The TIFF success is being emulated in Cluj. The first edition of the first Romanian comedy festival is beginning tomorrow. Learning a lot from the TIFF experience but trying not to replicate its already ‘traditional’ offer (that being transgressing, often cruel and impudent), ‘Comedy Cluj’ counts on a different genre, risking easier success but also a big disappointment. A disposition to period films (inter-bellum ones but also Romanian films of the communist age), a ‘multicultural’ range of recent movies, a debut with a ‘French-speaking’ retrospective, as well as an already common look at neighbouring Hungary’s productions and a parallel short film section in the competition. It is using the recipe of the already established TIFF and the good co-operation with the National Cinema Centre, the main sponsor of an unusual project proposed by cinema outsiders (the festival director is Cluj businessman Sorin Dan, owner of the City Plaza Hotel where the TIFF major guests usually stay). However, the person who selects the films is from the ‘system’. His name is Vladimir Marin, being a film producer for many years in the communist period and then the Director of Romaniafilm. The long film contest includes 12 movies from 10 countries.
The jury will be chaired by Belgian film director Yvan LeMoine, also the Director of the French Festival of ‘La Ciotatt’, helped by another festival Director – ‘Piedmont’, in Turin – Vittorio Sclaverani, and by the President of the National Film Council of Bulgaria, Alexander Grozev. A special point of the debut edition is the co-operation with the French Cultural Centre that, assisted by the French Ministry of Culture, had facilitated the presentation of 12 archive films directed by the classics Jacques Tati (a medallion of four productions), Sacha Guitry, Jean Vigo, Jean Renoir or even Marguerite Duras. Sorin Dan has even expressed his interest in a project for the restoration of old Romanian films that are facing irreversible degradation, following the model of the ‘Groupama GAN for Cinema’ foundation that gives the annual ‘Un Certain regard’ award at the Cannes Festival with this festival is already working. In fact, the foundation President, Gilles Duval, and the President of the Thompson Foundation, Severine Wemaere, will host a workshop on film restoration. The nearly 200 viewings will take place in four places (three cinemas and a student culture club), during ten days (November 10 – 18), including about 70 different titles. Napoleon Helmis ‘Nunta in Basarabia’/’Wedding in Bessarabia’ will be premiered during the festival. Romanian actors Marin Moraru and Tora Vasilescu will be each offered an Award of Excellence. Despite the budget difficulties (about RON 1 M had to be collected), the organisers think it could become a top festival in Europe.
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