Romanian Filmmakers Call on Head of CNC to Step Down


    BUCHAREST: More than 90 film professionals are requesting the the head of the Romanian Film Centre (CNC) Anca Mitran, step down from her position after an interview (Anca Mitran, directorul CNC: "Toți regizorii noștri fac filme pentru festivaluri, filme de artă. Și atunci, ducem o lipsă acută de filme pentru public." - Cultura la dubă) where she said that lately all Romanian filmmakers make art films instead of films for the audience, and also that documentaries are not meant to be screened in cinemas.

    Anca Mitran, photo: CNC FacebookThe first to protest were a handful of documentary filmmakers, including Alexandru Solomon, Andrei Ujica, Andrei Dascalescu and film editor Dana Bunescu, who have launched an open letter signed up to now by Alexander Nanau, Radu Jude, Calin Peter Netzer, Radu Muntean and Stere Gulea, among others.

    According to the signatories, Anca Mitran is “attacking” Romanian art films while expressing her regret that films like those made under the Communist regime (historical films, comedies, love stories) are not being made anymore.

    She is also inaccurate, they say, when she says that documentaries (which are funded with only 10% of the total amount provided for one session) are not popular in Romania. „’In the last 10 years we made over 100 documentaries. How many have you heard of that performed?,’ she says. Well, according to the CNC itself, in 2020 alone, nine of the top 20 Romanian films with theatrical distribution were documentaries.The sole Romanian film that got nominated for an Oscar (not in one, but in two categories) is a documentary, collective”, reads the open letter.

    The film professionals are demanding that the CNC “be led by a qualified appointee who is open to collaborating with those who work in the film industry and whose vision of Romanian cinema is in keeping with the evolving realities of the 21st century”. Moreover, they say, Mitran’s mandate “has been extended although she reached retirement age — though it is not clear why the Ministry of Culture has decided to do so, given that under Ms Mitran the CNC: failed to revamp Romania’s theatrical distribution system and to reopen the cinemas it seems so eager to fill; vanished for a year and a half during the pandemic, leaving the Romanian industry with no support in the midst of a crisis; and failed to adapt and modernise beyond punch-hole files until 2022.”

    Anca Mitran told FNE that she was not reproaching Romanian filmmakers for making films for festivals, and her observation was based on the number of films, awards and admissions. „The 640 films made in the last 10 years received 500 awards”, she said. „Two genres of films are missing almost completely from the market: comedies and films for children. CNC is receiving almost weekly emails from spectators asking (sometimes agressively) to stop supporting certain films. Why the opinion of the audience should not be taken into account? They are also contributing to the Film Fund”, Mitran said.

    The head of the CNC cannot single-handedly decide on the allocation of funds and has to put into effect the decisions of the Council of Administration. Morever, says Mitran, the CNC is supporting from the Film Fund not only film production, but also distribution, festivals, film events and publications. The Film Fund is approximately 9.1 m EUR / 45 m RON annually. In 2022, approximately 8 m EUR / 40 m RON are allotted for film production and the rest of 1 m EUR / 5 m RON will be distributed according to the decision of the Council of Administration, said Mitran.

    She also said that cinemas are not under the jurisdiction of the CNC, which „cannot intervene in the distribution policy of private cinemas except for requesting them to screen minimum 5% Romanian films annually, according to the law, and this percentage is respected”.

    As for disappearing for a year and a half during the COVID-19 pandemic, Anca Mitran said that this is not true as the CNC decided on solutions such as extending the date for entering in production or for presenting the final film copy, and also managed to organise grants sessions.

    Click HERE for the open letter.