Transilvania producers

Source: Point Film / Shepherd Company / Icon Production / Baking FIlms

Clockwise from top left: Adriana Racasan, Sergiu Scobioala, Irina Enea, Ioana Moraru

Transilvania Pitch Stop (TPS), a strand of RO Days, the industry programme of the Transilvania International Film Festival, is showcasing feature projects from Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine to the international industry.

Screen shines a spotlight on four producers from the region presenting feature projects at TPS.

Ioana Moraru, Icon Production, Romania

This will be the second year in a row that Ioana Moraru comes to TPS with a new project - Mihai Dragolea’s fiction feature debut Grained - after presenting Cosmin Nicolae’s debut Pyrrhic in Cluj last year. The project won the main award at last year’s TPS and then received one of the Midpoint Consulting Awards when it was pitched at Connecting Cottbus.

Set on Romania’s Eastern plains in 1946, Grained follows two women as they set off towards a fair to sell handwoven rugs. A hallucination, a pack of goats and the killing of a boatsman will send them on a path of no return.

“We are curious about Mihai’s first step into fiction after making several documentary shorts,” Moraru explains. “I’m intrigued by the fact he wants to shoot the film in the style of the Romanian New Wave and mix it with the tropes of the Western genre. He wants to explore human individualism versus the power of nature and the ambiguity between good and evil.”

Moraru has alrady secured support from the Romanian Film Centre and from MMS Communications and Publicis and plans to go into production in the second quarter of 2025. She is in TPS to attract potential international co-producers as well as a sales agent.

“There are three main attributes to an Icon Production,” Ioana says. “Encouraging newcomers, supporting unique, bold and strong perspectives and seeking to develop projects that are anchored in an accurate social reality. Pyrrhic ticks all of these boxes.”

 Icon’s development slate also includes Lucia Chicoș’ debut feature Horseshoe, based on a screenplay by Lavinia Braniște.

Icon Production was founded by Ioana’s mother Velvet Moraru in 1994 as one of the first independent production companies in Romania. The company’s portfolio has ranged from creative documentaries through to shorts and feature films, including Andrei Ujică’s Autobiography Of Nicolae Ceausescu,  Andrei Gruzsniczki’s thriller Quod Erat Demsonstrandum, and Andrei Crețulescu’s first feature-length film, the Romanian-French co-production Charleston.

Ioana started working alongside her mother after graduating from film school where she studied screennwriting. Pyrrhic and Grained are her first two projects as a producer. Her first feature screenplay was for Jebeleanu’s 2020 award-winning directorial debut Poppy Field. She has since collaborated with him again on Internal Zero now in post, an adaptation of Lavinia Braniște’s eponymous novel about life in Romania in 2016, as seen from the perspective of a woman played by three actresses.

Irina Enea, Baking Films

It was thanks to her son, actor Tudor Oprisan, who turns 16 next month, that producer Irina Enea made her entrée into the film world.

“I babysat him on set for 14 years and  learnt so much from just watching how a film is put together,” she recalls. ”I never got bored because I was able to get such a great insight into all the different departments.”

(Oprisan, who is now nearly 16, has credits including Bogdan Iliesiu’s Dear Santa Clause,  Adrian Sitaru’s Fixeur, and Alexis Sweet’s Queen Marie Of Romania) 

Enea is at TPS to pitch the debut feature of director Razvan Marinescu, the children’s film Kid Hazard. She previously produced Marinescu’s short Perfect which screened at the Transilvania International Film Festival in 2022. Kid Hazard is about a modern-day Tom Sawyer known for his quick wit and fear of nothing, who dives headfirst into a series of hilarious escapades in his quest to win a competition for a free summer camp ticket. 

“Razvan wants to include animation, CGI and immersive media in the film, so we need to find co-producers for this,” Enea says. “What we will be looking for at TPS is to get some script doctoring to keep the vibe, fun and humour of the film’s story.”

The project was one of five selected to receive tailored script consulting from script editor Christian Routh. “It was the best thing that happened to us in the last two years,” Enea enthuses. ”He gave us very positive feedback about the script and was very encouraging.”

Adriana Racasan, Point Film

Adriana Racasan has a busy schedule in Cluj this year. Not only is she pitching Cristian Pascariu’s fiction directorial debut A Flower Is Not A Flower at TPS, but she has a screening of her own first film as director, the short Bubble Bath, screening out of competition in the Romanian Days strand.

 Racasan studied film directing at Bucharest’s Media University and worked as an assistant to Francis Ford Coppola during the Romanian shoot of his Youth Without Youth. She has since worked as a producer at Libra Film and is a founder of Point Film, the company behind A Flower Is Not A Flower, which was also co-producer of Servants, the second feature by the Slovak director Ivan Ostrochovský.

Set in the Romania of the late 1980s, A Flower Is Not A Flower is about an 11-year-old girl who escapes from the communist orphanage where she was left by her parents. 

”Cristian’s project is a very courageous one because the story of Romanian orphanages in the 90s is quite dark and harsh,” Racasan explains. “But the subject is treated in a very sensitive way.”

It is being co-produced by Latvia’s Air Productions after Racasan pitched the project at the Baltic Event in Tallinn in 2022.

She is now prepping her own feature directorial debut with the children’s film Edelweiss, to be co-directedby Tudor Giurgiu and set to film in late spring 2025, It is being shot in English and Romanian and will star UK actor Sam Riley and his Romanian-born wife Alexandra Maria Lara.

Racasan is also vice-president of Signis Europe, the Catholic Association for Communication and is responsible for persuading artistic director Mihai Chirilov to establish both ecumenical and Signis juries at the festival for the first time this year. 

Racasan is also producing the festival’s closing awards ceremony in Cluj’s historic National Theatre on June 22.

Sergiu Scobiolaa, Shepherd Company, Moldova

With a background in television production, Sergiu Scobioala originally brought the idea of TPS project Winemaker’s Daughter to Ivan Naniev’s Shepherd Company to develop for the small screen.

“We’d pitched the project in Warsaw at last year’s Heart of Europe Co-Production Forum and had wanted to create a high-quality international series about Moldova’s special passion for wine to compete with American series,” Scobioala recalls. “But there wasn’t any chance of getting support from our national fund for this kind of series which we wanted to produce out of Moldova.” 

Winemaker’s Daughter is a romantic comedy about a Parisian lawyer returning to her Moldovan homeland to sort out her late father’s affairs and sell his vineyard. It is about both “the Moldovan and European philosophies of life”, Scobioaa explains.

A graduate of Kyiv’s First School of Television in neighbouring Ukraine, Scobioaa had produced over 15 TV formats, two TV series and two documentaries before making his first foray into feature films with Naniev’s action drama thriller The Power Of Probability which was the most successful local film at the Moldovan box office in 2023.

“We changed the strategy for Winemaker’s Daughter to develop as a feature film, structured as an international co-production,” Scobioala continues. “Of course, Romania would be a natural production partner because we speak the same language - and they also have good wine as well.”