director for 30 years of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), the first international festival in its genre, is for the first time in the Astra Film Festival Jury. She is joined by Haruka Hama, Coordinator of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival (YIDFF), Japan; Michael Stewart, Director of the London Open City Documentary Film Festival, Professor at the University College London, UK; Cristi Puiu, Film Director, Romania; Marin Martschewski, Director, former Professor at Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin and at Béla Tarr Film School in Sarajevo; Alexandru Solomon, Film Director, Founding Director of One World Romania Film Festival (OWR); Dina Iordanova, Film Professor at the University of St. Andrews, UK; Cristian Tudor Popescu, Film Critic, Cinematography and Media PhD, Romania; Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of the International Documentary Association (IDA), USA; Adina Popescu, Writer, Documentary filmmaker, Romania; Ruben Vermeersch, Film Director, Belgium; Liviu Tipurita, Film Director, United Kingdom; and Vintilă Mihăilescu, Writer, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Romania.
Directors, producers, film critics, festival directors, professors, writers - the 13 elected members of the Jury represent all facets of the non-fiction film industry. Each brings a unique, fresh perspective and criteria to the final selections, as well as their dedication and experience in the industry. The winners of the competition sections will be announced on Saturday, October 20th.
"As a member of the jury, what you notice first is whether the movie gets your attention. You have to be patient, because sometime it can take a while until the story unfolds and reveals its true colours. Then, you notice the truth seized by the film, of course only if it indeed captured the truth. Any documentary film begins in the director's mind, with one of his obsessions. With something people cannot let go of. There is a certain thing, a story, a scene that still comes to your mind, and the movie is born to remove that obsession. I mean, it does not come from the outside, it comes from within." Michael Stewart, anthropologist, professor at City University of London, writer and documentary filmmaker, who has created the London Open City Documentary Film Festival inspired by Astra Film Festival Sibiu.
“We are honoured to announce the team of professionals who will judge the films at the Festival. For a quarter of a century, Astra Film Festival has been a landmark of the European cinema, a promoter of non-fiction productions and a constant supporter of the Romanian cinematography. The fact that more and more films are submitted each year shows that both the selective vision for the competition sections, and the Jury's effort towards objectivity throughout the editions, have created together an undeniable value. The Astra Film Festival Awards are considered a true international recognition for the genre authors," said Dumitru Budrala, founding director of the Astra Film Festival.
Sibiu International Festival Astra Film was launched in 1993 as a groundbreaking project in the Central and Eastern Europe. Its contribution to establishing a framework for the development of documentary cinema in the whole region, and in Romania in particular, has been consequential. It has constantly attracted industry’s attention to the art of non-fiction film by supporting the development of the genre and opening new horizons for the documentarists. Astra Film Festival 2018 is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the County Council of Sibiu, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, and the Romanian Film Center. The event is cofinanced by Sibiu City Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through its Creative Media Program.
Astra Film Festival is held under the High Patronage of the President of Romania.