Liviu Mărghidan in late post-production with his third feature, Refuge
- The drama film, shot entirely outdoors, centres on two siblings who are separated by their parents
A well-known director of photography before switching to directing, Romania’s Liviu Mărghidan is currently in late post-production with his third feature, Refuge. The family drama, centring on two siblings separated by their parents, is one of the very few Romanian films where the protagonists are children. The picture is being staged by Ruxandra Flonta, through Scharf Film. Chainsaw Europe (Romania) is the co-production company, with Viorel Chesaru serving as co-producer.
The screenplay, written by Alexandru Popa and the director himself, focuses on a shattered family: after the divorce of their parents (Judith State and Dragoş Olaru), two siblings (Adela Mărghidan and Radu Mărghidan) are separated, the girl living with her mother in France and the boy with his father in Romania. Every year, the family reunites for a few days to go mountain climbing in a nature reserve. But when the last day of their happy reunion approaches, the children wish they could stay together for longer, and so they run away from their parents.
The budget amounts to circa €750,000, with approximately €165,000 coming from the Romanian National Film Center. The film was shot in June and July 2020, with another week of production in the summer of 2021. The DoP was Mircea Valentin.
Ruxandra Flonta tells Cineuropa that the shoot was taxing for the entire team, as four to seven hours of hiking were necessary just to get to the locations. “Due to the high degree of effort involved and the limited conditions in terms of accommodation, the crew had to be very small,” the producer says. “We organised two lengthy climbs on the Piatra Craiului ridge, where we spent five days each time, in a tent or a mountain cabin. The climb was even more difficult as each member of the crew had to carry their own food, water and basic items. We experienced all types of weather – ranging from summer- to winter-time conditions,” she adds.
Liviu Mărghidan says of his movie: “It is not a family film, not in the traditional meaning of the term. It is the story of a shattered family, a common issue these days. And especially, it is the story of the two siblings and their powerful connection.” The director also says that, even if Refuge is not a children’s film per se, the Romanian audience strongly needs more titles in this genre. “We have a strong need for children’s films – movies able to inspire them, to guide them and, first and foremost, to invite them outdoors. In Romania, we have absolutely no children’s films,” says the director, who has already directed two such features: The Sentries and its sequel, The Sentries of the Delta.
Plans are being made for a national release for Refuge this autumn.
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