Astra Film Festival presents 17 of the newest and most valuable documentary films about the real Romania
The Astra Film Festival in Sibiu, which will take place between October 9th -16th, presents a selection of the newest and most valuable Romanian documentary films of the moment. In total, 17 Romanian films will be screened, of which 14 can be seen for the first time in Romania, in Sibiu. All of them make up a puzzle of the Romanian society. The screenings will take place in the presence of the filmmakers, who will enter a dialogue with the audience. After the 29th edition of #AFF, some films will also be watched online in Romania, and Astra Film organizers will be able to make direct nominations for the European Film Awards, from among the award-winning films.
"This autumn's edition will truly be a festival, in all the bright senses of the word, if we think about the fact that most of the films in the official selection are premieres and bring to the big screen never-before-seen content. They are poorly financed productions, which brings an additional argument to the idea that we are talking about films with relevant, valuable content. And when Romanian films which were developed in Sibiu, in the "laboratories" of the festival are released, their success is a celebration for the entire Romanian cinema community", said Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival.
The film from the opening of the festival, "The Chalice. Of Sons and Daughters", by Cătălina Tesăr and Dana Bunescu (2022 - national premiere), exposes for the first time in the cinema, the interesting world of the `cortorari`. The film shows the world of this traditional Roma community from Transylvania, exploring ancient customs, marked by arranged marriages, at the center of which is, symbolically placed, a golden cup handed down from generation to generation. The film was conceived a few years ago within the DokTank Astra Film laboratory program, and in order to document it, Cătălina Tesăr, PhD in anthropology at University College London, spent two years among the locals, during which she learned the language and customs.
Communities and traditions are also discussed in two other films. "Memories from the community of Gheorgheni and Frumoasa", by Armine Vosganian (2022) - international premiere, features 100-year-old Peter, the only man from Frumoasa who still speaks Armenian and knows the customs of the elderly. Alexandra Gulea also makes a deep foray into the community of Aromanians in their historical exile, between the mountains and the sea ("Flying sheep", co-production Romania, Germany, 2022 - international premiere, Central and Eastern Europe Section).
Writer Adina Popescu and director Iulian Ghervas bring to Sibiu, as an international premiere, a documentary film that uses as a pretext the story of a football team that has been in the bottom league for decades, to explore how a rural community in the middle of Transylvania lives, prisoner in an anonymous world ("Eagles from Șaga", 2021).
Communism and post-communism
Documentary filmmakers are studying again the impact of the communist regime on the lives of so many generations. The communist regime left deep wounds and destinies to chance. Dragoș Zămosteanu is "In search of the engineer Dragomirescu" (2022) - the story of a person sent to prison and never returning for singing "Deșteaptă-te, Române!" and "Vântuleț de primăvară". In "Rear Entrance to Socialism" (2022), László Csibi describes communist censorship as perceived by Hungarian media representatives, members of political structures and cultural figures who were active during the communist regime.
In "Globus" (co-production Romania-Poland, 2022 - world premiere), Clara Kleininger sensitively watches how the trainers of the Globus State Circus become acrobats and clowns after their animals are taken to the Zoo. And in "The Man and His Shadow", by Dragoș Hanciu (2021), we see how Georges, a flamboyant technician in the photo lab at UNATC, loses his job when digital photography gains ground in front of analog photography.
One of the most surprising films of this year is ”You Are Ceaușescu To me”, by Sebastian Mihăilescu (2022), an experimental mix of documentary and fiction that will be presented in Sibiu as part of the Astra Film Junior program. The film follows the reactions of young people between the ages of 15 and 22, from different backgrounds, who want to play the role of Nicolae Ceaușescu, at a time when the former communist dictator was very young.
Two Romanian films from the official selection address the phenomenon of migration. In "Waves on dry soil" (2021 - world premiere), Raluca David filmed in Ecuador, the Republic of Moldova and Portugal the story of a young Moldovan surfer who tries to overcome his immigrant status, while "Arsenie`s First Birthday", by Valentin-Rareș Fogoroș (2022 - world premiere), follows the struggle of a woman from Ukraine, a refugee in our country, who fights with the bureaucracy to obtain EU documents for her son, Arsenie.
One of the most emotional portraits that will be presented at this AFF edition is "Trapped in His Own Movie" (2022 - world premiere), in which Alexandru Oiță presents the fate of director Andrei Cătălin Băleanu, showing how life really beats film. Another portrait, collective this time, is that of the people who are building a section of the Via Transilvanica - the road of more than 1,400 kilometers "that unites" ("People of the Road: Terra Banatica", by Mircea Gherase, 2021).
Another story, with deep meanings and with the occasion for essential questions, is the journey that a young woman makes, in the time of Covid19 restrictions, to a 500-year-old pilgrimage destination: Șumuleu Ciuc / Csíksomlyó ("My Home, My Home" , by Anikó Nagy, 2020 - national premiere). And "Too Close" (2022), by Botond Püsök, is a tense story about a mother with 2 children, and her turmoil when she must accept parental visitation from the father of the second child, after he is released from the penitentiary where he had been imprisoned for what he did to the woman's first child.
One of the films in the official DocSchool selection seeks an answer to a difficult question, "What happens after death?" ("One click away", by Janine Gruen (2022 - world premiere), and the young viewers of AF Junior will see the adventures of some children in a camp in the Danube Delta, who discover two poachers fishing illegally ("The Sentries of the Delta", by Liviu Mărghidan, 2022).The official #AFF2022 selection also presents a surprising satirical documentary essay, "Whose dog am I?", by Róbert Árpád Lakatos (2022 - Romanian premiere), which shows big politics as a world where citizens are dogs, and politicians - dog breeders.
About Astra Film Festival
Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.
Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.