FNE at TIFF: More films, vistors at 9th Romanian film fest

By Iulia Blaga
    The 9th edition of TIFF (www.tiff.ro) wrapped in Cluj-Napoca on June 6 with 40 more films than last year, despite a shorter budget. Under fest director Tudor Giurgiu, the festival also unveiled new sections, new venues, and open air screenings.

    Along with the popular Romanian Days, the festival offered a new Hungarian Day, focuses on Israel and Chile, a programme for documentaries (What's Up Doc?), and a programme for children (EducaTIFF). Some 240 films from 47 countries (among them the 16 local features and 19 local shorts -- a record for the festival) were screened for over 480 Romanian and foreign guests, with a recornd number of sold-out screenings. A selection of films will be screened in Sibiu from June 9-13.

    The Transilvania Trophy went to Mundane Story by Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand). The Special Prize of the Jury was received by Last Conversation by the Dutch Noud Heerkens. The Danish film R by Michael Noer and Tobias Lindholm received the Best Cinematograhy Award.

    The Romanian films from the competition shared the rest of the awards. Medal Of Honor by Călin Peter Netzer was awarded for director and leading actor (Victor Rebengiuc), while Felicia, înainte de toate by Răzvan Rădulescu and Melissa de Raaf received the awards for screenplay and leading actress (Ozana Oancea). The TIFF competition is opened for the first and the second feature.

    An international jury awarded the prizes for the Romanian Days programme: Best Feature - If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle by Florin Şerban; Best Short Film - The Cage by Adrian Sitaru; and Best Debut - Ozana Oancea (First Of All, Felicia). The FIPRESCI award went to Christmas Navidad by Sebastian Lelio (Chile), and the Audience Award went to Gordos by Daniel Sanchez Arevalo (Spain). Another Spanish film, The Twin Girls Of Sunset Street by Marc Riba and Anna Solanas received the award for the Best Short Film from the Shadows programme.

    Wim Wenders received the Lifetime Achievement Award for an European Film Personality. The Romanian filmmaker and stage director Liviu Ciulei received the Excellency Award, and the actress Dorina Lazăr the Lifetime Achievement Award. The readers of the newspaper Adevărul de seară, Cluj-Napoca edition awarded Tuesday, After Christmas by Radu Muntean the Best Romanian Film.

    HBO Romania announced its awards for the national screenwriting competition organized in partnership with Transilvania IFF. The HBO award for the best feature screenplay went to Tion Lucian for Ronaldo and Iuliana. The HBO award for the best short film screenplay went to Veronica Niculescu for Curierul, and the HBO Award For The Best Documentary Screenplay was received by Pavel Cuzuioc for Doina groparilor.

    One of the highlights of the evening was a reading of the Proclamation of Cluj, signed by most of the Romanian film professional at TIFF. This initiative aims to prevent the approval in the Romanian Chamber of Deputies (www.cdep.ro) of an act that already passed in the Senat (www.senat.ro) on May 17, 2010, claiming it would be "a return to a centralised and out-of-date system" by making a co-producer out of the National Centre for Cinema. Among the Romanian directors who have signed the petition are Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Radu Muntean, Andrei Ujică, Radu Gabrea, Răzvan Rădulescu and Cătălin Mitulescu. Giurgiusaid that the National Centre for Cinema (www.cncinema.abt.ro) and the Ministry of Culture expressed their support as well.