Astra Film Festival – From climate collapse alert to couples’ intimacy

6 September, 2021

Astra Film Festival in Sibiu takes place between September 5-12. The central theme of this year’s edition is called “Climate collapse alert”.

Starting from probably the most important question of the moment, “What is awaiting us, as mere earthlings, after all the bad things we’ve done and continue to do?”, Astra Film Festival draws attention to pressing issues concerning our planet. The opening film of the festival, Once You Know/ Une fois que tu sais (dir. Emmanuel Cappellin), starts from the premise that climate change will bring the world to collapse.

“We are a few days after the devastating IPCC Report, called the Red Code for Humanity, and we must not pretend everything is fine. Everything is not fine. No matter how harsh the conclusions of this report are and how shocking the films with this theme screened at AFF Sibiu will be for many people, it is important to know what is happening. And after that, maybe we’ll be a little wiser. Maybe there are other solutions that depend on us”, states Dumitru Budrala, founding director of the Astra Film Festival.

Other films in the programme explore themes such as couple relationships, birth and death, the boundaries between people, individualism, unexpected situations, and the extraordinary stories of some remarkable people.

The use of science in the evolution of mankind and the ethical or even practical issues it raises make up the focus of Seeds of Deceit (dir. Miriam Guttman). The documentary is about the real case of a famous doctor in the ’70s and’ 80s, who artificially inseminated more than 65 women with his own sperm, and today, many adults everywhere have found out that they have dozens of brothers and sisters they had no idea about.

Love is brought into the spotlight in Nun of Your Business (dir. Ivana Marinić Kragić). We are presented with the story of two Catholic nuns from different monasteries who fall in love and retire from church life to spend their lives together.

Individualism, death, and humanity are topics explored by films such as Kodokushi (dir. Ansar Altay), which shows how the phenomenon of people who die alone in Japan is managed, or Post Mortem Berlin (dir. Anton von Heiseler), which shows how far a crematorium in Berlin has gone, that they use robots to take coffins on the final road, in a dehumanizing industrial space.

For the second consecutive year, the audience is invited to take a seat in boats floating on the lake and let themselves be carried away by the wave of documentary film. The films presented in the AFF Lifeboats program focus on how people’s criminal actions against nature can lead to dramatic imbalances and, ultimately, to climate collapse.

AFF 2021 brings the public four competition sections: Emerging Voices of Documentary, Central and Eastern Europe, Romania, and DocSchool. The first two sections showcase only films screened in premiere.

Emerging Voices of Documentary – The selected films belong to emerging filmmakers (at their first, second or third film).

Central and Eastern Europe – The program comprises productions that address subjects anchored in the space of the so-called Eastern Bloc, focusing on the very particular realities that this part of Europe has gone through since the fall of communism.

DocSchool – The section includes a selection of documentary films made in different film schools from all over the world, such as Romania, Germany, Israel, Poland, Columbia, India, Slovakia, Hungary, Belgium, Portugal, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Romanian films presented in this section are:

Flight Plan (dir. Gabriel Durlan)

Milkless (dir. Lidia Ilie)

The Bears (dir. Alin Duruian)

Triplex Confinium (r. Maria Balanean)

Focus Romania – The section is dedicated to Romanian documentaries, by subject or by author, and this year, it includes 10 titles that explore complex, powerful and relevant themes that challenge viewers to a deeper understanding of the sensitive realities of Romanian society.

#newtogether (dir. Carmen Lidia Vidu) | Austria, Romania

Fragile (dir. Ioana Mischie) | Romania

Hymn From The Hive (dir. Jacopo  Marzi) | Romania – presented in national premiere

My Uncle Tudor (dir. Olga  Lucovnicova) | Belgium, Portugal, Hungary – presented in national premiere

Occasional Spies (dir. Oana Giurgiu) | Romania

Stela, in the Name of the Father (dir. Anca Hirte) | Romania, France, Switzerland – presented in national premiere

Certainty of Probabilities (dir. Raluca Durbacă) | Romania – presented in national premiere

Missing One (dir. Rareş Ienasoaie) | France – presented in national premiere

Shawkat Mystery (dir. Ágnes Maksay) | Romania – presented in national premiere

Us Against Us (dir. Andra Tarara) | Romania


Astra Film Festival in Sibiu takes place between September 5-12, outdoors, in cinemas and online. Tickets are on sale on the festival’s website and on the Eventbook platform, and the full programme is available here.



Photographer and editor, she co-founded Dissolved Magazine. For Films in Frame she brings the news from the film world, in the Monday News column. She likes stories, Monty Python and going to the seaside.