#FestivalFocus – We met with the three Romanian directors from 2018 DaKINO competition

The 27th edition of the DaKINO International Film Festival will take place between 18th and 22nd of April. The international short film competition also includes three Romanian productions. We have spoken with the three directors about what have inspired their stories and the challenges they have faced during the projects.

In case you don’t already know, DaKINO International Film Festival started on Wednesday, April 18th. The opening gala featured the national premiere of the film ‘Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’, which was nominated at the 2018 BAFTA Awards for best leading actress, best leading actor and best adapted screenplay.

In addition to this one, DaKINO 2018 includes several other feature films such as: God’s Own Country (dir. Francis Lee; the main charecter is played by Alec Secăreanu), Submergence (dir. Wim Wenders; the only screening in Romania), Meda or the not so bright side of things (dir. Emanuel Pârvu) and The Anniversary (dir. Dan Chișu). The full schedule can be found here.

Probably the most interesting and anticipated section of DaKINO 2018 is the short film competition. This year we have the chance to watch 27 films (including three Romanian shorts), which are part of this section. The film selection was made by film critics Ionuț Mareș, Cristi Mărculescu and George Mihalcea.

The president of the 2018 DaKINO Jury is the DOP and film director Adrian Silișteanu, who is joined by Asja Krsmanović, film programmer of Sarajevo Film Festival, Gabriela Albu, coordinator of Cinema Peasant Musem, actor Alec Secăreanu and Iranian director Ali Asgari. The winners of Best short film, Best Director, Best Screenplay and of the Special Jury Prizes will be announced by the Jury during the Closing Gala, which will take place on Sunday, April 22nd. The Audience Prize will also be awarded based on the votes of the public.

We invite you to continue reading if you are curious to find out more about the three Romanian short films which are present at 2018 DaKINO. The directors shared with us some interesting information:

RĂZVAN DUTCHEVICI – ‘Nine or ten hours later’

What is the story of this short film and how did the idea appear?

The story follows a couple that spends the night fighting in the street, while their friends and an Uber driver are trying to calm them down. The idea came from a situation I was part of, after a New Year’s Party at the friend’s place. So, the main character, played by Andrei Ciopec, is a cinematographic reconstitution of myself in those moments. The dialogue is invented because I forgot what they have said, but the main moments of the agitated situation are present. The driver and their friends try to push them into resolving the conflict but they don’t know how to handle it. And they also don’t know how serious this is.

What was the biggest challenge in making this film?

A big challenge for me was to create, together with the actors, a vivid group of friends. I wanted to induce the feeling that they have known each other for a long time and care about one another, but also that they have pretty different personalities. All of them are almost 30; some are more mature, some not. Another challenge was to set the level of drunkenness of every character. The most difficult was for the main role because of his show-off. My inspiration was the dynamic of the characters in Faces, directed by John Cassavetes, who, for me, is the master of drunkenness disputes. 


Where and when does the action of the film take place? How did you come with the idea of the short film ‘Chers Amis’?

The idea appeared when I was writing the script. I say that ‘it appeared’ because I had the sensation that it was floating around me, and I was just writing the text. It is a great feeling when the writing is easy. I wrote the script in one night, one draft, without any other previous preparation. The action takes place in the 2000s, in Republic of Moldavia. We shot the film at the beginning of 2013, but shortly after that, the external drive containing the film was lost (before the editing). When we were filming, it seemed that everything we were doing was out of date – the Romanian language was becoming again the official language, the Gregorian calendar was slowly introduced. But, unfortunately, nowadays truth in Moldavia is stranger than fiction. Meanwhile, one of the ‘special’ characters in the film became president (an absolutely involuntary coincidence).

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge has been the shooting. Firstly, I had to find all the Moldavian actors that were working in Romania at that time because I needed the authentic Moldavian dialect. The location has been another problem. Eventually, Father Bela of the Calvina Church helped us, giving us for a few days a space that belonged to the church (a former nursery), where we built our set. Four days of shooting, a lot of actors in one space, lack of elementary things such as video assist or people… But we managed to handle it because each one’s effort counted twice as much. We were very enthusiastic. Cristian Mungiu supported us with the technical equipment and the actors came for free because they liked the story. Then the external drive was lost and we found it last year, when we also edited the film. This is the brief story of the film ‘Chers Amis’.

STELA PELIN – ‘Date Night’

What is the story of this short film? How did the idea appear?

Romanian Bonnie & Clyde decide to robe a kebab place because they want to break the curse that threatens their wedding. Many years ago, some guys tried to do almost the same thing; then, I discovered by chance a story with a very similar subject written by Haruki Murakami. I was inspired by both stories and together with my colleague, co-writer Ioachim Stroe, we created the final script. So, the characters and situations in Date Night are based both on fiction and reality.

What was the biggest challenge you have encountered?

One of the biggest challenges was shooting on the platform in the middle of the night, when the temperature was near 0 degrease Celsius. It was a pretty long night. Another challenge was the small budget. We were lucky enough to have had a great team with people that stood by our side, invested their time and helped us overcome every issue.

Why should people come to DaKINO 2018?

RĂZVAN DUTCHEVICI: Well, I can only speak for myself. I am glad that the programme includes a large number of international short films, which means that I will have the chance to see news films. Furthermore, I am on the same page with Ionuț Mareș and Cristi Mărculescu, so the chances to enjoy the screening are high. Also, I am delighted that the feature films The Anniversary (Dan Chișu) and Meda or The not so bright side of things (Emanuel Pârvu) are part of the programme, because I have not managed to see them yet.

VALERIU ANDRIUȚĂ: DaKINO is a celebration of film which brings films made with love and carefully selected. It’s a petty to not take advantage of this chance!

STELA PELIN: Because they will probably discover some short and feature films which they would not have had the chance to discover, films that, certainly, are cool. It is also a great idea for a date night… might be fun!

DaKINO International Film Festival will end on April 22nd. The full schedule can be found here. The list of the films included in the Short film competition can be found on the official website.

an article by Romina Banu

English translation by Andreea Andrei


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