"We are a force on the global movie market" -an interview with Manuela Cernat

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Manuela Cernat: "We are a force on the global movie market", not a commercial force, but an intellectual force that matters in the world "



The most interesting moments of the festival ...

I find it quite hard to say ... because the film festival was compressed  in very few days, it was   exceptionally dense and each movie was in itself an event and a challenge.

Equally the film program for  film schools was extremely interesting, with some of the most important film schools of the moment, which are on of the top charts and fortunately  UNATC  is part of that prial. I could not leave behind the short film section because there were some surprises here, for instance, Adina Pintilie's movie "Oxygen ",who is one of the most powerfull figures in cinema at this moment,is is truly exceptional.

There were many premieres, which I had the chace to see at some of the international festivals,like Dan Chisu's movie which I saw premiere the Mons festival in March.

I think the audience that filled the hall at Cityplex was attracted to this festival, and I think the most important goal of the festival  is achieved, namely to retain the public. It is a reality that we all know even if no one recognizes it: there are many film festivals that take place in Romania with empty spaces! It is a catalog, everybody is there, between the shiny covers, interesting films are brought, but the cinema halls remain empty. Here we see with great joy that with every year the public is more and more interested.



What would be the merits of the festival,and which would be the shortcomings of this edition ...

Merits ... First of all, the idea to make a jury of producers that could  this time determine from  the producer's perspective  who is the best, which is the most interesting film, is brave and at the same time we can recognize that sometimest the emperor is naked  So it is a test of the emperos's clothes.

In equal terms,to have a jury of producers means to pull the alarm and the National Film Council said that the funds collected from the contributions made by all of us  do not have to be scattered elsewhere, for films that do not interest anyone.

I was very happy to see Radu Mihaileanu's movie "The Concert" enter the festival,which is a masterpiece for me. I was glad to find an absolutely excellent  debut like the one Dan Chisu had.

It was my pleasure, after I waited,  to see "Felicia "on a big screen, a movie made by Razvan Radulescu a writer that I have great confidence in and I think the movie is absolutely remarkable. There were many interesting films in this festival.

The idea of building an outdoor projection screen is extraordinary becaus also the village audience is atracted.

If you ask me what is missing, but this can not be achieved without funding, is a certain media promotion and a certain  glamor that is necesary for  film festival. More movie stars ought to be present,the multicolored swirl that creates a cultural event.

Being in a crisis year, coinciding with dramatic events in Romania today,like floods, political and financial crisis,it seems a miracle that the festival exists and that it has a  continuity and I hope that from now on county forums will find strength and inspiration to support this festival.



It's a miracle that we exist. But why? Why is such a festival necessary for the Romanian cultural life?

There are countries in Europe with as many as 30-40 festivals, the greater the number of festivals the greater the chance for art film because today the cinema screens are invaded by super commercial productions with a very doubtful value. When the cinemas of Europe are occupied, and colonized by American cinema, in fact the true art of cinema begins to retreat to festivals, it creates a niche public and so cultural festivals are an important tool in defending the true art of film.

I hope that in the future there will be a redistribution of funds to ensure the continuity of the festival.



In the festival's editorial we  call owerselves "orphan festival in search of a serious partner and sponsor" ...

I am like a godmother to this festival, but not in its current form. Several years agon we proposed  the County Council (No – Constanta)to establish a festival at the Black Sea and so it began. Then we went through various versions and we reached  this  formula for IPIFF that I find absolutely charming and I can not understand how, in  a city as rich as Constanta  there is no interest  from the Port of Constanta or by shipowners to invest in cultural acts.

I want to say that, for example in  Stockholm, the Swedish National Opera has as  main sponsor  the National Electricity Company, which is written with large gold letters on the building  at the entry for anyone coming in to see We are in Constanta where the most important economic forum is the port. So the owners of  the port or ship owners should also invest in culture.

In any market economy, with the exceping Romania, those who win from society pay back some of that benefit to people, to the society that developed them.Here at this stage of super wild capitalism we find ourselves in, people just want to accumulate, to fill their pockets and not give anything back to the community without which they could not have developed.



Where did it start of and in which direction is the romanian cinema heading towads?

10 days ago I was in Nice as a co-organizer for the third week of the Romanian Film Festival in Nice, a retrospective organized by the General Consul of Romania in Nice, Stean de Fay, in collaboration with CNC and the Romanian Cultural Institute. A festival that takes place in one of the major cinemas in the heart of Nice, an art cinema. Halls were packed and the audience was  not only composed of Romanians as we might have expected but also by the local French. There was endless applause after every  film and each feature film was prefaced by a short film produced by UNATC. Everyone there gave me the same question - "What is the explanation for the miracle of the Romanian new wave?".

First there was the '70s new wave, that we called the 70's generation, we have a tradition of over 115 years of Romanian cinema, after the 90's when the Romanian film industry collapsed as it happened throughout all of the the ex-communist spaces,  UNATC continued production. Our school movies were the equivalent of six fiction feature films.

From 1964-1965  we won more and more international awards with our film schools. This created after three consecutive years, us to be considered the best film school in the world, in Munich, Tel Avivh and New York, and a sort of curiosity for this film school,that year after year wins all the prizes. So a favorable opinion  currently developed and that was a lobby for the generation that would appear in 2000.

Who are Mungiu, Porumboiu, Mitulescu? There are those who have won awards with their student films, so that when they arrived to Cannes they were not unknown,they already had a record behind. In addition it is important to note that we have strong female component in our film school. Adina Pintilie is one of the most brilliant  and important representatives. And together, all these values,make us a force in the world of film, not a commercial force, but an intellectual force that matters in the world. Eventually in film history it is not  block busters that  remain but author films.



The director and producer Radu Gabrea said about the new wave of Romanian cinema that "what's a wave passes as a wave," how do you comment on that?

It is true, but here this wave continues, there are always new names appearing so it is  important that they enjoy the exceptional opportunity, which is to take with them a new wave of producers who know how to position them on the film market  and they have the opportunity to be present at major festivals toghether with their films, they are eligible for PR campaigns,they may invest a portion of the film's budget for the image or to launch the film. Because today it does not matter if you are brilliant if you are unable to sell the film and to make the picture.

Vlad Babenco