21st Astra Film Festival to kick off on 6 October
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Trading Germans, a documentary about the ethnic Germans sold by Romania to Germany, is in the selection
Over 120 documentaries selected from among 1,400 entries will be screened at the 21st edition of the Astra Film Festival, Romania's leading documentary festival. Hosted by the city of Sibiu from 6-12 October, Astra Film Festival is the local beating heart of non-fiction cinema, with Romanian anthropologist, documentary maker and photographer Dumitru Budrala serving as its president.
The event has several sidebars, four of them competitive. “International” will screen some of the newest documentaries in the world, while “Eastern and Central Europe” will focus on the region's social identity. “Student” will screen documentaries directed by students at film schools in Geneva, Manchester, London, Munich, Budapest, Bucharest and San Antonio de los Baños (Cuba). Lastly, the “Romania” sidebar features the most interesting documentaries produced domestically since the last edition of the festival, but also films about Romanian topics.
One of the most intriguing Romanian films to be screened at Astra 2014 is Trading Germans, an HBO production directed by Răzvan Georgescu about how Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu sold approximately 245,000 ethnic Germans to Germany, between 1968 and 1989, for a total amount estimated at one to three billion Deutsche Marks. With a world premiere at Astra, the documentary will also be released in cinemas.
Also among the selection are Alyiah DaDa, directed by Oana Giurgiu, who explores the history of the Romanian Jewish community; Waiting for August (Teodora Ana Mihai), about the life of seven children from the city of Bacău who live by themselves; and Les Fleurs de l’ombre (Olivier Magis), about a beauty pageant for blind women held every year in the city of Brăila.