FNE at TIFF: Morgen Wins Romanian Competition

By Iulia Blaga

    CLUJ: The 10th edition of Transilvania International Film Festival (www.tiff.ro) awarded its main prize, the Transylvania Trophy, and a best script prize to the Argentinian-Spanish film No Return/Sin retorno, by Miguel Cohan at the festival's Closing Gala at the National Theatre in Cluj-Napoca on 11 June 2011. In the Romanian Days section, featuring 12 features and 15 short films (fiction and documentary), Marian Crisan's Morgen was awarded Best Feature, Bogdan Mirică's Bora Bora won Best Short and Bogdan George Apetri's Periferic took Best Debut.

    In the main competition, A Useful Life/La vida útil by Federico Veiroj (Uruguay) received the Special Jury Prize, while the Romanian director Constantin Popescu (Principles of Life/Principii de viaţă) and Iceland's Runar Runarsson (Volcano/Eldfjall) were awarded ex-aequo Best Director. The French actress Elodie Bouchez (The Imperialists Are Still Alive!) was awarded the best actor/actress, and Linda Wassberg won Best Cinematography for the Swedish film She-Monkeys/Apflickorna. The Serbian feature Tilva Roš, by Nikola Ležaić, received the FIPRESCI Prize. The Audience Award went to Oxygen by Hans Van Nuffel (Belgium).

    The winners of the national script contest organized by HBO Romania (www.hbo.ro) and TIFF were also announced during the gala.

    The festival celebrated not only ten years of existence, but also a decade of the New Romanian Cinema, opened by Cristi Puiu's Stuff and Dough/Marfa şi banii in 2001. To mark the occasion, the festival bestowed new honorary prizes. Jacqueline Bisset and Michael York each received a prize To An Outstanding Personality of World and of European Cinema, but Michael York was unable to come to Romania due to sudden health problems.

    The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Excellency Prize to Lucian Pintilie, presented by Corneliu Porumboiu. Pintilie, born in 1933, considered the father of the Romanian new wave, is viewed as the most important of all Romanian filmmakers. Generously, in accepting the award he mused whether the prize was for him or for the much younger Porumboiu.

    Another special moment was when the President of TIFF, Tudor Giurgiu, invited three guests on stage: the delegate of Berlin Film Festival for Central and Eastern Europe Nikolaj Nikitin, the director of Warsaw Film Festival Stefan Laudyn, and the director of Sofia Film Festival Stefan Kitanov, in order to reenact the evening when the idea of an international film festival came to life in a restaurant in Varna. Czech Febio Fest programmer Stefan Uhrik, the fifth man at that meeting, was reached by phone.

    The Romanian-born French producer and distributor Marin Karmitz received the Prize of the 10th edition of the festival, together with the much younger DOP Oleg Mutu. The Romanian actor George Motoi received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Italian actor, producer and director Michele Placido was also a special guest of the festival.

    The 2011 edition of TIFF was substantially expanded, with more films, more locations and more guests. The main venue of the festival was renovated, while the main square of the city became a venue for screenings, meetings with the guests, masterclasses and books launchings (among them two books of Alex Leo Şerban, the popular Romanian critic, who prematurely passed away two months ago.).

    During the festival, five of the films from the competition were available on www.mubi.com. The festival also premiered a special competition for filmmakers from Cluj, and a new section including theater performances. From 15-19 June, the festival moves to another leading city in Transylvania, Sibiu. It is likely that beginning in 2012, the Romanian Film Promotion (www.romfilmpromotion.ro), which organizes TIFF, will launch a second film festival in Sibiu.