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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Moldova / Romania

Moldovan feature Carbon to wrap post-production soon


- Newcomer Ion Borş’s project received the WIP Europa Award at the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum in San Sebastián

Moldovan feature Carbon to wrap post-production soon
Dumitru Roman and Ion Vântu in Carbon

There were entire years when not a single Moldovan feature saw the light of day (or was screened outside of the country), but this seems to be changing: the debut feature Carbon [+see also:
film review
film profile
, directed by newcomer Ion Borş and produced by Sergiu Cumatrenco through Youbesc, recently won the WIP Europa Award after taking part in the Europe-Latin America Co-Production Forum at the most recent edition of the San Sebastián Film Festival (see the news). The project is also being produced by Kantora Film Production (Moldova), Pascaru Production (Moldova), Maya Film Studio (Romania) and Badeamic (Moldova). Post-production will wrap at the end of October or in November.

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The screenplay, written by Mariana Starciuc, tells a story set in the 1990s, when Dima (Dumitru Roman), a young tractor driver who dreams of enlisting in the Transnistria War, is joined by Vasea (Ion Vântu), a veteran of the Afghanistan War, but on their way to sign up, they happen upon a carbonised body. Dima and Vasea decide to bury the corpse according to proper Christian rituals, and as the authorities are not at all willing to help them identify the deceased, the two heroes will embark upon an absurd journey to discover his or her identity.

The film’s budget amounts to €430,000. The movie received support from the Moldovan National Film Center and was pitched over the last few years at Transilvania Pitch Stop, connecting cottbus and Vilnius Meeting Point. Ruben Agadjanean is the DoP, and Igor Caras, Vitalie Vasilache, Ion Coşeru and Viorel Cornescu play supporting characters.

Producer Sergiu Cumatrenco tells Cineuropa that filmmaking in his country is done “by artists and not by businessmen. Given the [rather inadequate] local funding system, it was clear from the very beginning that making the film would not be possible without international support. Nevertheless, a difficult start can point to a happy ending. Our limited resources – as limited as the resources of thousands of filmmakers around the globe – made us determined to approach pitching platforms in order to find international partners who believed in our authenticity.”

As for director Ion Borş, he describes the film as an ironic-grotesque tragicomedy that explores “how terrible war is by following the decomposition of human characters” and how “a society can be dehumanised through propaganda”. The helmer tells Cineuropa that, even though Carbon is set in the past, its audience may very well discover parallels with the present: “Although it was not a purpose from the very beginning, at one point, it struck me that this film also talks about the present. The official discourse has not changed much, and society is still divided. It is a good opportunity to look at the past and understand that we have not progressed very far.”

Carbon will be released in Moldova next year, hopefully after a world premiere at an important festival. The film’s team is currently searching for Romanian distribution partners in order to release Carbon in the neighbouring country.

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