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The Romanian National Film Center immersed in controversy


- Several film directors, including Golden Bear winner Călin Peter Netzer, are questioning the Center’s activities

The Romanian National Film Center immersed in controversy

Several Romanian directors are questioning the Romanian National Film Center after a controversial grant contest whose results were announced last week (news). Călin Peter Netzer, winner of the Golden Bear in 2013, received a smaller grant than stipulated in the institution’s rules, while Anca Damian (Crulic – The Path to Beyond [+see also:
film review
interview: Anca Damian
film profile
) lost her grant following an arguable decision made by the Center’s board.

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According to the rules, Netzer’s new project, Ana, mon amour, was to receive a grant of 20% of its budget, as the project was ranked first following the evaluation of the screenplay, and the director's and producer's previous activity. But instead of €675,000, the project only got €360,000. Production company Parada Film has already announced that it will appeal against this decision to the Romanian Ministry of Culture.

Damian will also make an appeal to the Ministry after she was refused a grant, despite the fact that her project Moon Hotel Kabul ranked second in the fiction-feature contest. The Center’s board decided that the technical points that she would have received following the success of Crulic – The Path to Beyond would not be taken into consideration, as that film was a documentary. In a press release, the director argues that in the documentary contest, which gave circa €375,000 to eight projects, the directors benefited from the points of previous films, even though they were works of fiction.

Established directors Adrian Sitaru, Marian Crişan, Gabriel Achim, Paul Negoescu and Bogdan Mustaţă wrote open letters in which they questioned the Center’s objectivity. Other than the Center’s complete lack of transparency in its communication with the industry (and the press, we would add), the directors note the close relationship between some members of the evaluation committee, all selected in secrecy, and the teams behind some of the winning projects.

Another controversial decision made by the board was the rejection of a feature directed by Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa and produced by Cristian Mungiu’s production company, Mobra Film. The project was disqualified because the director forgot to erase his name from the film’s presentation file, which contravenes one of the Center’s more arguable rules.

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