At the ClujShorts International Short Film Festival in RomaniaSo this past week I traveled to Cluj-Napoca, the second most populous city in Romania and the unofficial capital of Transylvania, to attend the screening of my short documentary film GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance at the ClujShorts International Short Film Festival. I knew from pictures I saw on the internet that the city of Cluj-Napoca was going to be lovely but I really didn't know what to expect from the film festival (I've been disappointed at film festivals more than a few times before) but I can gladly say that this film festival truly exceeded my expectations.
First of all, it's run by people who are passionate about film and about creating an exceptional film festival experience for its guests. Secondly, the festival is surprisingly well attended (I've been to past screenings of my films where there were less than 5 people in the theater including myself) and lastly, the folks there were as warm and friendly as you'll ever meet. I mean. what more could you ask for?
Being an attending filmmaker, I had the opportunity to hold a lively Q&A session after my film screened (most of the people in this city know a good amount of English) and afterwards, I got to chat with some of the people who make this film festival happen. As a filmmaker, this was one of the most rewarding film festival experiences I've ever had.
So a big thank you to Anca Andreea Pop, who first notified me about my film being accepted and was so helpful in planning my trip to Cluj, Ana Silvia and Mihai Man for their great hospitality and energy, Rareş Stoica, Artistic Director of ClujShorts, and his lovely wife Nico Stoica, Director of Asociația Persona, an arts and culture organization who produce and organize ClujShorts, Ioan Pop-Curșeu, President of the ClujShorts Jury and all the good folks who helped make this visit for me and my wife a most memorable one (you know who you are).
Oh, and if you're a filmmaker looking for a film festival to submit your short film to, put the ClujShorts International Short Film Festival high on your list. And if you can make it there, you won't be disappointed. Promise.
Here are a few pics of me during my Q&A session (photographed by none other than Mrs. Perez)
From L-R: Rareş Stoica, Artistic Director of ClujShorts, his wife Nico Stoica, Director of Asociația Persona, Mrs. Perez, yours truly and Ioan Pop-Curșeu, President of the ClujShorts Jury
Here's the lifeblood of this fast-growing film festival: L-R Ana Silvia, Anca Andreea Pop and Mihai Man
Oh, and I also got to see some terrific short films at ClujShorts - here are a few to watch for...
Viaje a pies (Travel by feet), by Barcelona based animation filmmaker Khris Cembe
Un mal trago (A Bitter Taste) directed by Spanish filmmaker Mireia Juárez
777 a terrific student film by Cluj-Napoca based filmmaker Aron Rudics about a middle aged man who loses everything due to his slot machine addiction. Here's a behind-the-scenes video...
Random Attempts [Olağan Denemeler] directed by Cyprus based filmmakers Doğuş Özokutan Çiftçioğlu and Vasvi Çiftçioğlu is the story about a young woman who cannot take the monotony of everyday life anymore and attempts to take her life but fails. Again and again.
Orșova which was shot, directed and edited by Romanian filmmaker Sebastian Văcăriuc