Fe­male film di­rec­tors and pro­duc­ers shine in Ro­ma­nian New Wave

Tehran Times - - ART & CULTURE -

BUCHAREST (Reuters) — Start­ing out as a unit pro­duc­tion man­ager in Ro­ma­nia’s film in­dus­try more than two decades ago, Ada Solomon felt she needed to punch above her weight.

But af­ter fight­ing with crew on set early on in her ca­reer, Solomon, now a pro­ducer of some of Ro­ma­nia’s most in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned films, took the ad­vice of an as­sis­tant di­rec­tor that she would get farther by stay­ing calm and treat­ing them as part­ners.

“It was per­haps the first les­son in movie pro­duc­tion I ever got,” Solomon told Reuters at the of­fice of her pro­duc­tion com­pany, HiFilm. “Since then, this is how I’ve func­tioned with my teams.”

To­day, Solomon is one of Europe’s lead­ing film pro­duc­ers and the woman be­hind some of the most crit­i­cally ac­claimed dra­mas of re­cent years, in­clud­ing Ber­li­nale win­ners “Child’s Pose” and “Aferim!” and the Os­car-nom­i­nated “Toni Erd­mann.”

She is also at the fore­front of an in­creas­ing num­ber of fe­male pro­duc­ers and di­rec­tors work­ing in Ro­ma­nia at a time when more es­tab­lished film in­dus­tries are strug­gling with is­sues of di­ver­sity and in­clu­sion.

The in­creas­ing role of women in Ro­ma­nia’s film in­dus­try is be­ing show­cased at the Mak­ing Waves Ro­ma­nian Film Fes­ti­val tak­ing place in New York un­til Dec. 5.

Now in its 13th year, the fes­ti­val is de­vot­ing a sec­tion to films di­rected by women, in­clud­ing this year’s Berlin Golden Bear win­ner “Touch Me Not,” an ex­plo­ration of in­ti­macy by Ad­ina Pin­tilie, as well as the thriller “Moon Ho­tel Kabul”, which won Anca Damian the best di­rec­tor prize at the War­saw In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val. Ten out of the fes­ti­vals’ 17 films were pro­duced by Solomon.

The for­mer com­mu­nist coun­try has emerged as a pow­er­house of cin­ema over the last two decades and much has been made about the Ro­ma­nian New Wave, a genre of nat­u­ral­is­tic and un­flinch­ing films that have been con­sis­tently win­ning top prizes such as the Palme d’Or in Cannes and awards at the Berlin and Venice fes­ti­vals.

“Over the last two years or so, the num­ber of fe­male di­rec­tors has grown vis­i­bly,” said Anca Damian, who first won praise for her 2011 an­i­mated fea­ture “Crulic – the Path to Be­yond.”

“You can feel the wind of change. A decade ago, a woman had to make films for chil­dren. There were mo­ments when you felt like you didn’t ex­ist in the film com­mu­nity, you were just trans­par­ent,” she said. “But I’ve al­ways felt that what I wanted to say has pushed me for­ward.”

Doc­u­men­tary film­maker Mona Ni­coara said Ro­ma­nia’s eco­nomic growth, which has po­ten­tially made fund­ing more ac­ces­si­ble also helped. There are more women work­ing in the in­dus­try over­all, from ed­i­tors and cin­e­matog­ra­phers to cam­era oper­a­tors and set de­sign­ers.

“Bar­ri­ers that used to ex­ist are no longer in place, there used to be few fe­male di­rec­tors, few women in gen­eral in the in­dus­try,” said Ni­coara, whose doc­u­men­tary about the dis­si­dent poet Nina Cas­sian fea­tures at Mak­ing Waves.

Ro­ma­nian di­rec­tor Ada Solomon (R) is pic­tured dur­ing a movie pro­duc­tion in this un­dated handout pic­ture.(Cour­tesy of Roller­coaster PR/Handout via Reuters)

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