Dorina Oarga • Head of industry, Transilvania International Film Festival
“We are promoting the relaxed character of TIFF”
by Vassilis Economou
- Cineuropa sat down with Dorina Oarga, head of industry at the Transilvania International Film Festival, to explore the novelties at the 16th edition of Romania’s leading film gathering
Cineuropa visited Dorina Oarga, head of industry at the Transilvania International Film Festival, at the TIFF Industry Hub to explore the new aspects of the 16th edition of Romania’s leading film gathering.
Cineuropa: Why should an industry professional visit TIFF?
Dorina Oarga: We know that TIFF is always after Cannes, and this makes it hard for industry professionals to visit us. For that reason, we suggest TIFF as a “working break”. We promote our friendly atmosphere that is based on personal connections and a cosy environment. The guests are one of our most valuable assets, as their feedback has helped us to develop a great deal. We are happy that everyone comes back to us telling us how relaxed the festival feels, which allows them to enjoy the films, do their work and organise business meetings in a more informal way, and this is great for everyone.
You always pay particular attention to your workshops. What has changed at this edition?
Our oldest, the Transilvania Talent Lab (TTL), started out as a workshop for people generally interested in the film industry, from those developing films to those organising a festival. We realised last year that this mixture was not going anywhere, so we decided to focus only on movie-theatre management. In 2014, during the festival, we launched a campaign entitled Save the Big Screen to raise awareness, as in Romania we have the lowest ratio of cinemas per inhabitant in Europe. At the previous edition, we had participants from different backgrounds, but this year, we only focused on 14 business professionals. Some of them also work for public institutions, cultural centres or municipal cinemas. It is quite specialised, and that’s why I’m so happy that Europa Cinemas is helping us to organise the TTL and Duncan Carson’s seminar dedicated to marketing, social media and audience development.
Transilvania Pitch Stop (TPS) has undergone a major expansion this year; what made you head in that direction?
This is the fourth edition of TPS. We are keeping the original programme, which is dedicated to first- and second-time directors from Romania and the Republic of Moldova. The four-day workshop is led by our script (Christian Routh) and pitch (Konstantinos Kontovrakis) doctors, who both help the director and the producer of each of the six projects with developing the script and public pitching, respectively. This year, we had the honour of being included among the ten festivals supported by Eurimages with their Development Award. We took advantage of this opportunity to expand our pitching session internationally to countries around Romania and the Black Sea region for our co-production platform. We had over 60 projects submitted in a short space of time, and we selected 11 of them to participate in TPS.
Are you planning to keep this dual format next year, too?
It is too early to tell; we would like to see how this works first, and then decide. Obviously, thanks to the new TPS, the guest list has been expanded. Many independent producers wanted to visit TIFF for the pitching session, interested in discovering projects from the region. So apart from the people we had already invited, we also had more who wanted to come for the TPS.
You are also supporting two more workshops that are affiliated with the TIFF.
Yes; Less Is More is a new initiative, and we are happy to be working in partnership with Le Groupe Ouest by hosting one stop of their workshop during TIFF. The first module of the programme was launched in Belgium, and we host the second part in a ski resort outside of Cluj. Also, for two days, LIM has a presence at the TIFF Industry Hub for a round-table discussion, pitching and one-on-one meeting sessions. We also hosted the first module of First Films First; this is their second year in Cluj, but since their aim is to develop scripts, they visit us during the first part of the festival, when the industry section is less crowded.
Can we assume that TIFF is a workshop-orientated festival?
That is true: apart from some master classes, like the HBO seminar, we don’t really host industry events, so everything is staying closer to developing the future of cinema. I feel that this retains the personal and relaxed character that we are known for and at the same time creates new opportunities.
What is TIFF for you?
I’ve been involved with TIFF for ten years, so it is hard to describe it. We are in a vibrant city with an audience of cinephiles, and the energy around us is amazing. We want to remain a fresh and flexible festival by involving people, getting them to watch the films and participate actively. I feel that we have grown slowly, and now we are expanding, industry included – we weren’t necessarily aiming for that, but it became natural, somehow. The goal is to be here together and, by taking things slow, to create a stable and solid base for the future.
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