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October 19, 2021

Film industry professionals want Culture Minister dismissed *Corina Suteu reacts and says she won’t give up on modifying film industry law

Culture Minister Corina Suteu (photo) is not giving up on her initiative to modify the film industry law. She published an answer saying the institution she leads will not allow itself to be lured into “fruitless debates over supposed legislative intentions” but will instead continue to work on finalising the film industry bill.

“The Culture Ministry will not allow itself to be lured in fruitless debates over supposed legislative intentions, but will instead continue to work on finalising the film industry bill, while consulting those directly concerned. The Culture Ministry’s intention to modify the film industry law in fact reflect European directives in this domain, and the use of terms such as “nationalisation,” “communism” or “the Council of Socialist Culture and Education” are nothing but a form of argumentation ad Stalinum,” Suteu stated.

In the minister’s opinion, “the statute of a public authority’s working document that ends up in the possession of private persons, before the authority itself deemed that the document concerned meets the said authority’s conditions of conformity and will (in this case will to legislate) is that of any other “leak”: it reflects nothing but the complex working process entailed by a legislative initiative,” “several drafts existing” at any one time in this process.

“The spreading of rumours and speculations does not reflect a form of decisional transparency but one of systemic pressure. On the other hand, the public hearing that the Culture Ministry organises on Tuesday, August 2, at 11 a.m., along with the Ministry for Public Consultation and Civic Dialogue, is a consultation (voluntary, not required by law) not over a finished document, not over a succession of articles and paragraphs, but one starting off from a set of ideas and principles that can be subjected to amendment following the hearing,” Suteu emphasised.

She expressed her hope that “the authors of the letter do not plan to extend the same view to the other cultural domains that benefit from subsidies or public grants.”

In what concerns “the appointment of the Board,” Suteu points out that “it is not the result of a decision taken by the Culture Minister arbitrarily, but was done in line with the law currently in force.”

“With the exception of the Culture Minister’s representative, all other five members – Alex Traila, Andrei Rus, Lucian Pricop, Horia Romanescu, Melina Boros – were proposed by relevant associations, in line with the law. And the fact that the members of the Board are professionals in this domain is proven precisely by the collaborations they took part in – with associations, producers and artists from the entire spectrum of the Romanian film industry, far more numerous than those listed in an accusing manner by the authors of the letter. The selection of Board members on the basis of professional activity serves only to try to artificially suggest a conspiracy whose existence would reduce the Culture Ministry’s entire reformation effort to a personal cabal. This cannot be answered with logical arguments,” reads Corina Suteu’s answer to the film industry professionals challenging her.

58 film industry professionals have signed an open letter to Premier Dacian Ciolos, asking him to sack Culture Minister Corina Suteu for her repeated attempts to modify the film industry law in an abusive manner favouring only a certain group while ignoring the film industry professionals’ opinion.

The signatories state that they will publish a document titled “Romanian cinema behind the glittering screen,” a document with data and figures on “the system that sponges off the Romanian film industry at the cover of international awards and appreciation.”

The signatories include film directors Cristian Comeaga, Radu Gabrea, Ioan Carmazan and Marius Barna, actors Florin Zamfirescu, Bogdan Stanoevici, Nicodim Ungureanu and Anca Sigartau, former CNC Director Decebal Mitulescu, film producers Vlad Paunescu, Doru Mitran, Bogdan Moncea, Mihai Bogos, Constantin Fugasin, and film critics Mihai Fulger and Anca Gradinari.

According to film director Cristian Comeaga, the changes to the film industry law should be brought about through another bill, “following parliamentary debates, not following an ordinance.”

Comeaga stated for Mediafax that the letter’s purpose is to “ask the Premier to conduct a legality audit focusing on what we, those on the outside, saw. (…) The essence of the whole story is for as much money as possible to enter the cinema fund and once all the instruments through which they are earmarked for certain productions, festivals, workshops end up being in existence. Namely the decision-making prerogatives, appraisal commissions, should be handed over to certain people in order for the funds to go where they are supposed to go in the end.”

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