Cannes 2017: A Romanian project at the Workshop section

From one edition to another, the official section is more and more competing with parallel events, which are apparently adjacent. Other events are a possible reply to the movies competing for Palme d`Or, hoping to be included as soon as possible in the main program, where, of course, the visibility is much higher. We discover steps of this upsurge towards which more and more competitors are coming. For instance, this year, the selection committee retained only 9 movies of a total of 4843 short films. The number of the movies in the Short Waves section, where beginners of all kinds can be found, is also impressive.

Even lower in this construction, there are the project movies, for which an international financial arrangement is sought. Cannes hosts a section entitled Atelier (Workshop), as a wing of the Cinéfondation, established in 2005, with beneficial consequences in launching new promotions of filmmakers worldwide. From Romania, benchmark names have been invited to Cinéfondation: Catalin Mitulescu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Adrian Sitaru (photo). Important filmmakers also attended even the above mentioned Workshop, too, over the years: Cristi Puiu, Catalin Mitulescu, Razvan Radulescu.

In 2017, we also meet a Romanian project. It is developed by the film director Ruxandra Ghitescu and by the producer Iuliana Tarnovetchi. The title of their possible movie is Otto the Barbarian. The premises assigned within the Workshop can be found in the Pavilion no.227 in the wide area of Village International-Pantiero, on the same side with Palais, before arriving to the Debussy Hall. Before saying a few things related on the project itself, we should mention that it is part of a relatively small selection which includes only 15 titles.

They come from all over the world: Palestine, Mongolia, Dominican Republic, Singapore, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Israel, Hong Kong, Romania, South Africa, Mexico, Syria, Jordan, France, Denmark, England. Most of them belong to the young filmmakers and aim to approach topics related to their age, but not only. We meet the most interesting characters and situations. They refer to the marginalization of the young people, the fragility of the couple, the dangers encountered by teenagers when they start facing the life, the still active tragedies of the Apartheid, the situation of the Nigerian immigrants in Saigon, the psychiatric manifestations of the youngsters, the relationships in which 16 years old young girls are involved, the destiny of a Syrian man who went in Australia, returning to Damascus to save his family. There are dramatic portrayals, as well as walks through unusual landscapes (the rural Israel, for example), or the 200-kilometer journey in a charming, but full of surprises Bangladesh.

As for the Romanian proposal, we should mention that it is included in the same thematic area. Otto is a lively and charming teenager. E is 17 years old, and since he is a member of a punk group, he is forced to cope with complicated situations. His problems begin when his young girlfriend Laura, which makes him feel lost forever. The movie is an investigation in the context of the girl’s death, an insight in the families of the two youngsters, with a video transcript of the girl’s diary, actually a dispute between teenagers and adults. The author, Ruxandra Ghitescu, already has two known short films: “Urban Groove” (2011) and “The Family Stories” (2013). She applied for the Berlin Festival in 2015 and 2016, for Project Labs Berlinale Talents, succeeding to be selected, although the competition was very fierce (2761 projects).

Of course it is still too early to estimate all the result, but we hope that the 13th edition of the Workshop will bring luck to the young filmmaker, so we will able to see her movie, “Otto the Barbarian”, as soon as possible.


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