New cinema law: What Romanian filmmakers want
by Stefan Dobroiu
- The announcement of a new statute for the Romanian National Film Center and a new cinema law has triggered a flurry of requests
The Romanian Ministry of Culture has announced that by October, the local film industry will benefit from both a new cinema law and a new statute for the Romanian National Film Center (read the news). Currently, Ministry and Center representatives are meeting with directors, producers, actors, distributors and exhibitors in order to identify the industry’s most urgent problems and the solutions to them.
Among the film community’s biggest priorities are project contest rules that encourage new Romanian directors and producers. After a dark era when the Center’s funds went to the “dinosaurs” of Romanian cinema instead of promising younger voices such as Cristi Puiu, Cristian Mungiu and many others, the statute was changed in order to encourage production, but currently the already established directors and producers are at a great advantage when compared to their first-timer counterparts.
Another controversial aspect of the Center’s activity is the absence of a project competition focusing on co-productions. There is also a lack of a project competition for low-budget productions, which would make things even easier for very young directors and producers wishing to make their first features, thus increasing the diversity of genres and topics tackled in local films.
The highly controversial rule of the “secret file” (a rule that requires directors and producers not to discuss their projects in the press during the months needed by the Center’s commissions to evaluate the projects) is expected to disappear from the new statute, which may also require the members of the commissions to justify in writing why a certain project was rejected.
Help for the distribution and promotion of domestic releases is another pressing problem in the local film industry, but the most beneficial change would be a tax-shelter strategy, which could, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, increase the annual film industry’s turnover to as much as €350 million (read the news).