24-08-2020

"Real Romania" under magnifying glass at Astra Film Festival 2020

This year's selection includes 21 Romanian documentaries which will be screened outdoors

Astra Film Festival 2020 has a hybrid format, outdoors and online, and brings to the public a program consisting of the best 80 Romanian and international documentaries, selected from 3,000 films submitted. Held under special conditions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 27th edition of Astra Film Festival will be a unique experience since Sibiu and nature are turning into unique open-air cinema halls. AFF2020 will be organized in two parts: Astra Film Festival Open Air (4-13 September), with screenings in the historic center of Sibiu and in several locations at  Astra Museum, and Astra Film Festival Online (16-25 October), which will take place on the festival online platform, so the entire Romanian public will have access to documentaries.

Astra Film Festival Open Air comes with a selection of 21 new Romanian documentaries, most of them presented for the first time in Sibiu. The screenings will take place in the presence of the directors, who will have an open dialogue with the audience.

"Currently, the exercise of reflecting on what is happening around us has become increasingly important. The perspective and years of work that documentary directors put in, to bring to the screen slices of the realities around us, is invaluable.  These realities deserve to be known and lived through documentary film and thus we will have a much better understanding of the world in which we live in", said Dumitru Budrala, the founding director of Astra Film Festival.

The AFF 2020 format highlights the necessary protective measures for the festival to provide safe conditions for participants.

Romania, robbed blindly

The manifest documentary of the businessman Ștefan-Valentin Mandachi (#şîeu), "30 years and 15 minutes", which will be screened in Sibiu in the presence of the director, raises the issue of the lack of transport infrastructure and, implicitly, the irresponsibility of the authorities for the last 30 years. Attitudes that ranked Romania on the last place in Europe in terms of highway kilometers and on the first place in number of deaths due to traffic accidents.

Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan's film, "Wood" (2020) is an ecological thriller, which follows the illegal deforestation phenomenon in our country, revealing a global octopus of billions of euros.

The undigested stories of the communist past ("Nostalgia for the dictatorship", 2020 - Marius Th. Barna), The 1989 revolution - with a focus on the events in Sibiu ("Men with Wheels", 2019 - Cornel Mihalache) or the Chernobyl nuclear explosión ("Everything will not be fine", 2020 - Adrian Pîrvu & Helena Maksyom) are three themes that will surely produce emotion in the audience through the way they are staged.

On the other hand, the film "August 23, 1944/2019" (2020), by Andra Tarara, David Schwartz and Roland Ibold reveals the personal experience of four Romanian citizens of Jewish ethnicity, bringing a new perspective on this major historical event. And "Bugan - I didn't breathe the air in vain" (2019), by the Dutchman Duco Tellegen, exposes the incredible portrait of a Romanian political dissident from the communist period.

Unique destinies. Intimate stories presented for the first time

Ellen Fiske & Joanna Karlberg's film, "Josefin & Florin" (2019), a unique love story between Florin, a young Roma man who came to beg and Iosefin, a Swedish woman, will be presented for the first time in Romania. Themes such as re-establishing ties with parents and questioning them about the decision to abandon their parental responsibilities are strongly and emotionally articulated in the films of Andrei Dăscălescu (“Holy Father”, 2020) and Diana Nicolae & Nori Florentina Vito (“Come and find me ”, 2019).

"The Doll's House", 2020, the directorial debut of the image director Tudor Platon, is an incursion into a special universe - the annual vacation of 70-year-old women, who maintain the illusion that, for them, time has not passed and they remain the same young girls, beautiful and in love as 50 years ago. "Death… full stop or comma?" (2020), by Călin Terțan, exposes the impressive testimonies of people who have returned from clinical death.

Destinies influenced by places. The unheard voices of picturesque Romania

The spirit of the "Văcărești Delta", a special place on the outskirts of Bucharest, is evoked in two films ("Home, my home", 2020 - by Radu Ciorniciuc and "The Delta of Bucharest", by Eva Pervolovici 2020). These are movies that tell stories inspired by the real lives of people who live or have lived in this unique place. In his turn, Claudiu Mitcu prforms the radiography of the Lipovan family of fishermen from Sfântu Gheorghe, the famous town from the Danube Delta ("All rivers flow into the sea and the sea never fills.", 2020).

In the film "Reflexii în Est", directed by Andreea Bortun, we find portraits of women from the countryside, in a permanent struggle for survival, who face either domestic violence or are caught in the whirlwind of the need to leave the country and work abroad. The film "Between realms" by Maria Cinar-Jiga describes the emotional portrait of a young Ukrainian woman, who divides her time between school and traditional pastoral life practiced in her native village, in the bosom of her family. Alina Manolache's film, "Children Lost on the Beach" (2020) shows the subjective image of a generation who was born and raised in the "free years" after 1990 and has now reached adulthood.

The sweet Moldavian language

The film "I Genius Cioclea" (2019), directed by Violeta Gorgos, presents the portrait of the sensational poet Eugen Cioclea from Chisinau. And Pavel Cuzuioc's documentary, "Please, hold the line" (2020), gives us access to Moldavian homes and daily living through the installers of the internet company.

Astra Film Festival 2020 is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and Astra Film Foundation, with the support of Sibiu County Council, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the National Center of Cinematography, the Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and the Union of Filmmakers.
The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the City Hall of Sibiu and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania.

Sponsors: Kaufland, HBO, Cinelab, Sonne Sibiu, Sibiu 100%

Communication partner: PiArt Vision

Media partners: Kiss FM, Magic FM, Rock FM, RFI, Radio România Cultural, Libertatea, HotNews, News.ro, Newsweek, Vice, PressHub, Euractiv, Revista Avantaje, All about Romanian Cinema, Cinemagia, MovieNews, Films in frames, LiterNet, IQads, Ziarul Metropolis, Turnul sfatului, Sibiu 100%, Tribuna, Zile și nopți, Ora de Sibiu, Mesagerul de Sibiu, Revista Transilvania, Capital Cultural, Cineeuropa, Filmtett, Hermanstadter Zeitung.

Last modified on 24-08-2020