FOCUS ROMANIA. The official selection of Romanian productions at the Astra Film Festival 2021

    The 28th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival will take place in Sibiu between September 5th – September 12th, 2021

    Movies having their national and world premieres, themes that expose the intimacy of the couple, that show the absurdity drawn by the definition of new borders, which deal with the phenomenon of bears in the Carpathians, or which tell devastating and unknown stories of history. These are some of the main topics addressed by the Romanian films from the official selection of the 28th edition of the International Documentary Film Festival - Astra Film Festival. The most important documentary film festival in Eastern Europe will take place in Sibiu between September 5th -12th, in a hybrid format (outdoor film screenings, in cinemas and online).

    The special section dedicated to Romanian documentaries, through their subject or by author, includes 13 films selected in the Romania Open and DocSchool competitions. These are movies that challenge viewers to a deeper understanding of the sensitive realities of today's society and will be screened in the presence of their directors, with whom viewers will have the opportunity to discuss after screenings.

    Stela, in the name of the Father (d. Anca Hirte) | National premiere, The Romanian Competition. The documentary tells the true, devastating and completely out of the ordinary story of Stela, a former homeless woman, a former prisoner, and an HIV-positive lesbian.

    Shawkat Mystery (d. Ágnes Maksay) | The Romanian competition, tells the spectacular story of the influential director of Egyptian cinema, Seif Eddine Shawkat, who was born in Cluj in 1913 as Sefket Tibor, in a Hungarian-Turkish family, and who worked in the city’s film studio.

    Hymn from the hive (d. Jacopo Marzi) | World premiere, The Romanian Competition - a film with strong feelings, about the longing for the birthplace of the Saxons who emigrated to Germany and who had the painful feeling of losing their values. A film about the ways a small community tries to maintain and relive the Saxon identity in Germany, and about the solution found to alleviate longing: regular visits to their birthplace.

    #newTogether - thoughts about a new Together (d. Carmen Lidia Vidu) | World premiere, The Romanian Competition. Part of a large-scale program run by the Austrian Cultural Forum, the documentary features the testimonies of 60 artists from Austria and Romania, called to talk about their own artistic future, as well as about the ways their art and communities can transform during and after the end of the health crisis.

    Certainty of probabilities (d. Raluca Durbacă) | The Romanian Competition - a film composed entirely of archive images produced in 1968, one of the most optimistic and prosperous years in the history of socialist Romania. This essay examines the state's efforts to ensure social stability in a society that claims to have nullified all exploitative and alienated labor relations.

    Fragile (d. Ioana Mischie) | The Romanian Competition - plays, through the interpretation of the actress Ioana Flora, the puzzle-stories of 5 women in vulnerable situations, but who managed to face and overcome the situations they faced, addressing a wide range of topics, such as the Wonder Woman syndrome, autism, single parent family, physical violence, or human trafficking.

    Occasional Spies (d. Oana Giurgiu) | The Romania Competition - tells a lesser-known story of ordinary people, recruited by the British intelligence services and sent to the German-occupied Eastern Europe, to organize resistance and to find ways to escape for war prisoners.

    Us against us (d. Andra Tarara) | The Romania Competition - a personal statement of the two characters who interview each other, the father who faces a mental illness, respectively the daughter raised with a father often absent. While filming, the two reveal their injuries caused in the past and try to understand each other.

    Border of death (d. Cătălin Apostol) | Thematic program "Borders"- offers the audience the true story of people humiliated, beaten, tortured, in an era marked by extreme fear, lies and alienation. A shocking testimony about the times when Romania was a big prison.

    Bears (d. Alin Duruian) | The DocSchool Competition - is the story of the villagers of Rucăr, who constantly face the problem of bears coming from the forest to feed directly from people's households.

    Flight plan (d. Gabriel Durlan) The DocSchool Competition - presents the story of a 16-year-old who has two great passions: pigeons and music. The young man divides his time between preparing the pigeons for racing and rehearsals on the saxophone.

    Triplex Confinium (d. Maria Bălănean) | World premiere, The DocSchool Competition - recounts the experience of an elderly person from Beba Veche, a town on the border of three countries (Romania, Serbia, and Hungary), showing how absurd political borders can sometimes be and how much they can impact people's lives.

    Milkless (d. Lidia Ilie) | World premiere, The DocSchool Competition - follows the phenomenon of migration for a job through the eyes of an 83-year-old woman who has raised her grandson for two decades and who is still waiting for her daughter-in-law, the boy's mother, to return and to support her in her elder years.

    Advantageous access for students coming to AFF2021

    Consistent with the mission assumed from the very beginning, namely educating and promoting the documentary film among young audiences, the Astra Film Festival launches this year a program dedicated to facilitating the access to events from the festival for undergraduate, master’s and PhD students from Romania and abroad. Thus, until August 26th, they can purchase the #AFFSTUDENTPASS card, which gives them access to all film events, to all events dedicated to industry professionals and to concerts from #AFF2021 (subject to availability), but also accommodation for 7 nights during September 5th – 12th, in the centre of Sibiu, in the dormitories of the "Lucian Blaga" University of Sibiu. More details about the program: https://bit.ly/3ygg1aa.

    The 28th edition of The Astra Film Festival - The International Documentary Film Festival in Sibiu celebrates life in all its diversity through the over 200 cinematographic events. Launched in 1993 as an innovative project in Central and Eastern Europe, the Astra Film Festival stands out as an essential event in the European documentary film community, proving to be the most important festival of its kind in Romania, summing up a culture and a history of documentary cinema for decades.

    Organized by: Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation.

    With the support of: The Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Centre of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu, The Austrian Cultural Forum, The Union of Filmmakers.

    Co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the City Hall of Sibiu and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

    Astra Film Festival takes place under the High Patronage of the President of Romania.

    Media partners: TV5 Monde,Rock FM, Radio România Cultural, Hotnews, News.ro, Newsweek, Spotmedia, Avantaje, Liternet, Movienews, All About Romanian Cinema, Turnul sfatului, Sibiu 100%, Tribuna, Ora de Sibiu, Știri de Sibiu, Capital cultural, Zile și nopți, Revista Transilvania, Hermanstaedter Zeitung.

    Communication partner: PiArt Vision