MEDIA slate funding for Libra

By Iulia Blaga

    Libra Film Productions (http://www.librafilm.net/) is the first Romanian company to receive MEDIA Programme development funding, a total of €136,200 for a slate of 5 films.

    These films are three features - Somewhere in Palilula by Silviu Purcărete, The Bear by Dan Chişu, and Trixy by Tudor Giurgiu -- and two documentaries - Last Tango in Munich by Alexander Nanău, and A Matter of Heart by Corina Radu.

    Somewhere in Palilula will be shot this year. The debut of the internationally acclaimed stage director Silviu Purcărete, a dark comedy about life under communism, received €453,965 grant from the National Centre for Cinema (www.cncinema.abt.ro) in 2006. The film won the Balkan Fund Award at Thessaloniki IFF in 2005, and is a co-production with Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion, Germany (www.mediopolis-online.de) and Amour Fou, Austria (amourfou.at).

    The Bear is also a black comedy, set in a Bucharest circus in 1990, immediately after the fall of communism. The project won the Best Pitch Award at Connecting Cottbus (www.connecting-cottbus.de) in 2008. The film has yet to be cast, but the director is counting on Goran Bregovic for the soundtrack.

    Trixy, a biopic based on the life of Trixy Checais, a leading Romanian dancer, won a Special Mention at New Cinema Network - Fabrica dei Progetti Programme at Rome IFF, last year. The shooting is set for 2011.

    Last Tango in Munich (working title: It's a Matter of Life and Death), was developed within Discovery Campus Masterschool, and is a co-production with the German company Lichblick Film (www.lichtblick-film.de). Discussions are underway with the French Agat Film &Cie (www.agatfilms.com). The film follows the attemps of Nicolae Ceauşescu to eliminate his opponents who had immigrated to France and Germany. It received a €3,000 development grant in 2007, and a production grant of €103,000, both from the Romanian National Centre for Cinema.

    A Matter of Heart, a biographical documentary about Queen Mary of Romania, received a €3,000 development grant from the National Centre for Cinema in 2007.

    Tudor Giurgiu, Libra Film Productions manager, told FNE that winning the slate funding "is very important" for his company, "since we've decided to focus on movies instead of commercial projects, and given the fact that the only development funding we can find in Romania is a modest €3,000 grant from the National Centre for Cinema".

    With their 2008 films, Peter Strickland's Katalin Varga and Fanny Ardant's Ashes and Blood, Libra Film Productions is also the first Romanian production company in the Official Selection of Cannes and Berlin, in the same year.

    The British-Greek director Peter Strickland's debut, produced by Libra Film Productions, won the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution in sound design at the Berlinale.

    Libra Film Productions is co-producing the directing debut of Fanny Ardant. Shooting took place last year primarily in Romania. The producer of the film is Paolo Branco with Alfama Films (/www.alfamafilms.com). The French co-producers are Hirsch and DD Productions.

    The film had €1,4 million budget, and received grants from CNC France (www.cnc.fr) and Romanian National Centre for Cinema, and was pre-sold to Canal + (www.canalplus.fr).