“Save the Big Screen” campaign launched
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Hundreds of Romanian cinemas stopped showing films over the last two decades
The Romanian Film Promotion Association (APFR), organiser of the Gopo Awards and the Transilvania International Film Festival, has launched a campaign to recondition and re-introduce at least some of the hundreds of cinemas closed over the last two decades into Romania's state cinema network.
Under the name “Save the Big Screen”, the campaign draws attention to the shocking fact that, in spite of the international success of Romanian cinema and the constantly growing number of annual admissions, 78% of the country's towns do not have an active movie theatre. Tudor Giurgiu, president of the APFR, advertised the campaign during the Gopo gala, inviting a group of film professionals from all around the country to the event to talk about the dire situation of the national cinema network.
The campaign will put pressure on Romanian authorities to reopen the cinemas that have been turned into casinos, restaurants, clubs or supermarkets, or were simply closed soon after the 1989 Revolution. In 1990, the country had a national network of more than 450 screens, out of which only 30 are still open today. Only five state-controlled cinemas remain active in Bucharest, compared to almost 50 in the 1990s, which forces cinemagoers to accept the Hollywood-dominated line-ups of mall multiplexes. Romania currently has one of the highest numbers of inhabitants per screen in Europe, with only 70 one- or multi-screen cinemas active at the beginning of 2014, according to the country's most popular film website, Cinemagia.ro.
The Association shot a documentary, Alexandru Belc's Cinema, Mon Amour [+see also:
interview: Alexandru Belc
film profile], which portrays state cinema employees talking about their struggle to remain active and show arthouse films in a cinema landscape controlled by multiplexes. The documentary will be screened in the selection of the 13th edition of Transilvania International Film Festival (30 May-8 June).
APFR has also launched a website, www.salvatimareleecran.ro, where film lovers from all over the country are invited to name and post pictures of shut-down cinemas in their towns.