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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Romania / France / Greece

Romanian director Andrei Tănase goes hunting for Rihanna in his first feature, Tiger


- The drama film inspired by real events centres on the escape of an adult tiger from a provincial zoo

Romanian director Andrei Tănase goes hunting for Rihanna in his first feature, Tiger
Director Andrei Tănase

Romanian director Andrei Tănase is currently preparing his first feature, Tiger (working title), which stars a live, adult tiger. The drama is being staged by Anamaria Antoci and Irena Isbăşescu through Domestic Film (Romania). Alexa Rivero is co-producing through Altamar Films (France) together with Konstantina Stavrianou from Graal (Greece).

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The screenplay, written by Tănase, centres on Vera (Cătălina Moga), a veterinarian working for a provincial zoo. Following a personal tragedy, Vera has become more and more estranged from her husband, Toma (Paul Ipate), and when she realises that he has been cheating on her, her distress leads to the escape of Rihanna, an adult tiger that has just been bought by the zoo. As the entire town hurries to take part in the desperate search for the tiger, Vera will go through various misadventures that will challenge her entire view on life.

The film’s budget amounts to circa €950,000, with approximately €300,000 coming from the Romanian National Film Center. The shoot is scheduled over 26 days, in July and August, in Bucharest and the city of Târgu Mureş. Barbu Bălăşoiu (Sieranevada [+see also:
film review
Q&A: Cristi Puiu
film profile
) is the DoP.

Producer Anamaria Antoci tells Cineuropa that the most challenging aspect of her project is without doubt working with a real tiger, which will be brought over from France. “We will be working with one of the world’s most renowned big-cat handlers, Thierry le Portier, who also worked on productions such as Gladiator and Life of Pi." Antoci bets Tiger will be one of those films that “haunt the viewers long after they leave the cinema”.

Andrei Tănase says that his film was inspired by a real event that took place in 2011 in the city of Sibiu: the carelessness of a zoo employee led to a female tiger fleeing into the neighbouring woods. After wandering around for hours and even reaching one of the city’s neighbourhoods, the tiger was eventually killed by one of the hunters sent to capture it. “I was shaken by the images broadcasted on the news, with the lifeless body hauled in an old pickup truck while various passers-by took pictures. At first, I found them utterly sad [...] but then I realised that that grand beast, which had lived chained up in a cage in a provincial zoo, enjoyed a few hours of freedom, maybe for the first time in its life. It breathed the air of the forest and died free,” says the director.

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