FNE 2010 Year in Review: Romania Secures its Place on the Cinema Map

By Iulia Blaga

    Romanian filmmakers were the stars of 2010, while TV saw growth and administrative changes, all of which set the stage for future success.


    Romania saw new filmmakers emerge on the international scene, while acclaimed directors of the New Cinema continued to be the highlight leading festivals in 2010. The impressive list of the awarded films includes: If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle, the feature debut of Florin Şerban; Morgen, the first feature of Marian Crişan; Periferic, the first feature of Bogdan George Apetri; the first feature of Constantin Popescu The Portrait Of The Fighter As A Young Man; Cristi Puiu's Aurora; and Radu Muntean's Tuesday, After Christmas; along with documentaries including Radu Ujică's The Autobiography Of Nicolae Ceauşescu; and Alexander Nanau's The World According to Ion B.

    There were 17 local premieres in the Romanian cinemas in 2010, including some older films. The local box-office success by far was If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle with 52,600 admissions. Şerban's film reached the 41st position at the national box office. Good results were also reached by the comedies Poker by Sergiu Nicolaescu (24, 200 tickets) and Wedding in Bassarabia by Nap Toader (11,400). The Autobiography Of Nicolae Ceausescu was seen by 10,900 Romanians and Morgen by 10,600. Romanian admissions were up 59% in the first half of 2010, compared with 2009, with a total of 3,239,129 tickets, while profits for the same period rose 72%. The operator Cinema City (www.cinemacity.ro), in Romania since 2007, added three multiplexes.

    Romanian films also broke through in the area of distribution. Aurora was sold by Coproduction Office (www.coproductionoffice.eu) in 13 territories, including the USA. Tuesday, After Christmas was sold by Films Boutique (www.filmsboutique.com) in 20 territories including the USA, Radu Jude's The Happiest Girl In The World (also represented by Films Boutique) was sold to Austria, ex-Yugoslavia and Slovenia. Morgen (Les Films du Losange, www.filmsdulosange.fr) will be distributed in 2011 in France and Switzerland. If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle (the Romanian film sent to the Oscar for a foreign film nomination) was sold by Celluloid Dreams (www.celluloid-dreams.com) in eight territories including the USA.

    Grants and Legislation:

    The National Centre for Cinema (www.cncinema.abt.ro) organized just one session of the grant contest in 2010 (instead of two, as required). In July, a group of filmmakers signed a protest aiming to prevent the approval in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies from passing an act (already passed in the Senate) and that would have modified the Cinema Law of 2005. The act didn't pass, but is still open to further modifications.

    Foreign Film Production:

    The second big production since Cold Mountain in 2003, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is shooting entirely in Romania, in 3D, by Sony Pictures Entertainment (www.sonypictures.com) until February 2011, with Castel Film (www.castelfilm.ro) as the local services provider.


    The Romanian Government postponed the crossover to digital terestrial TV by three years, from 1 January 2012 to 1 January 2015. Alexandru Lăzescu was selected as the new president/general manager of Romania's public television (www.tvr.ro) in late June. New TV channels received green light from the The National Audiovisual Council of Romania (www.cna.ro) in 2010, including Adevărul TV, România Ta, Agro channel, Mooz Hits, Mooz Ro, and Program TV. The TV scene shifted in 2010 with new managements and a re-orientation of the media poles. The company Asesoft (www.asesoft.ro) took over the management of Realitatea Media (www.realitateamedia.ro) in late October 2010.