Producers on the Move 2013 - Romania
by Stefan Dobroiu
- Founder of Mandragora Film in 2004, Anca Puiu became well known as a producer for The Death of Mr. Lazarescu. She is currently developing Puiu’s new project, At the Manor
Anca Puiu founded Mandragora Film in 2004, together with her husband, Cristi Puiu. Mandragora Film became famous in 2005 when Puiu's film, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes, opening the path for the so-called Romanian New Wave. She is now responsible for other Mandragora production efforts, from successful features, such as Marian Crisan's Morgen (Special Jury Prize - Locarno 2010) and Rocker and Cristi Puiu's Aurora, to documentaries and TV-series. She is now developing Puiu's next feature, At the Manor.
Cineuropa: How did you become a producer?
Anca Puiu: It was because of Cristi. In 2004, he decided to found a production company and then it just happened. I took over when our third associate, Alex Munteanu, who was in charge of the company for its first three years of activity, decided to leave. But I can say that almost everything I know and do is because of Cristi, whose love and passion for cinema is so great that it infects all those around him. He does it with such ease and confidence that he succeeded in bringing back Romanian cinema.
You are developping At the Manor, Cristi Puiu's new project. What's the biggest challenge this new film faces from a producer's point of view?
I think it's too early to speak about this film, as it will only be shot in 2014. It's a very difficult project, being Cristi's first period drama. It will cost a great deal, approximately €1m if we shoot it in Romania, and perhaps more than twice this amount if we shoot it in France or Spain.
The events in the film take place at the turn of the 19th century and the context, a hunt organized in the high society of those times, at a manor, requires a lot of preparation. We also need lots of dogs and beautiful horses! Cristi went location-scouting in some places in Romania and found interesting manors. One of them was owned by Istrate Micescu, a former Minister of Justice. It looks spectacular, surrounded by a forest, with its own little church. We hope to be able to shoot there next spring, although it will need extensive restoration in order to look convincing as the residence of a wealthy family. Shooting abroad is also a solution, but it will be more expensive. I welcome other production companies willing to invest in cinema!
You have been named consultant on film industry issues for the Romanian Prime-Minister, Victor Ponta. How has the Romanian authorities' position towards domestic cinema changed recently and what aspects do you think they are more likely to improve in the near future?
Yes, my job is to encourage young filmmakers and find ways to support cinema in Romania. Personally, I think that Prime-Minister Ponta was very receptive to our needs for discussing solutions. He obviously has very good intentions towards changes in the legislation or the restructure of our National Film Center, the CNC, which is essential for continuing with the new interesting film projects Romania has to offer right now.
What do you expect from the Producers on the Move programme?
I have big expectations. Very big. I would like to find two or three foreign producers interested in working on the Romanian projects I am developing right now.
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