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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Romania / Poland

Florin Şerban to release “feminine thriller” Hamlet later this year

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- The director has adopted a personal approach to both the film’s financing and its distribution

Florin Şerban to release “feminine thriller” Hamlet later this year
Irina Tufescu and Cosmina Stratan in Hamlet

Given the fact that in small film industries, thrillers very rarely get financial support from public institutions, Romanian director Florin Şerban (If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Ada Condeescu
film profile
]
, Love I. Dog [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Florin Şerban
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) has independently produced Hamlet, a psychological thriller that starts off with a stage production of Shakespeare’s play of the same name, only to veer off in an unexpected direction. The film is being staged by Şerban’s Fantascope Films, SoundMind (Poland), Avanpost (Romania), Actoriedefilm.ro (Romania) and Earlybird (Romania). The feature has as many as 19 co-producers, including the cast and members of the technical team.

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The screenplay, written by Şerban, starts with a casting session for Hamlet. There are five characters who die in Shakespeare’s play: Ofelia, Polonius, Gertrude, Claudius and Laert. And then Hamlet. Five actresses come along for the casting. The door opens, and Hamlet shows up. And he has a proposition for the actresses: they will all act to the death.

The budget amounts to €230,000. The film was shot in 2020 in a Bucharest studio and in the Comana Natural Park. Andrei Butică (Ana, mon amour [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Călin Peter Netzer
film profile
]
) is the film’s DoP and is also one of the film’s co-producers. The main characters are played by Cosmina Stratan, Roberta Antonie, Andreea Grămoşteanu, Irina Tufescu, Sabrina Iaşchevici and Igor Babiac. Besides taking on writing, directing and producing duties, Şerban was also in charge of the editing.

The director tells Cineuropa that Hamlet is a “high-concept thriller” and “a feminine thriller. […] As genre films very rarely get financing in Romania, […] making it independently was the only viable solution. It boasts investment from Fantascope Films, but the entire cast, the companies that joined the venture and many people from the team agreed that we would all participate in it as co-producers and would share part of the earnings. It is a risky financial endeavour, but this aspect was not important. Together, we have made a powerful film, a movie that both conveys emotion to and changes the viewer, a film that haunts you. It would have come out so differently if it had been financed in the traditional way – without doubt not as powerful or as honest,” Şerban explains.

Hamlet was supposed to be released this spring, but the team chose to postpone the release when the war broke out in neighbouring Ukraine at the end of February. Also, Şerban says that his film is intended for private viewing and that it will never be screened in Romanian cinemas.

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