A gala open-air screening of Stephen Frears’ Philomena  will tonight (May 30) launch the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) which is expanding its industry dimension for its 13th edition.

This weekend will see the festival focusing its attention on the ¨Save The Big Screen¨ campaign, launched under the auspices of Romania Film Promotion, which aims to halt the disappearance of cinemas outside of the main centres of population and create a network of digital cinemas throughout the country.

A conference will be held on May 31 bringing together officials from the Ministry of Culture, local authorities, Romania Film, cinema managers, film-makers and foreign guests such as Marta Materska-Samek, from Poland’s Cinema Development Foundation Bard, Ivo Andrle of Czech exhibitor Aero Films, and Tina Hajon, Head of Exhibition at the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

Debate will centre, for example, on the foreign guests’ experiences of accessing European funds for cinema renovation and digitisation programmes, as well as addressing the need to revise Romania’s existing Cinema Law.

In addition, there will be screenings of the work-in-progress documentary Cinema, Mon Amour about Romania’s old cinemas as well as other films such as Cinema At The End and The Last Projectionist.

TIFF launches festival fund

2014 also sees TIFF launching its own festival fund, the Transilvania Film Festival Fund (TFFF),  which aims to support development and production in the Romanian region of Transilvania by supporting annually up to three short films/documentaries with a cash grant and creative, marketing and distribution support in the last phase of production.

35 projects have been entered for the first call of projects to receive grants of up to €3,000 in cash or services. The winners are set to be announced on June 6 during the new TIFF’s new pitching forum TPS.   .

New Pitch event

The Transilvania Pitch Stop (TPS) has been launched to create a platform for local first and second-time directors to present their new feature projects at early stages of development to potential Romanian or international production partners.

The five projects selected for the first edition of TPS are:

  • Cristi Iftime’s Maritza by Golden Bear-winning producer Ada Solomon of HiFilm (Child’s Pose)

  • Daniel Sandu’s Father Moves Mountains, currently without a producer attached (Sandu also has a short showing in the Romanian Days)

  • Paul Negoescu’s Never Let It Go, which was pitched at the Sofia Meetings in March where it landed a €10,000 prize from the Hungarian Filmlab

  • Andreea Valean’s Don’t Cry, We’ll All Meet On The Other Side, produced by Icon Film

  • Püsök Botond’s Miracle In Cluj, produced by Spot Film, which won the Best Project Award at last year’s Baltic Event.

An international expert jury of Locarno’s Nadia Dresti, Israel Film Fund CEO Katriel Schory and ARTE France’s Annamaria Lodato will decide on the winners of two prizes for development or postproduction support.

In addition to a public pitching of their projects to international guests at TIFF, the participants will also be offered a tailor-made story development and packaging  workshop at the parallel Transilvania Talent Lab under the supervision of experts Christian Routh and Konstantinos Kontovrakis.

Third edition of Talent Lab

Film-makers Peter Webber, Karim Ainouz, Finnish DoP Peter Flinckenberg, the UK’s Nik Powell and funding supremo Katriel Schory will be holding master classes of the Transilvania Talent Lab (TTL) which is being held during the festival for the third year.

15 young film-makers have been selected to participate in three work modules on development, production and marketing/distribution overseen by French screenwriter Antoine Le Bos, Berlinale Panorama selector Sirkka Möller, and film marketing strategist Mathias Noschi.

Romanian Days’ world premieres

Nicolae Margineanu’s drama White Gate, Corneliu Gheorghita’s The Crypt, visual artist Daniel Djam’s feature debut A Last Year In 114 Minutes, and Andrei Cretulescu’s short Kowalski are among seven world premieres among the 22 titles - 14 feature films and eight shorts - selected for this year’s Romanian Days programme.

The line-up also includes Corneliu Porumboiu’s football documentary The Second Game, Nae Caranfil’s English-language Closer To The Moon, Tudor Cristian Jurgiu’s debut The Japanese Dog, and Radu Jude’s short It Can Pass Through The Wall, fresh from its Cannes premiere.

The prize of best feature film in the Romanian Days section will be decided by Christoph Terhechte of the Berlinale’s Forum, Grainne Humphreys, director of the Dublin International Film Festival, and Cannes Critics’ Week curator Pamela Pianezza.

More information about TIFF’s extensive film programme and special events - which includes spotlights on new films from Germany and Ireland, a focus on Czech cinema and a screening of Battleship Potemkin - can be found at www.tiff.ro.