About the 5th edition of ShortsUP – The Great Picnic

The 5th edition of ShortsUP - The Great Picnic – short films in the Botanical Garden is an entire adventure: you will explore the film, the place and yourself. The film selection is bold, funny and delicate, so prepare yourself for laugh, suspense and a good dose of self-reflection. 

This year, ShortsUP – The Great Picnic surprises us with 3 days full of short films, music, games and visual installations in a great place: the Botanical Garden of Bucharest.

The full programme can be found right here.

Are you curious to find out which Romanian short films will be screened at The Great Picnic? Read below our recommendations:

  • The seagull (dir. Maria Popistașu, Alex Baciu, 2018) – While Laura is taking care of her sick father, she finds in the garden an injured seagull. Now, their common objective is to save the bird, avoiding the discussion about the real problem – death. The film was part of the TIFF official selection.
  • Suntem toti genii (dir. Alex Lungu, 2018) – The brilliant ideas are always the result of a long and complicated process, and almost no one wants to explore it. It is so pleasant to only see the result, especially if this kind of ideas seem to come from nowhere and are ‘untouchable’, so we are not anxious at all that we may be capable of the same genius. However, the functional mechanism of the human mind is almost the same for everyone, only the determination and scope are different.
  • Cumulonimbus(dir. Ioana Mischie, 2017) – In a remote Rroma village, an archaic tradition is still respected – everyone has to be married (promised) before 7 years old. Andreea is now almost 8, she is still unmarried and keen to refuse to get married to her arranged half. She is in love with her geography classes where they talk about clouds, and she aims to spend time with Iosif, a kid from the village close by. One day she finds a genuine way to reverse the tradition, organizing an improvised wedding as envisaged by the kids in the village, not by the adult world.
  • 40 days(Sorin Tănase, 2016) – Best Short Film at Filmul de Piatra, the film is a fine combination of suspense and emotion. Three college students spend a weekend in the countryside, pulling scary pranks on each other. In the end, nobody gets the last laugh.


As we wanted to find out more about the current edition of ShortsUP – The Great Picnic, we asked Alexandra Safriucto tell us more about it, including obviously what we should not miss from the programme.

1. What is the main theme of the short film sets from The Great Picnic 2018? Also, please recommend us three films from the entire selection.

Just like every year, I try to use the power of short films in order to explore a certain theme at The Great Picnic ShortsUP. And this year the idea of exploring itself has become the unifying theme of the festival. It’s the first time that the festival spreads over the course of three days and this has somewhat imposed choosing a general theme which will allow us to include short films that vary in terms of the genre, cinematographical style and subject. The Great Picnic’s contents want to provoke the public to take a journey to different geographical zones with the help of short films. On the other hand, we invite them to explore a wide range of cinematographic languages. And this year the step that got a huge part of my attention was the programming. I was constantly asking myself if the alternation I created will be able to potentiate each film; if the program is diverse enough so that the public will be able to have a closer look at each production and, at the same time, I was worried that the passing from one film to the other will be aggressive. Maybe aggressive is not the best word, steep is better.

Let’s see the days one by one.

In Friday’s selection, I included films in which the passing from indoor to outdoor sequences has a role specifically chosen by the author. Or I just thought it was a chosen role (laughs). Mountain’s Fever (dir. Frédéric Hambalek, Germany, 2017) is filmed in the inside of a tent, and the outside world is a big stretch of snow. Maybe this one could be the most representative short for Friday.

On Saturday, the unifying “character” is sound. I’m really curious to see if the public will notice that the shorts selected for this day are very important in terms of sound. I wasn’t very subtle actually, as I clearly indicated my intention by choosing a film that addresses the theme of film sound – a Thailand/Myanmar coproduction, selected for Rotterdam International Film Festival, named ‘The death of the sound engineer’ (dir. Sorayos Prapapan, 2017).

For the last day of the festival, I picked short films that are based on a, let’s say, classical narrative structure. A Romanian horror movie, two American comedies (the first two episodes of what will be a short film series), a black Norwegian comedy, a drama made by a young Spanish director, a social comedy co-produced by France and Belgium and a trailer-short-film for a hypothetical Godzilla sequel.

I hope the weather will be on our side and I also hope to learn something new from the public this year, too – about how I could continue the dialogue with them, this dialogue we have since 10 years ago, realized with the help of selecting and programming short movies.

2. What can people do at The Great Picnic, besides watching films?

The days start at 6 PM, and the films start after the sunset. And this year Team Work Association will help us with guided tours of the Botanical Garden, which I was finally able to do just last year and which I totally recommend. Those who want to stretch some muscles can choose from Slackline and frisbee. The kids will be able to explore the cooking classes held by Mini Zucchini. My colleagues took care of organizing an amazing food zone and, as far as I could see from the previous years, a lot of people come right from the start to have dinner and relax with a book or a good conversation on the grass. We will also have a silent zone and a music zone, so everyone will be able to choose the place that fits them most. On Friday,  Jim Felix & Papa B. will mix from 6 PM to 9.30PM, and on Saturday and Sunday That Couch Funk Collective will be on stage with a funk playlist.


The official trailer of the fifth edition of ShortsUP – The Great Picnic can be found here.

The tickets for ShortsUP – The Great Picnic can be purchased in advance from Eventbook or in the day of the event, based on the available seats. The ticket includes access to the film screening, Botanical Garden, guided tours, food-court, DJ set party, games and visual installations. If the weather won’t allow the open-air screening, the event will take place on August 3-5. All the tickets purchased in advance will be available for the new date.

An article by Romina Banu

English translation by Andreea Andrei

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