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7th Romanian Film Festival Seattle announcing line-up of events and online screenings

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Romanian Film Festival Seattle / November 13-15  & November 20-21 / STREAMING ONLINE
 

The American Romanian Cultural Society (ARCS) is excited to announce the full lineup for the 7th Edition of The Romanian Film Festival Seattle, screening virtually via Northwest Film Forum with two weekends of programming: November 13-15 & November 20-21. This year’s lineup features films that tie into the theme of "resilience" and coming together to enact change—politically and personally—within ourselves and the world.

The 7th edition of the Romanian Film Festival, entitled "One Eye Laughing, One Eye Crying: RESILIENT TOGETHER," will be like no other. The festival will grow into a new creative format, responding to the vital need for our community to stay connected. The American Romanian Cultural Society Seattle invites you to watch inspiring stories of resilience and solidarity, from the comfort of your homes, to imagine the world after the pandemic, and explore new possibilities for social change. In addition to streaming films, there will be virtual opportunities to interact with local, national and international special guests.

All films included in the festival will stream on Northwest Film Forum's Eventive platform, and are available to watch from anywhere in the US. Viewers can purchase the film and watch it when it is most convenient for them (during the festival). Ticket holders will have between 2-5 days to finish watching the film after purchase. Few restrictions may apply to certain films; you will find specific instructions on the Eventive page for each screening. 

The majority of films will feature a filmmaker Q&A; while the films themselves will be available to watch at any time during the festival, Q&As will go live at specific times scheduled throughout fest week. These times are announced on each individual listing. After a Q&A is live, it will be automatically added to the film program for the remainder of the festival. 

The first night of the festival kicks off with the West Premiere of Cristi Puiu’s most recent film Malmkrog, a three-in-one project: an adaptation of Vladimir Solovyov’s Three Conversations, a period drama beautifully recreating the turn of the twentieth century, and a philosophical symposium. Winner of the Encounters Award for the Best Director at Berlin Film Festival, Cristi Puiu declared that his film is “prophetic.” A discussion about Puiu's craft and latest work with special guest Monica Filimon, author of "Cristi Puiu: Ineffable Experiences of the Profane World," will follow. 

Other highlights include the US Premiere of Uppercase Print/Tipografic Majuscul by Radu Jude - a fact-based docudrama “commemorating a brave teenage rebel crushed for speaking out against the former Communist regime” (Hollywood Reporter), followed by a panel discussion; the US Premiere of Otto the Barbarian by Ruxandra Ghițescu, a sincere and psychologically accurate examination of a teenager’s feelings ranging from grief and sadness to love and happiness; and Alexandru Nanau's Collective, which follows the actions and activism of a community in Bucharest in 2015 after a tragic fire in a club killed 27 people on one night and many more in the following weeks. There will be Q&As with both Ghițescu and Nanau following the livestreams of their films. 
 
Additional special guests include actress Alina Șerban, who stars in Gipsy Queen and will also present her short film Letter of ForgivenessDragoș Turea, director of The Soviet GardenRadu Ciorniciuc, director of Acasă, My Home; and Andrei Zinca, director of So, What is Freedom? 
 
See the full schedule below. Tickets are on sale now through
NWFF’s Eventive virtual cinema platform!
 
To request festival tickets, screeners for review, image requests, or interviews with organizers or special guests, contact Amie Simon: amie@smarthousecreative.com | 206.355.5535
 
TICKET PRICING AND INFO
PASSES
Festival Pass: Sliding Scale from $85 - $125 
SINGLE TICKETS
Sliding Scale from $10 - $25

PASSES AND TICKETS AVAILABLE AT NWFF NOW

 
TOP ROW L-R: Alina Serban in Gipsy Queen; a still from the animated fantasy Marona's Fantastic Tale
MIDDLE IMAGE: A scene from Malmkrog, directed by Cristi Puiu
BOTTOM ROW L-R: Judith Slate & Christian Popa in Monsters; Ioana Jacob in Uppercase Print
FESTIVAL SCHEDULE
WEST COAST PREMIERE | Malmkrog (2020) | Director: Cristi Puiu
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
Cristi Puiu’s most recent film is a three-in-one project: it is an adaptation of Vladimir Solovyov’s Three Conversations, a period drama beautifully recreating the turn of the twentieth century, and a philosophical symposium. Divided in 6 parts—one for each protagonist—this study of the well-mannered, yet intellectually fierce and, at times, condescending, theoretical debates, present a “slice of life” that froze in its eternal futility. Only years before WWI, in an aristocratic manor somewhere in Transylvania, the wealthy businessman Edouard, the landowner Nikolai, the young and naïve Olga, the mature and ironic Madeleine, Ingrida—the wife of a Russian general—and the butler Istvan exchange ideas on war and peace, good and evil, religion, identity, and politics. Malmkrog is a grand feast for the eye as it is for the mind: the abundance of visual details is matched by the dialogue packed with hard concepts. Winner of the Encounters Award for the Best Director at Berlin Film Festival, Cristi Puiu declared that his film is “prophetic.” A Q&A with special guest Monica Filimon, author of Cristi Puiu: Ineffable Experiences of the Profane World will also be available; see Event Schedule below. 

WEST COAST PREMIERE | Acasă, My Home (2020) | Director: Radu Ciorniciuc
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
Recording the life of a family with 9 children, who lived in a shack in the Delta Văcăresti in Bucharest with no electricity and running water, the documentary raises questions about nature and civilization, individuals’ freedom and society rules, happiness and the standard of living. Radu Ciorniciuc's debut documentary received several international awards among which were the Special Prize of the Jury at the Saloniki Film Festival, the Special Jury Award for Cinematography at Sundance, the Human Rights Award at Sarajevo, and the Golden Horn at Krakow.  A Q&A and online discussion with special guests director Radu Ciorniciuc, and UiPath Foundation Executive Director, Raluca Negulescu-Balaci will also be available; see Event Schedule below. 

WA STATE PREMIERE | A Shelter Among the Clouds (2018) | Director: Robert Budina
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
Set in the mountains of Albania, the story of Besnik, a goat shepherd who takes care of a sick father, unfolds slowly as does the reclusive life of the village. Besnik’s accidental discovery of an old Roman Catholic fresco in the currently functional Mosque becomes an emblematic event both for himself and his village. Inspired by the real history of a church which has changed hands several times between Christians and Muslims for almost 600 years, the film delicately explores the relations in interfaith families, the tension between an individual’s faith and freedom, and religious tolerance, which in the end is embraced by the village. Internationally acclaimed, A Shelter Among the Clouds won the Global Vision Award at San Jose, the Best Balkan Film prize at Prishtina, and the Cinema of Small Nations prize at Valletta.

WEST COAST PREMIERE | Monsters (2019) | Director: Marius Olteanu
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
An unusual love story, Olteanu’s debut feature film presents one day that leads to the breakup of a long-married couple. Reversing old clichés, the two protagonists—Dana and her husband, Artur—acknowledge the difficulty to let one another go, in spite of the fact that they both admit that there is no love between them, but only camaraderie. Questioning the reasons why couples stay together, the film is an honest portrayal of the complex ties that keep spouses together. Monsters received twenty nominations and several prizes for the best feature film at international film festivals in Romania, Bulgaria, and India, the best screenplay at Berlin, and Herceg Novi, and for the best actress in a leading role for Judith State at Gopo Awards, Romania. A Q&A with director Marius Olteanu will also be available; See Event Schedule below. 

US PREMIERE | Uppercase Print (2020) | Director: Radu Jude 
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
Inspired by a 1981 real event—Mugur Călinescu, a high school student in a provincial city, writes graffiti messages about food shortages and lack of freedom—Jude’s film combines archival footage from Romania’s infamous secret police, old TV clips, and a cinematic recreation of Gianina Cărbunariu’s “documentary play” by the same title. Once caught, Mugur, his family, neighbors, and friends, all go through intimidation and interrogation, which break any form of resistance. Camera, like in Jude’s other films, is not simply a recording device, but a conscious witness who adds to the story its own point of view. Uppercase Print was nominated for the Best Feature Film award at IndieLisboa Independent Film festival in Portugal and at the Transilvania International Film Festival.

US PREMIERE | The Soviet Garden | Director: Dragoș Turea
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
The connection between the mysterious death of the director’s grandmother and the history of the Soviet experiments in atomic gardening demands the unveiling of the Soviet agriculture policies and their health and ecological consequences. Initially encouraged, later threatened, Moldovan scientists had to engineer seeds to produce bigger crops. Combining archival footage with first-hand witnesses’ accounts, the film feels more like a mystery film than a documentary. Appreciated by film critics and the public at large, the documentary was nominated at the Astra Film Festival Award in Sibiu and at the Sarajevo Film Competition. A Q&A with director Dragoș Turea will be paired with this film; see Event Schedule below. 

US PREMIERE | Otto the Barbarian (2020) | Director: Ruxandra Ghițescu
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
A sincere and psychologically accurate examination of a teenager’s feelings ranging from grief and sadness to love and happiness, Ruxandra Ghițescu’s debut film lets the camera follow Otto’s wanderings as he tries to cope with his girlfriend’s suicide. Impeccably acted by a father and son both in the film and real life—Adrian and Marc Titieni—as well as Ioana Flora playing the victim’s mother, and Ioana Bugarin playing Laura, Otto’s girlfriend, the film is a coming-of-age story with an incredibly good press even though it had the world premiere only a couple of months ago at the Sarajevo Film Festival. A Q&A with director Ruxandra Ghițescu will be paired with this film; see Event Schedule below. 

Marona's Fantastic Tale (2019) | Director: Anca Damian
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
Marona is a little dog who survives a car accident and recalls all her masters she loved unconditionally. Beautifully told and colorfully drawn, this animation presents ordinary episodes in a life of a pet from the pet’s point of view, imagining, or rather revealing, what animals go through in a world controlled by humans. Selected at numerous festivals, Marona’s Fantastic Tale won the Best Animated Feature at the Bucheon International Animation Film Festival, the Dublin Film Critics’ Special Jury Prize, the Audience Award at Gijon, and the Grand Prize at the Tokyo Anime Award.

So, What's Freedom? (2020) | Director: Andrei Zinca
Available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22
So… What’s freedom?
 is an adaptation of Ana Blandiana’s short story Past Projects. Inspired by true events, the film recreates the drama of a handful of people out of the 40,000 innocents who were deported to the huge fields of Bărăgan, a sort of no man’s land of Romania in the 1950s. A history teacher who puts his hopes in the change promised by communists, his intelligent wife who teaches French and dreams to go to Paris, a Hungarian Romanian, a German Romanian, the family of an Orthodox priest, and a former soldier have to build literally from ground up first a shack, then small adobe houses, in order to survive the harsh winters and hot summers. They trade their jewels for food and a few animals. Life goes on at a huge price but they never lose their dignity and that sets them free. The minimalistic, yet well informed script, the incredibly beautiful cinematography, excellent acting, and subtle music do not provide answers to the question in the title of the film, but suggest that the question is more important than the answer.

US PREMIERES | Gispy Queen (2020), preceded by the short film Letter of Forgiveness (2020)
Both films available to watch Friday, November 13 through Sunday, November 22


Gipsy Queen (2020) | Director: Hüseyin Tabak
The inspiring boxing story of the Roma single mother Ali follows her challenges both in Romania and in Germany. With the heart of a lioness, Ali is proud, doesn‘t complain, and works herself to the bone for her two children, Esmeralda and Mateo. She becomes a cleaner in Hamburg‘s famous „Ritze“ underground club, where she soon starts training with the owner of the club, former boxer. Recalling training with her father, she regains confidence in her boxing skills. Fully equipped and disappointed by life, Ali vents her fury on the punching bag as she hopes for a chance of a better life. Alina Serban received the Best Leading Actress Award for her role as Ali, and Tobias Moretti received the Best Supporting Actor for his role as Tanne from the German Screen Actors organization. Gipsy Queen won the Best Film Award at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival where Alina Serban also won the Best Actress Award.

Letter of Forgiveness (2020) | Director: Alina Serban
In the household of a wealthy Romanian noblewoman in 1855, Maria, a Roma-Gipsy slave, fights to obtain freedom for her son Dinca. Based on a true story of a Roma mother and son whose life changed the course of Romanian history by bringing about the abolition of slavery sooner. Part of a future full-length project, the short film presents a day in the household in which Maria and her son, Dinca, serve as slaves. As important guests arrive for dinner and all the slaves are making preparations, Maria and her son see this day as a chance to take a step to change their fate. During slavery time, up until 1856, the Romanian equivalent of the word “forgiveness” was used when referring to freeing someone from slavery (the Roma slave was “forgiven” from slavery). A Q&A with actress and director Alina Serban will be also be available; see Event Schedule below.

US Premiere (Nov 20 by Magnolia Pictures) | Collective (2019) | Director: Alexandru Nanau
Available to watch Saturday, November 21 through Sunday, November 22

In the 2015 tragic fire in a Bucharest club, 27 people died on one night and many more in the following weeks because of an inefficient and corrupt health system. Connecting the dots between the stories told by journalists, whistle blowers, doctors, politicians, the film allows images to speak for the suffering and the resilience of the Collective Club victims. Collective has an impressive list of awards, among which are the Best International Film at DocAviv Israel, the Grand Jury Prize at the One World International Human Rights Documentary Festival in Prague, the Documentary Award in Luxembourg, the Grand Prix at La Roche-sur-Yon and the Ulysses Award for the best documentary at Montpellier, France. A Q&A with director Alexandru Nanau will be paired with this film; see Event Schedule below.  

EVENT SCHEDULE
Friday, November 13 

7:30pm PST | Opening Night Happy Hour 
Join the American Romanian Cultural Society Seattle team for a virtual kick-off to the festival over Zoom! Bring your own cocktails and nibbles to the online party. 

Saturday, November 14

11am PST | Acasă, My Home Q&A & Discussion
Live Q&A and online discussion with Acasă director Radu Ciorniciuc, and UiPath Foundation Executive Director, Raluca Negulescu-Balaci. This Q&A and discussion will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing. 

The discussion will focus on equal opportunities and education for children from vulnerable areas. UiPath Foundation aims to amplify the powerful message of the documentary and to generate dialogue that fosters systemic changes necessary to support, in the long term, unprivileged children and their families across Romania and India.

9pm PST | Monsters Q&A 
A Q&A with Monsters director Marius Olteanu. This talk will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing. 

Sunday, November 15

11am PST | Malmkrog Discussion
A discussion on Malmkrog with film critic Monica Filimon, author of "Cristi Puiu: Ineffable Experiences of the Profane World." This talk will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

7:30pm PST | Uppercase Print Discussion
A discussion on Uppercase Print with film critic Monica Filimon. This talk will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

9pm PST | The Soviet Garden Q&A
A Q&A with The Soviet Garden director Dragoș Turea. This Q&A will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

Friday, November 20

9pm PST | Otto the Barbarian Q&A
A Q&A with Otto the Barbarian director Ruxandra Ghițescu. This Q&A will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

Saturday, November 21

11am PST | Gipsy Queen and Letter of Forgiveness Q&A
A Q&A with Alina Serban, actress in Gipsy Queen and director of Letter of Forgiveness. This Q&A will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

7:30pm | So, What's Freedom? Q&A 
A Q&A with So, What's Freedom? director Andrei Zinca. This Q&A will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

9pm PST | Collective Q&A 
A Q&A with Collective director Alexandru Nanau. This Q&A will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

Sunday, November 22

11am PST | Marona's Fantastic Tale Discussion
A discussion on Marona's Fantastic Tale (more info coming soon). This discussion will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

5pm PST | A Shelter Among the Clouds Discussion 
A discussion on A Shelter Among the Clouds (more info coming soon). This discussion will air LIVE at the listed time, and will be automatically recorded and added to the end of the film playlist for later viewing.

7:30pm PST | Closing Night Happy Hour 
Raise another virtual glass with the American Romanian Film Festival Seattle team, as they say goodbye to another year of the festival! Share what your favorite films were this year, and discuss Romanian film and culture. 
 

 

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