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Adrian Sitaru • Director

POV is the future of cinema


- Thirty-seven-year old Adrian Sitaru made a name for himself when his short film Waves won the Leopards of Tomorrow section of the 2007 Locarno International Film Festival

Adrian  Sitaru  • Director

Thirty-seven-year old Adrian Sitaru, born in the Transylvanian town of Deva, made a name for himself when his short film Waves won the Leopards of Tomorrow section of the 2007 Locarno International Film Festival. After screening in several European film festivals as a Romanian work in progress, his first feature Hooked [+see also:
film review
interview: Adrian Sitaru
film profile
became a co-production when France’s Movie Partners in Motion Film and broadcaster Arte got involved in the project, backing the film’s post-production.

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Hooked premiered in the Venice Days sidebar of the 2008 Venice International Film Festival and went on to win the Special Jury Award Silver Alexander and the ex-aequo Best Actress prize for Ioana Flora and Maria Dinulescu at the latest Thessaloniki Film Festival.

Cineuropa: What was the budget for Hooked?
Adrian Sitaru : I think that everything I used on set that would count as a shooting budget would be about €100,000 for the entire production, including the actors’, cinematographers’ and boom operators’ fees, equipment rental, and my own fees for writing and directing the picture. But since we shot it guerilla-style we spent much less cash at the time.

Still, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t start repaying those who performed or gave us equipment for free, now that the film will be distributed in at least eight European countries. That is why €100,000 is a realistic budget for the pre-production and production of this film.

How did you pick Adrian Titieni, Ioana Flora and Maria Dinulescu as the leads?
I had been thinking of Adrian Titieni for the part even while I was writing the script. Of course, we had a casting call, I saw another two or three contenders, but Adrian proved to be the obvious choice. I wasn’t that decided about the female parts until I saw Ioana in a few plays in Bucharest. I still had doubts about the trickiest of the three characters. I had to hold a few auditions until I found an actress and we began shooting. Unfortunately, after a few days I had to cancel everything because she wasn’t quite right, and I held another casting call. Adrian told me to call Maria, she came to the audition and I realized that she was the kind of natural and outgoing actress I was looking for.

What were your initial expectations for this film?
We thought of it more like a student film in the beginning. I wasn’t expecting this picture to go very far, so I talked to the actors and DoP Adrian Silisteanu and told them that I needed their collaboration for this project, but I couldn’t offer much money at the time, as I was paying everything myself. I really saw Hooked as an experiment, so I did the rough cut on my own, after the first ten days of shooting were over. It was only after I showed it to a couple of people and I was told that this film really stands a chance that I began to think that maybe the film was worth something.

Did you intend to shoot everything in POV right from the start?
The first draft consisted of the same story as seen by each of the characters. Then I thought it would be too boring and predictable, so I tried a classic, detached structure, which seemed very cold. After several drafts, I decided to combine the POVs and try to create this video game feeling. I guess that was the right decision for the story.

Anyway, I think that POV is definitely the future of cinema. Dolby Surround Sound, 3D, IMAX, the handheld camera, which is used extensively today both in commercial and arthouse movies, are more than enough proof of that.

What is different in the final version of Hooked from the first work in progress screenings?
The structure is not different at all, except for a few details, but, technically speaking, this is a completely different film. Given that Hooked was shot on MiniDV, it really looks and sounds amazing at the moment. The French producers did an incredible job with the film’s color correction and sound design. They basically re-invented all the ambient sound, as we hadn’t recorded anything else than the characters’ dialogues on the set, sometimes also affected by outdoor sounds or the car’s engine.

The film really looks like true cinema in the current version and I am very thankful to my co-producers for making all that amazing work possible.

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