Mungiu ignites Romanian film funding controversy

By Iulia Blaga

    Following an "open letter" from Palme d'Orwinning director Cristian Mungiu criticizing the grants process of the National Centre for Cinema, eight leading critics have issued a statement in support of Mungiu.

    Mungiu, who was a member of the granting commission of the National Centre for Cinema (http://www.cncinema.abt.ro) during its March deliberations, urged the Minister of Culture to change the way the public grants are decided.

    In an open letter issued on March 16, Mungiu listed aspects he found inappropriate, from the election of the commission's members to the way the litigations are solved. In Mungiu's opinion "a structural refreshement is needed".

    Reactions have split the Romanian film community.

    Eugen Şerbănescu, the general manager of The National Centre for Cinema, issued a letter stating that Mungiu was helped by the same system he's now critizing.

    A petition online (http://www.petitiononline.com/pitbull3/petition.html) garnered 156 signatures.

    Following the critics' letter, the Minister of Culture set an April 27 meeting with professionals and film critics.