CLUJ-NAPOCA: The Industry section at the 18th Transilvania IFF, running through 9 June 2019, showed off the dynamic and solution-driven initiatives of the Romanian film industry with the launches of new and innovative programmes. One of those is the Romanian Film + training programme, which announced the expansion of its activities to encompass debut films from Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia.
Alex Traila, artistic consultant of the Film + team, and Paul Negoescu, who founded the programme, spoke with FNE about its move onto the international stage.
Negoescu told FNE that he started thinking about a way to help young filmmakers make their way from film school into the profession while he was a film school lecturer and his students would come to him asking for advice or basics such as loaning them his own equipment. “After I helped with about 15 of these films, I started thinking about this.” One of the issues facing beginning filmmakers was the points system for receiving grants, based on the success of previous films. That in effect eliminated debut filmmakers from the grant process. The programme began with a modest grant of 5,000 EUR from an NGO, Graphis 122, which was used to support ten short films, with everything from script development, equipment and post-production. The team that created the programme called upon their network of production houses to provide additional support.
Now going into its fourth edition, Traila announced that the programme will begin supporting micro-budget debut feature films, and that the call for projects will be opened up to filmmakers from Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia. The first call for applications will open on 14 June.
“Our tagline is ‘Tailored support for low-budget filmmaking’,” Traila told FNE. The selection team has personal interviews with the applicants to determine what they need, and tailors their support according to those needs. The organizers looked for countries in the region where Romanian filmmaking could serve as a model, and where they could achieve a regional impact. “They struggle with the same problems as Romania,” Traila said. The project will bring filmmakers to Bucharest, bring equipment to their countries, and offer masterclasses in the three new territories.
The project received a three-year promise of support from Creative Europe MEDIA, with 48,000 EUR per year, 50,000 EUR coming from the Romanian National Cultural Fund Administration to be used over a two-year period. The Romanian Film Center is also providing financial support. Traila said the goal is to support a total of 15 microbudget films (with a cash cost of up to 30,000 EUR) from the four countries. The team will select six films in development, five in production and four works-in-progress. The focus will be on documentary and fiction films. Traila explained that animation films would be treated differently because of the specialised nature of animation films and the longer time frame for completing them. In addition to the financial support, filmmakers might receive in-kind services or significant discounts from production houses, with the possibility that some might also come on board as coproducers. The creative team are also facilitating advice, tutoring, mentoring and matchmaking for the debuting filmmakers.
The deadlines for applications are: 12 July for films in development; 1 August for films in production; 23 August for works in progress. The results will be announced in mid-September with a residency taking place in Bucharest 21-26 October. There will be three follow-up sessions held in the partner countries with Romanian experts travelling to the countries and conducting masterclasses. The first will be held in January 2020 in Chisinau, the second in February in Belgrade and the third will take place in Sofia in March. The working language for all activities is English. Click HERE for Film + video.