Romanian film producer Anamaria Antoci, who by chance comes from the same hometown as myself, agreed to answer a few questions for detur la Preciziei, about the pragmatic side of filmmaking in nowadays’ Romania, about obstacles and how to overcome them. Thank you, Anamaria for your time!
M.M.: To begin, we would like you to give some details regarding how your interest in Romanian cinema began and how it developed up until now.
A.A: It all started with an artistic impulse, and ended with me doing something practical and pragmatic, but which comes to the support of creators and their initiatives.
M.M.: How did you progress from choreography to film production?
A.A: From choreography to film production, there has been a journey of more than 5 years working in the area of cultural projects and events. Most of them were projects in the field of performing arts. In 2011 I attended for the first time the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), in Cluj, and that was when the first idea related to working with film was born. A year later exactly, I told Oana Iancu that film production started to tempt me and she recommended me to Monica Lazureanu-Gorgan, whit whom I started working on August 2012 at the 4 Proof Film.
M.M.: As a little girl had you ever dreamed of working in cinema?
A.A: When I was little I dreamed of becoming a coroner, after growing up my dreams changed into choreography. To cinema I arrived through a conscious and programmatic decision.
M.M.: What is your perspective on Romanian film? Do you have any favourite Romanian film? Why?
A.A: Even though there are a few film titles that I place on the top of my list, the first that always comes to my mind is 12:08 East Bucharest (A fost sau n-a fost?, 2006). From my perspective, any film should be authentic and honest. And regardless of its genre, it should recover the investment.
M.M.: How do you think Romanian people relate to their country’s cinema?
A.A: I think Romanian public has limited access to Romanian films. There are only a few cinemas that include in their programme Romanian films or even European. Considering this, we don’t really have the right to have too high expectations.
M.M.: Can you tell us some details of the projects that you have been involved in?
A.A: Until present, I had the opportunity to discover something about fiction film, documentary and dance film. And I had something to learn from all of the films, whether short of feature films and from each director I have worked with. I will list here some of the projects I have been a part of: Silent Places (2013), Art (Arta, 2014), Illegitimate (Ilegitim, 2016), Fixeur (2016), The Petrila Planet (Planeta Petrila, 2016), Written/Unwritten (Scris/nescris, 2012).
M.M.: What experience did you get from working on Illegitimate (Ilegitim 2016)? I am asking about your debut as a director of an independent low-budget film.
A.A: Illegitimate was a great challenge, not only was it the first feature film I worked on but also because Adrian Sitaru came with an atypical, maybe even innovative artistic approach. From the outset, the project was thought to be a low-budget one, so I took the responsibility of producing it 100% independently, knowing the premises. It was a difficult project in all of its developing stages, from pre-production to the sales, but the arduous process had as an outcome a unique film, that touches upon a sensitive subject, and which competed at the Berlin International Film Festival.
M.M.: What obstacles did you and your team have to overcome in order to succeed? And how did you handle it?
A.A: No matter how creative we are when it comes to alternative solutions to fill in for the lack of money, this kind of project always comes with challenges and obstacles. And that is because most of the solutions are compromises. We stumbled more than a few times, but never very serious. We lost the main location two days before we started shooting, the actors had to cook for themselves, and many more, but the most difficult was finding new funding resources for the post-production. I honestly don’t know how we would have managed without our foreign partners who helped us finish the film.
M.M.: How was your movie received by the critics and the public?
A.A: Even though the film we presented to the public had a delicate subject, not a second we intended to shock, but to raise questions and I think the results are what we wanted them to be. As far as criticism is concerned, I find it difficult to say, but I would incline to say that the international one was more favourable than that in Romania.
M.M.: Have you any plans for the future?
A.A: I am currently working on three projects that are in the post-production stage: Nicolae Constantin Tanase’s Heads and Tails (Cap si Pajura) (again a low-budget feature film), Hadrian Marcu’s debut – A man in his place (Un om la locul lui), and a short film by Gabriel Achim (filmed in the Danube Delta in August). I’m also working on a short film that is to be shot by the end of the year, and I’m in the developing phase of Dan Chisu’s and Adrian Sitaru’s new feature films.
M.M.: What advice would you give to young people interested in a career in cinema?
A.A: Perhaps I repeat myself, but I would tell them not to dream of success and big festivals, but of inspiring new ideas and honest scripts. The success of a film does not only mean Berlin or Cannes. Be flexible, each film has its own path.
M.M.: What message would you send to the public?
A.A: To be lenient and patient, and they will certainly be surprised.
cover photo credit: Elmar Lemes