Astra Film Festival – About the 27th edition

7 September, 2020

The Sibiu International Film Festival – Astra Film Festival has just kicked off with a hybrid edition, adapted to current times. Between September 4-13, the festival takes place outdoors, whereas the second part of the festival will be held online between October 16-25.

The festival organizers promise a spectacular edition, with long-awaited national and international premieres, special events and Q&As with the invited filmmakers, all held under the required safety measures. The films in the selection talk about the evolution of technology and, so, its effects on human evolution, they encourage us to embark on a self-reflection journey through emotional and personal stories, and turn their attention to the all-time history that always shadows our steps.

Among the Romanian films presented in national or international premiere are Burgan-I Did Not Breathe the Air for Nothing (dir. Tuco Tellegen, Netherlands-Romania), All rivers flow into the sea and the sea never fills (dir. Claudiu Mitcu), Death…full stop or comma? (dir. Calin Tertan, Corina Tertan), Reflections in the East (dir. Andreea Cristina Bortun), Lost Kids on the Beach (dir. Alina Manolache), Holy Father (dir. Andrei Dascalescu).

Also, the public will have the opportunity to watch some of the most appreciated Romanian productions recently released, such as:

Everything Will Not Be Fine (dir. Adrian Pirvu, Helena Maksyom)

After ending a long-term relationship, a half-blind filmmaker born in 1986 and whose mother blames his illness on the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, leaves behind his life in Romania and travels to find other people who might have been affected by it. He falls in love with a young Ukrainian woman and his life takes an unforeseen turn.

Acasă, My Home (dir. Radu Corniciuc)

This debut follows the story of a family who lived for two decades in the wilderness of Bucharest Delta, until the authorities recognized it as a protected zone – Văcărești Nature Park Reserve – the first urban nature park in Romania. Awarded at Sundance, Munich, Thessaloniki, Krakow, Macedonia, and in the race for an EFA Award nomination, the film is running for an Oscar nomination at 2021 Oscars, and in 2018 received the Best Project Award at the DocumentaryTank at Astra Film Festival 2018.

House of Dolls (dir. Tudor Platon)

Director of photography Tudor Platon’s directorial debut is an exploration of a special universe: the annual vacation of a bunch of 70-year-old ladies, who try to keep up the illusion that time has not passed, that they are still the same beautiful and attractive girls they were 50 years ago.

Wood (dir. Monica Lazurean-Gorgan, Michaela Kirst, Ebba Sinzinger)

An ecological thriller, which follows the illegal deforestation phenomenon in our country, revealing a global octopus of billions of euros.

Special events

RETRO AFF is a section that resumes five titles shown in previous editions of the festival: Story of Fatat (dir. Ibrahim Harb), Happily Ever After (dir. Tatjana Božic), Crulic – The Path to Beyond (dir. Anca Damian), Song from the Forest (dir. Michael Obert), Transalpina – The Road of Kings (dir. Dumitru Budrala).

MULTIMEDIA EXPO: FEMALE IDENTITIES IN THE ROMANIAN SOUTHERN RURAL is an image and sound exploration diary, which describes the universe of victorious women from Teleorman, who gained their freedom through courage, surpassing abuse, prejudice and suffering. (Concept & director: Andreea Bortun, Photography: Claudiu Popescu and Brindusa I. Nastasa, Curator: Ioana Ciocan).

Gastro@ASTRA is an appetizing project, made in collaboration with the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism, which brings to AFF 2020 the winning short films from the Food Film Menu 2020 competition dedicated to the presentation of European Gastronomic Regions. This program is hosted due to Sibiu holding the title of European Gastronomy Region in 2019.

AFF Waves is by far the most surprising experience of this year’s edition of AFF. Spectators are invited to let themselves “carried away by the documentary film wave”, more precisely, to take a seat on a boat or a paddle boat, and watch the film on the lake. Thus, the organizers turn the prevention rules not into a limitation, but into an opportunity to offer the public an unforgettable festival.

“Both the setting and the screening conditions, as well as the proposed films help us to understand and focus even more on the major themes of the situation we are currently in: the way the society is rewritten before our eyes, the human impact on the environment, the global migration and the infodemic – the Big Data and media industry, where the grand trusts transform our human relations, the military industry and the whole fabric of society”, says the director Dumitru Budrala, founder of the festival.

Astra Film Festival continues online

From the 16th to the 25th of October, the festival platform will host some of the films in the official program, as well as a program dedicated to the film industry, which will include a series of activities taking place in the virtual environment.

“The current context has shown us that without art and culture we are poorer and sadder, and the documentary has the gift of penetrating the intimacy of human experiences and establishing connections with the world, overcoming geographical, cultural, ethnic, racial or religious barriers.” (Dumitru Budrala)

For more information, visit the Astra Film Festival website and follow their social media channels. Tickets are available on the Astra Film and Eventbook platforms.

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.