Held under special conditions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 27th edition of Astra Film Festival will be a unique experience, due to the fact that Sibiu and nature are transforming into unique open-air cinemas.

AFF2020 will take place in two parts: Astra Film Festival Open Air (September 4-13), with screenings in the historic center of Sibiu and the Astra Museum, respectively Astra Film Festival Online (October 16-25), which will take place on the platform the festival, so all the Romanian public will have access to movies.

Astra Film Festival Open Air comes with a selection of 21 new Romanian documentaries, most of them presented for the first time in Sibiu. The screenings will take place in the presence of the directors, who will enter into a dialogue with the audience.

“In the current context, the exercise of reflecting on what is happening around us has become increasingly important. The perspective and years of work that documentary directors put in to bring to the screen slices of the realities around us is invaluable. These realities deserve to be known and relived through documentary film and thus we will understand much more articulated the world we live in “, said the director Dumitru Budrala, the founding director of Astra Film Festival.

The AFF 2020 format highlights the necessary protection measures for the festival to provide safe conditions for participants.

Romania stolen like in the woods

The manifesto documentary of the businessman Ştefan-Valentin Mandachi (# şîeu), “30 years and 15 minutes”, which will be screened in Sibiu in the presence of the author, exposes the problem of lack of transport infrastructure and, implicitly, of the irresponsibility of the authorities from the last 30 for years. Attitudes that placed Romania on the last place in Europe in terms of highway kilometers and on the first place in the number of deaths in road accidents.

Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan’s film, “Wood” (2020) is an ecological thriller, which follows the phenomenon of illegal deforestation in our country, revealing a world octopus of billions of euros.

The undigested stories of the communist past (“Nostalgia for the dictatorship”, 2020 – Marius Th. Barna), the 1989 Revolution – focusing on the events in Sibiu (“People on wheels”, 2019 – Cornel Mihalache) or the Chernobyl nuclear explosion (” Everything will not be fine “, 2020 – Adrian Pîrvu & Helena Maksyom) are three themes that will surely produce emotion in the audience through the way they are staged.

In turn, the film “August 23, 1944/2019”, by Andra Tarara, David Schwartz, Roland Ibold, reveals the personal experience of four Romanian citizens of Jewish ethnicity, bringing a new perspective on this major historical event. And “Bugan – I didn’t breathe the air in vain” (2019), by the Dutchman Duco Tellegen, exposes the incredible portrait of a Romanian political dissident from the communist period.

Unprecedented destinies. Intimate stories presented for the first time

Ellen Fiske & Joanna Karlberg’s film, “Josefin & Florin” (2019), a unique love story between Florin, a young Roma man who came to beg and Iosefin, a Swede, will be presented for the first time in Romania. Themes such as re-establishing ties with parents and questioning them about the decision to abandon their parental responsibilities are strongly and emotionally articulated in the films of Andrei Dăscălescu (“Holy Father”, 2020) and Diana Nicolae & Nori Florentina Vito (“Come and find me ”, 2019).

“The Doll’s House”, 2020, the directorial debut of image director Tudor Platon, is a foray into a special universe – the annual vacation of 70-year-old women, who maintain the illusion that, for them, time has not passed and they have remained the same young girls, beautiful and in love as 50 years ago. “Death … a semicolon?” (2020), by Călin Terţan, exposes the impressive testimonies of some people who have returned from clinical death.

Destinations marked by place. The unheard voices of picturesque Romania

The spirit of the “Văcăreşti Delta”, a special place on the outskirts of Bucharest, is evoked in two films (“Home, my home”, 2020 – by Radu Ciorniciuc, respectively “The Delta of Bucharest”, by Eva Pervolovici.

2020). There are movies that tell stories inspired by the real lives of people who live or have lived in this unique place. In his turn, Claudiu Mitcu radiographs the families of Lipovan fishermen from Sfântu Gheorghe, the famous locality from the Danube Delta (“All rivers flow into the sea and the sea never fills”, 2020).

In the film “Reflections in the East”, directed by Andreea Borţun, we find portraits of women from the country, in a permanent struggle for survival, who face either domestic violence or are caught in the whirlwind of the need to go to work in abroad. The film “Between realms” by Maria Cinar-Jiga describes the emotional portrait of a young Ukrainian woman, who divides her time between school and the traditional pastoral practice practiced in her native village, in the family. Alina Manolache’s film, “Children Lost on the Beach” (2020) shows the subjective image of a generation that was born and raised in the “free years” after 1990 and has now reached adulthood.

In the sweet Moldovan language

The film “I Genius Cioclea” (2019), directed by Violeta Gorgos, presents the portrait of the sensational poet Eugen Cioclea from Chisinau. And Pavel Cuzuioc’s documentary, “Please, hold the line” (2020), offers us access to homes and the Moldovan daily through the installers of the internet company.

Astra Film Festival 2020 is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and Astra Film Foundation, with the support of Sibiu County Council, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity, the National Center of Cinematography, the Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and the Union of Filmmakers. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the City Hall of Sibiu and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.
Astra Film Festival is under the High Patronage of the President of Romania.