Tuesday 27 November 2012

Day Five and Last… For Now!

It’s hard to say goodbye to such an exciting project as the Romanian Film Festival in London. Yet this is what we have to do now, as the Festival’s fifth day drew to a close. But do not worry, the work for the 10th edition – a special anniversary one – has just started. 
The fifth day saw the screening of an excellent, heartfelt film in the Auditorium of the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development): Medal of Honour by Calin Peter Netzer. It features a magisterial performance from Victor Rebengiuc, supported by a cast of great Romanian actors, such as Camelia Zorlescu, Radu Beligan, Ion Lucian (all highly regarded and respected names of the stage and screen).
The screening was preceded by a wine reception offered by the hosts, EBRD, and a presentation and discussion with Victor Rebengiuc on the subject of the film. The Auditorium was full with fans and friends of Romanian cinema and culture who took part in the Q&A sessions both before and after the screening, and applauded maestro Rebengiuc’s performance.

Victor Rebengiuc, Ramona Mitrica, Lawrence Sherwin
As an event producer, I can say that nothing can make me happier than to see the audience really enjoying the event. But I’m lying: I feel even better because I know maestro Rebengiuc, the honoured guest of Festival, enjoyed himself as well, and he enjoyed meeting the London audience again, after his previous visits in the Festival in 2003 and 2010.
This being said, I would like to thank you all for your interest in Romanian film. We had a great audience for all the screenings, with two fully booked screenings where we had to apologise to our friends for not being able to take them all in for the show.
Many, many thanks, are also due to all the Festival Guests: Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, stars of Beyond the Hills, Rodica Lazăr starring in Principles of Life, Mihaela Sîrbu from Everybody in Our Family, Ana Ularu from Periferic, actor extraordinaire Victor Rebengiuc who returned to greet his London fans for a special screening of ‘Medal of Honour’, author and journalist Liviu Antonesei, a long-term friend, supporter, and adviser of the Festival, Eugen Șerbănescu, President of the National Centre of Cinematography in Bucharest, the  traditional partner of the Festival, and Alina Sălcudeanu, the Centre’s Head of International Relations.
A ton of thanks to the Festival Partners who, together with Profusion International Creative Consultancy, made sure this edition would take place: The National Centre of Cinematography in Bucharest and Curzon Cinemas in London.  

Also, grateful thanks to the Festival Sponsors and Supporters, without whom all this would have been impossible:

ROMANi ONLiNE, EuroTop, Levenes, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, O2, The Embassy of Romania in London, DNS Associates, Lycamobile, Universal Business Travel Ltd, Mihai Eminescu Trust, Prodan Romanian Cultural Foundation, Albinuta.co.uk SGS Creative Services, Trasys, Diaspora Romaneasca, Stylewhiz, TibTrans, Ziarul Romanesc, Anuntul.co.uk, British Romanian Chamber of Commerce, Romanian Business Club, Artificial Eye
There. are many people the Festival would like to thank. For the full list, please see http://www.rofilmfest.com/c/23/acknowledgements

Monday 26 November 2012

That Was Day Four

What better way for the film-lover than to spend a Sunday afternoon watching an excellent film in a great cinema?

This was exactly what a good number of people decided to do by coming over for the fourth day of the Romanian Film Festival in London at Renoir Cinema. And our film-lover friends were in for a treat, as they had the chance to take part in a screening of Periferic by Bogdan George Apetri. The film was followed by a Q&A session with lead actress Ana Ularu, run by Ramona Mitrica (Festival Director) and Mike Phillips (Festival Consultant).

Mike Phillips, Ana Ularu, Ramona Mitrica

Periferic, with its strong story, superb editing and direction, and a wonderful performance from Ana Ularu, complemented to perfection by the film’s cast, proved once again that “Romanians can’t make a bad film. It’s, like, illegal in their country” (Steven Zeitchik).

Like all good things, though, the Festival also needs to near its conclusion. The last screening is a special presentation of Calin Peter Netzer’s Medal of Honour, at the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), in the heart of the City. The film features a superlative performance from one of the best-loved Romanian actors, maestro Victor Rebengiuc, who will be present for a preceding reception and a Q&A.

This event is already fully booked – a big thank you to all. Here is a trailer:

Sunday 25 November 2012

Day Three - Two More To Go

On the third day of the Festival my true love of cinema gave to me: one great audience, two super events, three speakers on the Q&A panel, four super actresses present in the auditorium…

Today, the Romanian Film Festival in London screened the incredible Everybody in Our Family by Radu Jude, a film that on the one side keeps you on tenterhooks, and on the other side makes you swing from being sceptical as to the actions of the characters on screen to being appalled as how this “dramedy” (as described by critic David Parkinson for Empire Online) plays out.

The film was followed by a Q&A with the lovely and talkative actress Mihaela Sirbu, led by Ramona Mitrica (Festival Director) and Mike Phillips (Festival Consultant).

Mihaela Sirbu, Mike Phillips, Ramona Mitrica
Afterwards, everybody in our Festival moved to the Embassy of Romania for a reception hosted by His Excellency Dr Ion Jinga to honour the Festival Guests and celebrate the success of Romanian cinema in Britain and elsewhere.

A big thank you to the sponsor of the reception, the online Romanian food shop Albinuta.co.uk – the food and drinks were fabulous!

On Sunday 25 November, the Festival screens Periferic by Bogdan George Apetri, a film that closes our season at the Renoir. It will be followed by a Q&A with lead actress Ana Ularu. Here is a preview:


Then, there will be only Monday, when the Festival will close with the special screening of Medal of Honour by Calin Peter Netzer at the EBRD, with star actor Victor Rebengiuc in attendance.

There are still some tickets available for Periferic – hurry and snap them up! You can book online from www.curzoncinemas.com/events/details/1413/romanian-film-festival-periferic-qa/

To see the full Festival programme, go to www.rofilmfest.com

Saturday 24 November 2012

All Good - Day Two

And there was Day Two!

On Friday the Romanian Film Festival in London screened Constantin Popescu’s family drama Principles of Life, a story I believe to be stunning in its cleanness of expression and image.

The film was followed by a Q&A with lead actress Rodica Lazar, who was perfect as the counterpart of Vlad Ivanov’s cuddly-looking but heavy-handed Emilian Velicanu. In an interested and animated discussion led by Ramona Mitrica (Festival Director) and Mike Phillips (Festival Consultant), Rodica Lazar talked about some of the issues presented in the film. She also talked about her experiences while filming Principles of Life, and about her future projects.

Mike Phillips, Rodica Lazar, Ramona Mitrica
Day Three of the Festival brings the screening of another family-related film – Radu Jude’s Everybody in Our Family. See the trailer below.

You are more than welcome to join us for this screening, as well as for the last film in the programme presented at Renoir – Periferic by Bogdan George Apetri.

We are joined for the Q&A session by actresses Mihaela Sirbu (on Saturday for Everybody in Our Family) and Ana Ularu (on Sunday for Periferic).

Programme details on www.rofilmfest.com

I am happy to say that the Festival Connected Event of Monday 26 November, the screening of Medal of Honour by Calin Peter Netzer, in the presence of maestro Victor Rebengiuc, is now sold out. (I’m also a little sad because many of our friends will miss on meeting and honouring this superlative Romanian actor).

As I mentioned before, the Gala Screening was absolutely fantastic. Please take a look at the first of this year’s event galleries with images from Festival Day One: www.rofilmfest.com/p/70/festival-day-one

I can’t close this post without saying a big, big thank you to the Festival Team, as well as to our Friends and Supporters. Please visit the Acknowledgements page on the Festival site at www.rofilmfest.com/c/23/acknowledgements

See you at the cinema!

Friday 23 November 2012

This Was The Day!

Here we are at the start of The Romanian Film Festival in London, the ninth edition.

It is happening again, folks, and I have to say this Festival’s started with flying colours. I do believe Beyond the Hills is an extraordinary film, and I think the audience are of the same opinion.

A packed audience in  Renoir Cinema Screen 1 
The screening was followed by a lively Q&A with Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, led by Ramona Mitrica (Festival Director) and Mike Phillips (Festival Consultant).

Mike Phillips, Ramona Mitrica, and many members of the audience
A very, very big thank you to everybody who came to the Gala Screening - your interest in Romanian film is much appreciated.

Day Two of the Festival brings the screening of Principles of Life by Constantin Popescu, from 6pm. It will be followed by a Q&A with actress Rodica Lazar. See below a taste of the film. For the full programme, go to http://www.rofilmfest.com

In other news, we've already made it into the newspapers in Romania. We are currently occupying the full page 24 of the respected Timpul arts magazine.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Festival Guests and Little Helpers

T minus 1, folks!  And the first Festival Guests are already in London.

Nothing says you’re actually starting a Festival better than the arrival of the first guests. This morning, we had the pleasure to receive the Cannes 2012 award-winning actresses Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur, as well as the President of the National Centre of Cinematography, Eugen Serbanescu.

I could not miss the chance to snap a photo with the two Festival Guest Stars in the hotel lobby.
Ramona Mitrica, Cosmina Stratan and Cristina Flutur
Soon after this, we went back on the less glamorous side of event organising. In short, we did a spot of physical labour and assembled all the materials needed at the cinema in the following days.
It's so fun to be in a lift with a couple of very heavy boxes.
There’re so many of them, not least the Festival Goody Bags. Not only do we have various promotional gifts from our sponsors, but the bags are also filled with love.

This edition of the Festival, like the others before it, is nothing if not a labour of love.  I should actually say love and admiration for the superlative achievements of Romanian film directors, actors, editors and producers, who created some of the best cultural exports the country has ever produced (or at least that’s my personal opinion).

We also did some shopping for the Festival Reception. No efforts were spared, and we came out in force, also bringing our little helpers with us.
The Official Festival Little Helper
We are looking forward to welcoming more special Romanian guests tomorrow - not to mention our audience for the sold out Gala Screening of Beyond the Hills by Cristian Mungiu.

For those of you who haven’t managed to get a ticket for tomorrow, Thu 22 Nov, you are more than welcome to come and see the other films in the programme screened at Renoir: Principles of Life by Constantin Popescu (Fri 23), Everybody in Our Family by Radu Jude (Sat 24), and Periferic by Bogdan George Apetri (Sun 25). Book online from http://www.curzoncinemas.com/events/f1uqf/romanian-film-festival/

Don’t forget we also have a connected event at the EBRD, on Mon 26 Nov: a screening of Medal of Honour by Calin Peter Netzer, in the presence of actor extraordinaire Victor Rebengiuc. Entrance is free but booking is mandatory EBRDevents@ebrd.com

Festival full programme on www.rofilmfest.com

As an aside – London is a very competitive arena for international film screening, and a sold out screening is something to be proud of. There is so much choice here for the cinephile, with many national film festivals going on this November: French, Czech, Irish, Iranian, Latin America, African, Jewish, Korean.

There is also the Nordic Film Festival, which starts on 30 November, bringing some of the best productions from the Scandinavian countries. After our Festival, this looks like a good choice for the lover of cinema of the highest order. 

Tuesday 20 November 2012

It's All About the Medals

I can’t help myself, I just have to say this: OMG! OMG! We have the most beautiful pens and bags EVER! (apologies for getting over-enthusiastic about things).

The Festival Pens are nice, ergonomic and they write in black ink. They also sport a beautiful logo on a side. It’s an absolute pleasure to write with them, really. I might just start a diary so I can use them for other tasks than jotting down names and phone numbers, or checking guest lists and flight schedules.

Then there is the Festival Bag, a marvel of portable technology that is ecological and easy to wear. Not to mention it is also hip – as can be seen in picture. I imagine fashionistas would love to get their hands on one of them. But no – they are for our lovely audience.

Changing the subject – this evening I had the pleasure to see the extraordinary film director Andrei Konchalovsky, at a special screening of his film Gloss in the EBRD Auditorium, in the heart of the City.

This will be the precise place where we’ll host actor extraordinaire Victor Rebengiuc on Monday 26 November for a screening of Medal of Honour. It will be so exciting to meet this extraordinary man again, and to be able to rub shoulders with one of the best-known and loved Romanian actors. In a career spanning more than 50 years, Victor Rebengiuc has worked with all the greats of Romanian cinematography - such as Liviu Ciulei, Lucian Pintilie or Dan Pita - while also working for younger directors such as Cristi Puiu, Radu Muntean, Lucian Georgescu, or Calin Peter Netzer.

Victor Rebengiuc as Ilie Moromete
Here are the full event details:

Monday 26 November 2012, 6.00 pm
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), One Exchange Square, London EC2A 2JN (Tube: Liverpool Street Station).

Entry is FREE but registration is mandatory by sending a mail at EBRDevents@ebrd.com

It would be handy to have some kind of ID with you, to enable the EBRD staff process your entrance pass faster.
The screening is preceded by a drinks reception from 5.30pm - all invited.

Oh, I nearly forgot - the Festival starts in TWO days!

Full programme on www.rofilmfest.com