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The 19th Transilvania International Film Festival is postponed


- The leading Romanian gathering has been forced to change its usual late-May meeting to a later date, while its VoD platform TIFF Unlimited offers the quarantined audience some alternative options

The 19th Transilvania International Film Festival is postponed
The Transilvania International Film Festival venue Unirii Square (© Nicu Cherciu)

As has been announced by the festival organisers, the upcoming Transilvania International Film Festival, which was poised to unspool its 19th edition from 29 May-7 June in the historic capital of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca, has been postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organisers mention that they had to wait until now, having been mostly optimistic that the situation would be far better by the end of May, but the present circumstances both in Romania and around the world have forced them to make this tough decision. This is also the result of a string of cancellations and postponements of many festivals, while the film industry’s future seems extremely uncertain.

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We reached out to Mihai Chirilov, the artistic director of the Transilvania IFF, who stated: “This is the time when we are usually fully immersed in the process of watching the films submitted for the new edition of our festival – which we are still doing. TIFF goes on, so to speak, although it certainly won’t take place at the end of May, on the dates it was previously set to unspool. While hoping for better times ahead and a later summer date, we cannot simply stay still, and keep re-shaping the line-up, juggling several scenarios and taking into account any possible limitations given the current situation and its anticipated development.”

As definite new dates for the event can’t be confirmed at this point, it should be noted that the gathering’s main industry platform, Transilvania Pitch Stop, which has received many submissions, as it does every year, will also have to adhere to the new dates.

In this respect, Dorina Oargă, coordinator of TIFF Industry, informed us: “The Berlinale and all of the preparatory meetings for the upcoming edition of our festival seem so far away now. We are definitely trying to adjust rapidly to the global situation and continue to develop our industry programme as a quick response to the current needs of the industry. We are looking to propose some practical solutions for those taking part and some alternative platforms for support and project development, as well as several concrete measures to help overcome the major loss suffered by exhibitors.”

On the positive side, the festival’s streaming platform, TIFF Unlimited, which was launched during the last edition of the gathering (see the news), has increased its viewership by 400% over the past few weeks, as the portal offers free weekly premieres that always attract a wider audience. Incidentally, apart from cinema and culinary experiences, the platform will soon start hosting theatre shows and additional content.

Regarding TIFF Unlimited, Dorina Oargă, who also acts as its coordinator, mentioned: “The recent launch of our VoD platform TIFF Unlimited proved to be crucial for the online distribution of arthouse films. With the cinemas being closed, it’s the only viable solution for accessing festival-awarded films. Subscriptions have grown by approximately 50% in the last month and will continue to grow, thanks especially to the weekly programmes offered not only to our regular subscribers, but also to the general public and Romanian communities living abroad. Moreover, TIFF Unlimited supports the local artistic sector, proposing great recorded plays to those who may be interested, while the funds raised are intended to support the artists.”

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