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    Timishort #3

    By Martin Blaney | May 31, 2011

    In photo, Silent River, courtesy Christian Stangassinger

    In photo, Silent River, courtesy Christian Stangassinger

    The tickets had already been booked to attend the 10th edition of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), which opens in Cluj this coming Friday (June 3) with Francois Ozon’s comedy Potiche, when an invitation came to be a member on the International Jury of the Timishort Film Festival (May 4-8) in the Romanian city of Timosoara close to the border with Hungary.

    I knew knew of Timosoara (known in German as Temeswar) as the launchpad for the 1989 revolution which led to the end of the Ceausescu regime, but I hadn’t been aware that this city also hosted its own international film festival dedicated to the short format.

    In fact, Timishort – as the festival is known for short – is only into its third edition this year, but has already become a fixed and popular event on the city’s arts calendar.

    Organisation of Timishort is in the capable hands of three people – executive director Andreeas Dinca from the Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin, artistic director and filmmaker Paul Negoescu and administrative director Cristina Docea – who are supported by a young and enthusiastic team along with numerous local volunteers for a busy schedule of watching films by day and then partying into the early hours in Timosoara’s vibrant nightlife.

    I was joined on my jury to judge the international and national competitions by Hugo Ramos of Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival in Portugal, Romanian film critic Lucian Maier, festival programmer/advisor Massimiliano Nardulli (his festivals include Festival Européen du Film Court de Brest and Berlin’s Lakino – Latin American Short Film Festival), and Israeli filmmaker Shai Miedzinski whose short The Descent won the Silver Bear at the 2010 Berlinale before he came to Timishort #2 and was awarded the Timishort Trophy.

    In the International Competition, this year‘s Timishort Trophy for the Best Film went to Romanian director Cristi Iftime‘s 15 Iulie (15 July) by.  „This was the No. 1 favourite for all of the jury members because of the film’s well-written characters in a seemingly simple story which nevertheless has great subtlety,“ the jury‘s motivation declared. „The film boasts some great acting performances.“

    There was also a Romanian connection for the winner of Best Director Award, Turkish filmmaker Erol Mintas‘ Berf (Snow), because of the editor. The jury described the film as „a magnificent directorial achievement which, through the combination of beautiful landscapes and a story of few words, gives us a sensitive portrait of an archaic society shaken by political turmoil from the modern world outside.“

    Meanwhile the Timishort Special Award went to Woman Waiting by Canadian Antoine Bourges and a Special Mention was granted to Canopy Crossings by Gary Yong „for a really original mix between documentary and fiction.“

    Victor Dragomir won the Best Romanian Film prize in the National Competition with Fotografia (The Photograph) „for the skillful characterisation of two Romanian generations with great acting performances across the board,“ while Diana Vidrascu’s cinematography was deemed worthy of a prize for her work on Skin by Ivana Mladenovic.

    At the same time, a Special Mention went to Apele Tac (Silent River) by Anca Miruna Lazarescu „for a really impressive short film which addresses a social theme – looking for a better life – that is as topical as ever.“

    Silent River had competed this year in the Berlinale Shorts competition and picked up another two prizes on the same weekend as Timishorts: at the Brussels Short Film Festival and the 40th Sehsüchte students festival in Potsdam.

    Lazarescu’s film was produced by Munich-based David Lindner’s Filmallee (who has been operating out of offices in the Bayerisches Filmzentrum Geiselgasteig on the Bavaria Film studio lot) and is his third consecutive film to be selected for the Berlinale competition: the previous two were Paul Negoescu’s Renovation (2009) and Derby (2010). Lindner will now be joining Romanian producer Ada Solomon to co-produce Negoescu’s feature film debut 365 New Year Eves.

    In addition, Lazarescu – who hails from Timosoara and graduated from Berlin’s dffb –  received the Audience Award which was calculated by ratings given by the audience as they left the cinema after each screening.

    A second jury – consisting of German multidiscplinary media artist, filmmaker and festival director Agricola de Cologne, Russian visual artist and curator Alexey Dmitriev and Moldovan visual artist and filmmaker Pavel Braila – judged the films in the Videorama section for experimental films and video art and chose Karsten Krause’s four-minute Du und ich (You and Me) for its award.

    Krause, who graduated from Hamburg’s School of Fine Arts last year, had previously won the FFA’s Short Tiger, and was presented at Cannes this month as part of the 2011 lineup of Next Generation Short Tiger.

    Indeed, German filmmakers were in evidence throughout the Timishort programme: German Films sent the Next Generation programme of shorts from 2010 and there was a showcase of films by students of the Munich University of Television and Film (HFF) as well as a selection of films from CologneOFF 2011.

    Moreover, the festival programme provided a good opportunity to catch some of the interesting new talents coming out of Romania in the section „Newer Waves“ with such shorts as Ciprian Alexandrescu’s Lunch Break, Andra Chiriac’s Reflex and Alexandra Botau’s Farewell, while „Festival Troopers“ gathered a selection of recent shorts „made in Romania“ which had been picked by international festival programmers and subsequently won awards – ranging from Adrian Sitaru’s two shorts Cage and The Lord through Adina Pintile’s Oxygen to Paul Negoescu’s Derby.

    Post addendum: Hugo Ramos of Curtas Vila do Conde International Film Festival has selected Silent River and 15 July (Photograph had already been invited) to this year’s edition of his festival which is held from 9 – 17 July.

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