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SIGNIS Romania Completes 3rd Facing Children Festival

From 14th - 19th, SIGNIS Romania presented its third film festival, Facing Children. The title of the festival has two meanings: putting a face on children, especially those who are faceless, through film and having the audience face up to children, their needs and their rights. SIGNIS Romania president, Anca Berlogea, with her team and a number of volunteers organised the festival and its events.


Festival organizer Anca Berlogea (center) with SIGNIS Vice-president Gustavo Andújar (right) and Ricardo Yáñez from the SIGNIS staff The 2007 festival had the support of UNICEF Romania, especially from bureau chief, Pierre Poupard, who is coming to the end of his time in Bucharest before taking up a new post in Geneva.

In the past, the festival was open to all who wanted to attend. This year it was also open to all but it found a new audience in lecturers and students, especially of social sciences and of child care from tertiary institutions. The students came to the screenings in good numbers and many stayed for the Q and A and discussions which followed each film.

The program was varied. Seven feature films were shown, including SIGNIS and Ecumenical Jury award winners like Grbavica , Tsotsi , Rosetta and At Five in the Afternoon . There was also a documentary section with an international jury, celebrated Romanian director, Nicolae Margineanu, CRFT producer, Michel Farin S.J., Interfilm Vice President, Denyse Muller, Sociology PhD student Anamaria Szabo and French theatre director who has worked with child prisoners in Romania , Christian Benedetti.

The jury awarded prizes to the BBC Scotland, Aaron and Conor’s Story (director, Lindsay Hill), Please Vote for Me (director Weijun Chen) which was included in the series Why Democracy? The main prize went to the documentary about Cuba, El Telon de Azucar (The Sugar Curtain, directed by Paris-based Camila Guzman Urzua). Also featured was the BBC documentary, Child Slavery (director Richard Alwyn) and the German documentary of child prisoners in Russia, Allein in Vier Wanden (Alone in Four Walls, directed by Alexandra Westmeier). Several Romanian documentaries also screened.


Laureates of the UMA AwardsFor the second year, the Festival also showcased the UMA films. UMA stands for Un Minut de Adolescenta, the Romanian version of the OneMinutesJr project. Young people from all over Romania participated in a series of workshops in 2007. The best films in three categories were awarded special prizes by an international jury.

The 2007 winner in the category "Inside-Out", which focuses on films about social inclusion, is Caliman Geanina Alina (19) with her film Cocorii - The Cranes produced at a workshop in Iasi.

The film Graffiti by Octovian Otto Markos (16) won the category "Self-Portrait" - the film was produced at a workshop in Petrosani.

Floris Emanuel (17) was announced winner in the "Best of the world" category for his film Another love story? . The film was poduced a a workshop in Oradea.

More information about these films: http://www.unicef.org/ceecis/kids_7966.html

The venue for these screenings was The Romanian Ministry of Culture.


Children participated actively in the discussionsOn Monday 19th November, a morning seminar was held involving the principal documentary makers who attended the festival as well as a student and tutor for the children’s One Minute Film Festival which took place along with Facing Children.

The 2007 SIGNIS Board Meeting was held in Bucharest at this time and members were able to attend some of the screenings, the seminar and the screening of the children’s films. SIGNIS President, Augy Loorthusamy, presented the main awards in the Odeon Theatre in Bucharest.

UMA website:
http://www.uma.ro

Festival website:
http://www.umafilmfest.ro

Peter Malone - Signis

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