by Vitor Pinto
Confident in the talent of a new generation of Romanian filmmakers, Daniel Burlac is not only the executive producer of 12:08 East of Bucharest [+see also:
interview: Corneliu Porumboiu
interview: Daniel Burlac
film profile] by Corneliu Porumboiu (Caméra d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival), but also one of the main promoters of Romanian cinema abroad. It has been his confident outlook on national cinema along with a desire for Europeanisation that has encouraged him to take part in this year’s EAVE seminars and to develop projects still in their infancy with European partners.
Cineuropa: At the last Cannes Market, The Coproduction Office sold 12:08 East of Bucharest to over ten territories, which was quite exceptional for a small budget Romanian production.
Daniel Burlac: 12:08 East of Bucharest is the first feature from 42 Km Film, a company set up by Corneliu Porumboiu to produce its own projects. Corneliu was given a grant from the Ministry of Culture to make a big film that she couldn’t make until spring 2007. We then decided to make a small film among friends. We quickly found sponsors and made it in a month. We just wanted it to be a small film, but things turned out differently, with the film going on to win the Caméra d'Or and the Europa Cinemas Label, which will give it good visibility in several countries. We are very happy, because in each territory the film was sold to the best distributors specialising in arthouse titles. The film will not be released in Romania until October, but we have already recouped most of our costs.
Are the social changes triggered by the revolution more important in 12:08 East of Bucharest than Ceausescu’s escape? Is there really a need to deal with the theme of revolution in contemporary Romanian cinema?
I believe that 12:08 East of Bucharest is not a political film. There is a more human and social aspect to it. The transition has created several paradoxes in our society and the film aims, in part, to depict that. That there are other films also dealing with the end of the dictatorship is a coincidence, I think. These are films made by people who have not experienced the revolution and who, as a result, obviously have a more subjective and detached view on the subject. I think that dealing with it in a film could help us turn the page, and perhaps even deal with some unresolved issues.
In 2005 The Death of Mr Lazarescu [+see also:
film profile] won the Un Certain Regard Prize and this year three other Romanian films won awards at Cannes. Can we speak of a Romanian nouvelle vague?
There is definitely a new generation of young filmmakers with very different styles eager to show off their talent and in different ways, for example Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Catalin Mitulescu (The Way I spent the End of the World [+see also:
film profile]), but also Christian Mungiu, who had already presented his film Occident in the 2002 Directors’ Fortnight. I assisted in the creation of several of these films and I find that there is positive competition between them. There’s a very interesting dynamic growth going on that will bear fruit. I believe that there are certain trends in European cinema. After the Iranian, Argentinean and Asian films we are going to hear a lot from Romanian cinema in the years to come, but I hope that it will be more than a passing trend.
One last question, where were you on December 22, 1989 at 12:08?
I had a small VHS camera and I was filming the revolution in my village. I was in the streets well before 12:08. I think I was one of the first to go on protest in my village. There were 15 of us, at the very beginning. Then, these images were subsequently integrated in a documentary. After that, I created the first independent regional television channel in Romania.