Transylvania International Film Festival concludes in Sibiu

By Jorn Rossing Jensen
    As the 7th Transylvania International Film Festival in Cluj concluded its five-day screening programme in the city of Sibiu (Sunday, June 15), launching the TIFF Film Karavan which will tour Romania during the summer months, executive director Rik Vermeulen was pleased with the reception of the festival's Romanian Days, the presentation of local films and works-in-progress, which has become an increasingly important part of the showcase. The total number of admissions for this year's Transilvania International Film Festival exceeded 50,000.

    Among the 200 participants in this year's event were commissioning editor Michel Reilhac (ARTE), CineMart coordinator Jacobine van der Vloed (International Film Festival Rotterdam), sales agents Luc Ntonga (Insomnia World Sales), Philippe Tasca (Rendez Vous Pictures), German producer Alexander Ris (Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion) and Hungarian producer Laszlo Kantor (UJ Budapest Film Studios).

    "We know that deals were in progress for some of the new Romanian films, and there was a great deal of interest for the new projects, especially Anton Groves' Kombinat and Pavel Braila's Video Vagon," Vermeulen explained.

    Produced by Tudor Giurgiu for Libra Film, Kombinat is the story of former top executive Marin, who is now a guard at his abandoned factory. He is eventually bribed to let criminals enter to steal metal alloys, and his son Aurel is involved in the deal. When a businessman is accidentally killed in the factory, Marin realises he and Aurel are
    responsible. But Aurel has left for Bucharest.

    Co-produced by Video Vagon (Luxembourg), Saga Film (Romania), Fountainhead (US, (Diametral Film Moldova), the €1.5 million Video Vagon - with €1 million in place - follows Marcel who is about to finish his feature debut. A fire destroys the train where they filmed; the police confiscates the footage and starts an investigation. Also
    chased by his crew for unpaid salaries, Marcel fears his career has come to and end.

    "Among the new Romanian films foreign interest focused on the documentary, Bridge of Flowers, which won top prize at Romanian Days; Elevator, which was awarded for Best Romanian debut; and Katalin Varga," Vermeulen added.

    Thomas Ciulei's Bridge of Flowers follows a father and his three children in Acui, Moldova; his wife left three-and-a-half years ago to find work in Italy. "Should the mother see the father doing this, transforming life into a theatre play, it will become
    everything that she misses," said Ciulei.

    In Elevator, George Dobobantu tells the story of a teenager boy and girl, who want to get away from the world and hide in an abandoned factory in the outskirts of the city. They get stuck in a cargo elevator. There is no one around to hear them, and tension in the metal box smaller than a room arises after each failed attempt to escape.

    A Romanian-Hungarian co-production, UK director Peter Strickland's Katalin Varga portrays Antal Borlan's loving wife who would never even suspect that her devoted and kind husband could be responsible for a past atrocity. Then an avenging angel named Katalin Varga scales the Carpathian Mountains by horse and knows better.

    For next year Vermeulen was looking forward to the second features of Titus Muntean, Catalin Mitulescu and Corneliu Poromboiu, as well as the debuts of Radu Jude and Razvan Radulescu, the scriptwriter of The Death of Mr Lazarescu.