Romania’s Ada Solomon of HiFilm Productions has her next feature debut, Valentin Hotea’s Roxanne, going into production on September 12, a week after the world premiere of Paul Negoescu’s debut A Month In Thailand in Venice Critics’ Week.
Speaking exclusively to Screen in Venice this week, Solomon said that Hotea’s film will see her collaborating again with Hungarian producer Emoke Vagasi of Cor Leonis who had previously co-produced Best Intentions by Adrian Sitaru with her.
“We developed the project as part of the Nipkow Programme in Berlin after having pitched it at Connecting Cottbus [in 2009],“ Solomon noted. “It was really very beneficial for all of us: for the director, screenwriter Ileana Muntean and for myself.”
“The film speaks about how our past is affecting our present and even more our future,” she explained. “The story begins in 1989 with a teenager dedicating The Police’s Roxanne to a girlfriend called Roxana. Twenty years later, as a grown man, he finds out from his secret service file that he may be the father of a son from that girl. Little by little, he infiltrates into this family’s life to seek the truth, thereby upsetting the equilibrium and uncovering untold secrets from the characters’ pasts.”
“It’s not an issue which has been really discussed in Romania before, whereas in Germany the question of how the past affects our present-day lives is very present. We received very good feedback from various people there.”
Diana Dumbrava - who received Locarno’s Silver Leopard for her performance in Calin Netzer’s Maria in 2003 - plays the role of Roxana, the male lead will be take by Serban Pavlu, recently seen in the lead of Radu Jude’s family drama Everybody In Our Family, and the 20-year-old son Viktor is played by 21-year-old Anghel Damian
“Anghel is so charismatic with his beautiful blue eyes – he’s a real discovery for me,“ Solomon added. “It’s also quite a personal project for me because I have known Valentin since elementary school and I know the real Roxana because the film is inspired by a personal experience of the director.”
While shooting will mostly be in Bucharest with a couple of days in Sinaia, principal photography is set to wrap on Oct 12.
In addition, Tudor Giurgiu, president of the Transilvania International Film Festival, confirmed to Screen this week that he is developing his third feature Cristian to shoot next year with France’s Sombrero Films already onboard as co-producer.
Solomon and Giurgiu both spoke to Screen during the ninth edition of the International Confederation of Art Cinemas (CICAE) training programme ART CINEMA = ACTION + MANAGEMENT which was being held on San Servolo Island, halfway between Piazza San Marco and the Lido, from Aug 27 – Sept 2.
55 art cinema managers, divided into the two categories of Juniors and Executives, came from 25 countries, from as far apart as Brazil, Czech Republic, Romania, Mexico, Belarus and United Arab Emirates, for an intensive programme of lectures, case studies and debates on the future of arthouse cinema exhibition.
30 international professionals as trainers included German producer Alfred Hürmer, who will be returning to Venice next week for the world premiere of his production of Brian de Palma’s Passion; MEDIA Programme executive Emmanuel Joly; Venice Film Market director Pascal Diot; Paula Astorga, general director of the Mexican National Cinematheque; and distributors Jiri Sebesta (Aerofilms), Joachim Kühn (RealFiction) and Eric Vicente (Sophie Dulac Distribution).
Solomon, who runs a number of arthouse cinemas in Romania with Giurgiu, was full of praise for the CICAE initiative: “As a producer, it is very inspiring for me because you can understand different mentalities through the discussions with the experts and the participants. Exhibitors don’t often get the chance to get out of their cinema and town to see how things run internationally, so that’s another important bonus of this programme.”