An observational documentary and two fiction films are the first projects to be supported by the Transilvania Film Festival Fund (TFFF).

Launched at this year’s 13th Transilvania International Film Festival, the winners receiving cash or in-kind post-production services are:

  • Fifteen Zero Thirty Three by Iulia Matei, an observational documentary which promises to be one of the most ambitious of its kind in Romania;

  • Alexandru Capataiou’s love triangle with a difference, Under A Good Sign, which was developed at the Transilvania TalentLab in Cluj last year;

  • Cristina Grosan’s fiction short Opening, to be produced by Dóra Nedeczky’s Mindwax and Ada Solomon’s HiFilm Productions, which was developed within the European Short Pitch programme and nominated for the 2014 (and final) edition of the Film Prize for International Cooperation sponsored by Germany’s Robert Bosch Foundation.

The thinking behind the creation of TFFF which attracted 35 entries is to promote the development and production in the Romanian region of Transilvania by supporting short fiction  films or documentaries

TIFF launches save cinema campaign

TIFF also focused industry and public attention during this year’s edition on its ¨Save The Big Screen¨ campaign which aims to halt the disappearance of cinemas outside of the main centres of population throughout the country.

Apart from producing the documentary Cinema, Mon Amour by Alexandru Belc about the lives of the people still managing the ‘forgotten cinemas’, TIFF Festival President Tudor Giurgiu was one of the driving forces behind an online platform showing what has happened to the hundreds of cinemas in Romania over the past 25 years. ¨In 1989, there were 630 single-screen cinemas active and now there are less than 30,¨ Giurgiu explains

¨The aim [of the Save The Big Screen campaign] is that every town with at least 20,000 inhabitants should have a cinema,¨ he told Screen Daily in Cluj this week.

¨We have a clear objective for the next three years of having a network of at least 10 cinemas which are digitised and modernised,¨ Giurgiu said. The first mayors and local authorities - including Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca - expressed interest in the campaign, and so the TIFF team decided to stage a conference on the specific issues during the festival, bringing experts from abroad who had experiences on being in the same situation.

Officials from the Ministry of Culture, local authorities, representatives of Romania Film, cinema managers, and film-makers heard last weekend about the strategies developed by Marta Materska-Samek from Poland’s Cinema Development Foundation Board, Ivo Andrle of Czech exhibitor Aero Films, and Tina Hajon, Head of Exhibition at the Croatian Audiovisual Centre.

¨By the end of the year, we would like to identify 10-12 cities within Transilvania for a network which could be eligible for obtaining support from EU structural regional funding.¨ Giurgiu said

¨On a local level, we decided to address an issue which we see as being very critical,¨ Giurgiu continued. ¨And that’s how to restore The Film Warehouse in Cluj to its former glory. This was the place where all the 35mm prints came from Bucharest and were then distributed from here around all of Transilvania. After the end of 35mm, nobody took care of the warehouse as everybody was fired from their jobs, and the building became derelict.¨

TIFF is looking in a first stage to find € 7,000 via crowdfunding to clean up the former print store and turn it into an open-air screening venue for the local community.

¨Now that we are celebrating the 101st anniversary of the beginning of Romanian cinema, we thought that this could be a good place to house Romania’s first film museum,¨ Giurgiu suggested. The plan is to access  national and European funds in order to have the museum built and ready by 2021 when TIFF celebrates its 20th anniversary and the city of Cluj will hopefully be serving as a European City of Culture.¨