Director Bobby Păunescu and the production team are traveling to ten towns across Romania to promote his first feature film, Francesca.
The film created a controversy after its premiere in the Venice film festival's Orizzonti section, when Alessandra Mussolini (dauther of the Italian dictator) and the mayor of Verona, Flavio Tosi, threated to sue the director (objecting to some lines of dialogue) and demanded its removal from the festival programme. Prime minister Emil Boc met privately in Rome with Silvio Berlusconi about the uproar, but refused to discuss the outcome of the meeting. However, the controvery appears to have died away.
The film was bought by Italian distributor Fandango prior to the Venice opening. Agreements with distributors for eight territories are to be signed soon. The director hopes that by the end of the year the film will bought for 20 territories. Mandragora Movies is the sales agent.
In 2007, after the rape and murder of an Italian women by a Romanian citizen and the anti-Romanian rage that followed, Păunescu was inspired to make a film about Romanian imigrants.. He wrote Francesca, the story of a young Romanian in search of herself through a more confused Romanian society. She prepars to emigrate to Italy, but is torn by a longing to stay home as well. Romanian critics have welcomed the film.
The distributors are also distributing copies of the film in English and Italian, making it available for expat audiences in Romania as well.
Locally compared to Howard Hughes, Păunescu is a businessman who spent his childhood in Italy and "attended film school at Cristi Puiu's private home," as he says. In 2005 he co-financed The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu, by Cristi Puiu, and produced the film through Mandragora Movies (www.mandragora.ro), a company he established together with Puiu.
12 A, Docenţilor Street
Ap.3, Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania
Phone: +40 21 222.05.58
Fax: +40 21 222.05.57
Director: Bobby Păunescu
Script: Bobby Păunescu
DOP: Andrei Butică
Edit: Ioachim Stroe
Cast: Monica Bîrlădeanu