Filmul de Piatra / Piatra Film Fest

13 Jan

The third edition of Filmul de Piatra (or Piatra Film Fest, in an approximate translation), held in the quaint little town of Piatra Neamt, was a blast. One totally unplanned trip, that turned out great, the way most unplanned things do.

The City

Oh, my Lord, Piatra Neamt is hands down one of the most beautiful towns in Romania. I’m usually a “seeing is believing” type of person, so take my word for it. At least in winter (never been there in another season), that town is a gem of Xmas street decorations, warm people, good social scene and amazing traditional food. I’ve had the best beef broth of my life up on Cozla mountain after a trip with the gondola!

The Festival

After my experience with translating shorts for NexT in the spring of 2011, I was curious about other Romanian festivals: what movies do they shortlist, what do the directors invited to speak about them say in their defense, what’s the quality of the translations for the foreign pieces? Suffice to say I’ve had a jab at all of those during the three days I was there.

The Piatra Film Fest gathered together for the competition a selection of 55 Romanian shorts, in the following categories: Fiction, Docu­mentary, Experimental, Animation, Music Video and Extreme. The Romanian Cultural Institute gave out prizes that amounted to 5,000 euros. Not too shabby for a small town event (that in all truthfulness is gaining momentum and fans at top speed). The venue was one of the town’s meeting halls, a bit too small for the great number of people who came to the screenings. Otherwise, everything was on schedule, the visual and audio were top notch and the seats cozy, too.

The Movies

Most of them were good. Some were passable and a few downright dismal. One of my favorites was Hello Kitty, directed by Millo Simulov. A story about five homeboys that go to the seaside in the driver’s sister’s Hello Kitty-blinged up ride, a magical type of foreshadowing that reminded me of Mircea Eliade‘s magic realism short stories and some really nifty camera pans. Quite naturally, it won the Fiction competition section.

Another story I loved was actually directed by one of my friends, Ismail Jamaludin. It’s called Donna Must Die! and it’s a gritty, film noir feast for the eyes with illustrations made by the talented Tuan Nini, and a plot twist that’ll have you laughing for hours afterward. Why, oh, why must they give out only one prize per section?!

Among the other things that caught my eye were:

The People

Loads of them and mostly of the the indie/hip persuasion. I was surprised to see how many youngsters such an event can get together. Of course, it’s exciting to volunteer and be part of the organizing of something like this, almost as exciting as actually making a movie and having it accepted to a competition. Then there were the latter, the people behind the movies, whom we got to talk to about their short films in an informal post-screening Q&A session.

Some were very to the point and in the know, others…not so much. It’s a little surprising how one can muster the courage to put one’s vision into practice but not find a few words to describe it to the jury and public. Call me crazy but I think maybe some of those people need to think a bit more about their stories before grabbing that camera. Just in case there’s someone in the public with an uncomfortable question.

After the end

All in all, Filmul de Piatra was a definitely good start to the year. I came back refreshed, inspired and with a much clearer view of where my life should be headed to. And to think I only went there to have fun… 😀

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2 Responses to “Filmul de Piatra / Piatra Film Fest”

  1. unwantedthoughtssupply Monday, January 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    I know it’s cheating, but kudos, really good, informative and fun to read article 🙂

    • ellevaouelleveut Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 4:42 am #

      It’s not cheating cos’ you weren’t there. 😉 Thank you. I hope I covered enough of what happened there.

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