A Film Festival with a Human Face

in 16th Transilvania International Film Festival, Cluj-Napoca

by Stratos Kersanidis

When the Transylvania International Film Festival opened its gates 16 years ago, in one of the most beautiful cities of Romania, Cluj-Napoca, its initiators and organizers could not even imagine how far it would go. The festival is growing year by year, its program is gradually becoming richer, and the number of guests is constantly increasing. Furthermore, it is worth noting that it has not lost its friendly and human face. The core of a film festival certainly comprises of its films, but the thing that makes this festival even more beautiful, more accessible and free, are the people and the human relationships.

The Transylvania Film Festival is truly serious yet not pompous, it is grand but is not putting on airs, and it has quality but is open to all. This is evident throughout the loving and supporting Cluj as the cinema capital of Romania, which lives to the beat of the Festival. As the president of the Festival, Tudor Giurgiu, summed it up, “In Cluj, we have plans and strategies for a cinema city, for a studio and a regional fund that, after a plethora of legal analyses, has finally started taking shape”.

More than 220 films, from more than 50 countries were shown this year, representing a wide variety of genres, artistic movements and aesthetic pursuits. As the artistic director, Mr. Mihai Chirilov said at the closing ceremony, “we saw PhD professors watching films in the section ‘Viva Erotica’, and elderly people watching thrillers!” He also added that he opposed dictatorship of expertise, justifying his viewers- friendly choices of romantic comedies and comedies. The ten films of the “Alt.Rom.Com.” section of the festival, which competed for the FIPRESCI prize, reflected these preferences.

The board of the Festival has awarded its prize to the film Afterlov by Stergios Paschos from Greece, which offers a modern and fresh perspective, balance between drama and comedy, and two exceptional leading actors. Paschos’ funny, touching and sometimes mournful film Afterlov paints the portrait of a man who refuses to grow up and pays an emotional price for it.

The story of the film: Summertime in Athens… Nikos, a penniless musician in his 30s, takes care of his friend’s villa. Recently separated from Sofia, he is trying to mend his broken heart. One day, he invites Sofia over to get some answers to his unresolved questions. In order to secure the answers he seeks, he chooses an unorthodox method and imprisons Sofia in the villa until he gets what he wants.

Undoubtedly, the grand event of the Festival was the presence of Alain Delon and the award ceremony for his life-time contribution. Two days prior to the award ceremony, the great French movie star attended the screening of Pour la peau d’ un flic. Approximately 3,500 viewers watched the film on the largest screen in the history of the festival: 23 x 14 m, mounted at the Unirii square in Cluj-Napoca.

The American actor, Armand Assante attended the world premiere of the film The Wanderers, directed by Dragos Buliga. At the press conference, Assante complimented the Transylvania International Film Festival, emphasizing its evolution over the years. “I like being here”, he said, “I like your country for very many reasons, especially for the generosity of its people. I have known Romania since the year 2000, when I was invited here to a beauty pageant. Ever since, I have been trying to convince people to come to Romania and invest in the local film industry”.

Edited by Christina Stojanova