I arrived five minutes late on the set of Paul Negoescu’s third feature film called “Never let it go”. The second-last filming day was actually a night shooting that took place in the heart of the city, at National Military Circle, a place where the connoisseurs know how difficult it is to film without being interrupted by the city’s hustle that never calms down. I took the stairs to the outdoor terrace looking for Radu Stancu (deFilm), the person who helped me get this article. On my way up the stairs I met some Bulgarian sound engineers, using hand signs, helped me reach him. On the terrace I found a relative big and dynamic team: they were setting a scene, putting the lights on and discussing. Alexandru Papadopol was sat at a corner table, rehearsing his role with the script in front of him. I also found Ducu here, who informed me that Paul was eating and would be best to give him a minute if there’s no rush. Meanwhile, Romina Banu, our news coordinator and excellent photographer, took a few photos of everyone (photo gallery below).
One by one, known professionals of the industry appeared on the terrace: Ana Drăghici, director’s wife and the film’s DOP, Cristina Iliescu, considered one of the best first assistant’s directors in Romania (1st AD), actors Radu Romaniuc and Rolando Matsangoș, and after a short wait, Paul Negoescu. I was about to present myself again, convinced that he did not remember me, but Paul came smiling and visibly tired after 20 days of filming. He asked me how I was and if I was ready as they were about to start the shooting. I pushed my rec button and began: a #behindthescreen article with Paul Negoescu on the set of “Never Let it Go” movie.
- Briefly, what’s the subject of the third feature film of your directing career?
It is a story about a Mathematics teacher who has various love problems and confesses to a friend who wants to write a book about this. The cast is formed by Alexandru Papadol, the Mathematics teacher, Radu Romaniuc, the author who wants to write the story, Rolando Matsangoș he is also part of this group of friends, Nicoleta Lefter who is the main female character, and Crina Semciuc, another important female character.
- Like any other shooting, there are a bunch of unpredictable situations on the set. What was the most difficult decision you confronted in these shooting days?
The most difficult decision was accepting to film in unexpected weather conditions. Because it is a Romanian-Bulgarian coproduction and the Bulgarians are staying here until May 12 and we could not surpass this date. We had bad luck and the weather was very bad compared with what we wanted. We had to film on cold weather when it had to be warm, we had to film in rain and make it look like it was sunny.
- What is the most spectacular behind the screen detail about “Never Let it Go”?
I don’t know, I have no idea. It’s shot on film, something a little unusual because film’s rarely used anymore. Most of the scenes are shot in limited areas of Bucharest’s City Centre: here, the Army’s House, in Cișmigiu, at Victory Square and these were the most difficult scenes. Lots of passers, cars, noisy traffic; it’s difficult to keep continuity from one frame to another. Another issue is recording a clean sound and avoiding people who look into the camera.
- What kind of director are you? Do you use improvisation or give the actors clear instructions?
I don’t use improvisation. I accept recommendations from the actors but the term “improvisation” is not good because it comes from provisionally and there’s nothing provisionally about it. It is rather a team effort: they share their opinion at rehearsals and maybe they come up with an idea that is respected at the shooting. Generally, I write the screenplay after I choose the actors, so the text fits them.
- Is there a detail that mattered the most to you and you could not have it?
I would have wanted the weather to be different. It would’ve let us have a different filming pace. Because of the bad weather we had to reverse the shooting days and some of the sequences.
Never Let it Go is a Romanian-Bulgarian coproduction made by N-GRAPHIX, Papillon Film, deFilm and Screening Emotions. The film will have the premiere in the summer of 2018.
Director: Paul Negoescu
Cinematography: Ana Drăghici
Romanian producer: Papillon Film
Cast: Alexandru Papadopol, Radu Romaniuc, Nicoleta Lefter, Crina Semciuc, Rolando Matsangoș
Days of filming: 24
Crew: 70 people
Budget: 1 million €