Education programmes introduce thousands of Romanian teens to relevant cinema
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Organised at first by film festivals, audience development programmes may soar in 2017
Given that Romania has the lowest number of cinemas per number of inhabitants in Europe, some cinemagoers in the country may need to travel as far as 80 km in order to watch a film on the big screen. And more often than not, these films are mindless Hollywood blockbusters. But in this dire landscape, several educational programmes are successfully introducing young viewers to relevant cinema in dozens of cities.
For example, Éducation à l’image and EducaTIFF were launched in 2009, both organised by film festivals: the NexT International Film Festival in Bucharest and the Transilvania International Film Festival in Cluj-Napoca, respectively. Since their inception, more than 8,000 children and teenagers have attended the Éducation à l’image events, many of them subsequently returning for other screenings, and more than 30,000 have attended those organised by EducaTIFF.
Currently organised by the NexT Cultural Society, Éducation à l’image is preparing events for 2016-2017, with approximately 2,200 people expected to attend. Last year, in partnership with the Macondo Cultural Association, the Society also started up the CinEd audience development programme, comprising, among others, training for more than 200 teachers in six cities and screenings for more than 1,300 pupils in 14 cities. For next season, the Society plans to more than double these numbers.
Films for Teens, organised by the Macondo Cultural Association and Swiss organisation The Magic Lantern, is another important audience-development initiative: more than 15,000 teenagers attended the Films for Teens events during the 2015-2016 season, in 90 high schools in 14 cities. They watched six contemporary arthouse films, followed by discussions and debates about cinema.
Things may end up looking even rosier in the future, as the updated cinema law adopted at the end of November (read the news) clearly stipulates that the Romanian National Film Center and the Ministry of Education will collaborate on nationwide cinema programmes.