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Alex Trăilă • Head of industry, TIFF

"Romania should be more actively involved in policy-making"


- Cineuropa chatted to Alex Trăilă, head of industry at the Transilvania International Film Festival, to discover more about Romanian Days and what the gathering means to professionals

Alex Trăilă  • Head of industry, TIFF
© Pamela Pianezza/

Cineuropa met up with Alex Trăilă, head of industry at the Transilvania International Film Festival, to discuss the Romanian Days programme and the importance of the festival for professionals in the region.

Cineuropa: What are the objectives of this year’s edition of Romanian Days?
Alex Trăilă: It came naturally to us to gather the existing and the new industry activities under one umbrella while the Romanian Days are taking place during the festival. We aim to establish a one-stop shop where decision makers travelling to Cluj will be able to find and meet key players from the Romanian film industry, from emerging filmmakers to projects in development and private screenings. On top of that, we have opened up our platform for participation to the Republic of Moldova.

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What is the profile of the professionals who are attending the industry programme? Are there any particular characteristics you could highlight?
TIFF has now reached its 14th edition and has built up a long list of festival friends during this period. We are very happy to welcome professionals with a taste for Romanian cinema, who would like to gradually discover what the Republic of Moldova has to offer, and most of all those who would like to be daring in terms of meeting new talent and getting on board their projects, or their finished but unreleased movies.

Can you highlight the most important events for the region, in your opinion?
The Sarajevo Film Festival, for sure – it is the most important hub and is growing even further, as we have seen over the past few years. On the other hand, a smaller but very well-attended event is When East Meets West in Trieste, and the Connecting Cottbus East-West Co-production Market is a longstanding institution. Last but not least, Karlovy Vary plays a role in screening movies from the region.

Why did you decide to get involved with #FEEDback, and what is the specific role of TIFF in this collaboration?
Well, this is a project that I am very attached to and deeply involved in. As I work for other, different industry platforms with a focus on Eastern Europe and the Balkans, I came to the conclusion that although Eastern Europe is a great arthouse content provider, it really lacks collaboration at the public-body level. Professionals do their best to set up co-productions and partnerships, but very often it is not so easy. And I will be critical when it comes to Romania – for example, we have a ten-year-old law that it is quite difficult to make amendments to, and this makes it nearly impossible for a producer to get involved as a minority co-producer in a European project. Also, I wish that Eastern European films could be available in Eastern European countries and not only in a dedicated showcase week organised by a cultural institute. Basically, the small territories can – and should – find ways of cooperating more closely, especially in the new digital landscape. I have the strong belief that Romania should be more actively involved in policy-making, and TIFF is a good platform for this, as it has the potential to be the initiator of such a dialogue. We are very happy to have Creative Europe – MEDIA Desk Romania as a partner for the first meeting that will be taking place now in Cluj. The final format of #FEEDback, with all the fine details in place, would not have been possible without the brainstorming and help from Alessandro Gropplero (WEMW) and Rebekka Garrido (Connecting Cottbus).

What are the main challenges on the horizon for the Romanian film industry?
In my opinion, Romania has to raise its level of active involvement in the European audiovisual landscape on one hand, and certainly internally, there is a strong need to change the cinema law. We need to update the law, the funding schemes and the promotional strategy to meet current needs while also anticipating some of the future international developments. A commitment to further education and micro-budget movies would help to create and equip a new wave of professionals.

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