Romania awards 4.49 million euros for 38 film projects

By Anca Paduraru
    Romania's National Council for Cinema announced on Monday public funding for film projects totaling 15 million new lei (€4.49 million) spread rather thinly among a total of 38 winners chosen from 209 applications.

    The CNC holds two sessions a year, in March and September, to select projects for public funding. However, this year's March session was delayed until August because of changes to the selection criteria that were sought by young directors who challenged what they described as the CNC’s bias toward the old guard of moviemakers.

    In the 2006 competition, only one film was finished: Cristian Mungiu's 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, which won this year's Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and stirred worldwide debate about the abortion issue as well as an official protest from the Vatican. “We hope the other movies, which are now in various stages of production, will score as high as Mungiu's did,” said Eugen Serbanescu, executive director of CNC (www.cncinema.ro).

    One of the jury members, Dan Mihailescu, had a different view of this year’s projects, which were judged in August and made public at a news conference on Monday.

    “Mungiu's win at Cannes took a toll of our patience, since the great majority of the proposals were dealing now with grizzly subjects, unearthing the scum and the scour of society,” Mihailescu said. “That's good when taken in small doses, and totally unappealing otherwise,”

    Many of the titles awarded partial funding deal with the communist period, to the chagrin of actor Vlad Radescu, also a member of the jury, who said he pleaded unsuccessfully for funding a few comedies.

    But jury member and film critic Magda Mihailescu [not related to Dan] said the large choice of movies about the recent communist part is consistent with the need to redefine Romania as a nation, a task being undertaken mainly by younger directors. “The strongest, the most daring proposals were filed by those competing in the ‘new talents in feature films’ section,” she said.

    The documentary section saw two directors living outside Romania getting the first and second position, which is “a sign that project proposals are not something local authors know how to master,” said Adina Bradeanu, member of the documentary and animation jury.

    The jury members were nominated by associations of professionals in the cinema industry, and the November jury will differ from the one that convened in August