On Monday, October 14, the hustle and bustle will start in the historical center of Sibiu and it will last for 7 days during the 26th edition of Astra Film International Festival, an event of great significance and high cultural standing. The official programme of the 2019 edition is impressive: 126 documentaries were selected, 46 of which will be competing in the 4 competition sections, 58 will have their premiere at AFF 2019, 55 screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions with the Romanian and foreign directors who will be attending the festival and 29 films will be screened in VR and full-dome format.
Hundreds of cinematic events will carry the film enthusiasts between 9 screening venues in the historical center of Sibiu: Thalia Hall, Thalia Glass Hall, Gong Theatre, Astra Film Cinema 1, Astra Film Cinema 2, Cinema Ion Besoiu – Large Hall, Cinema Ion Besoiu – Small Hall, Full-dome and VR dome, while a series of events will take place at Hub AFF Thalia. The audience will discover diverse and profound stories about the world we live in through the directors’ lens.
This edition of Astra Film Festival promises to be one of superlatives from its very first day. The opening gala will be marked by two exceptional events: the Romanian premiere screening of “State Funerals” directed by Sergei Loznitsa, one of the most important voices in world cinema, and the panel discussion on communism and post-communism with Emil Hurezeanu, one of the most valuable political analysts from Romania, who has been acting as Ambassador of Romania in Berlin since 2015. The opening film that Loznitsa describes as “a visual study of the nature of Stalin’s personality cult” fit to cause unrest in the current global context will be the starting point in the discussion. The event will be held at Thalia Hall, at 7:00 PM, in the presence of hundreds of special guests.
The cinematic adventure will continue during the following days with hundreds of screenings, absolute premieres, guests from all over the world and spectacular events. A series of films followed by discussions with the authors and special guests thoroughly explore significant topics in contemporary society. The phenomena of corruption is tackled by the screening of the documentary “The House with a Lock” and the discussions that will follow with director Dana Gavrea, Dumitru Borțun (SNSPA professor, interviewed in the film), political analyst Cristian Pârvulescu and Marius Panduru, Eugen Kelemen and Cristian Radu, members of the production team. What is justice and who are the people behind the court cases are questions that will be answered by the screening of “People of Justice” and by the protagonists themselves, Iulia Georgescu and Theodor Ioniță, during the Q&A session. The Romanian education system is scrutinized in the film “Teach” followed by a discussion with director Alex Brendea. The screenings that will be attended by the authors, protagonists or other special guests are marked with the Q&A sign on the festival programme.
This year, the festival proposes 12 diverse, complex and captivating special programmes that will fully engage the members of the audience, pushing them towards introspection and guiding them out of their comfort zone: “The Family Camera”, “Marriage, Sex and Beyond”, “Unknown China”, “DokStation”, “Europe 30: Between Walls”, “Great Masters”, “Sex Work Stories”, “Power is Feminine”, “The Legal System under Scrutiny”, “Videograms Romania 1989”, “The Professional Foreigner. Asen Balikci and Visual Ethnography” and “Special Screenings”.
The programme of this year’s edition of the festival is completed by live music performances (Adrian Naidin, Disco Sigaretta, Balkan Taksim, Om la lună and Ungo Visuals), the DocumentaryTank@AFF programme, which also includes Astra Film Lab, a development programme for documentary film projects that will bring to Sibiu around 50 specialists with international experience, event-meetings such as “The Film Collector” with director Andrei Ujică or “Astra Film: Life in Documentaries”, a panel discussion with legendary Peter Dale (Head of Documentary Department at the National School of Film and Television), during which he will present his prestigious career and his perspective on storytelling in documentary film-making.
”Over the past 26 years, Astra Film Festival has gained international recognition. Consequently, many filmmakers want to present their films in Sibiu charmed by the original festival programming, the warmth with which the public receives the films, the permanent flux of ideas and the multicultural atmosphere within the former medieval citadel. Having the experience of previous editions I can attest to the fact there are lots of established directors who first came to Astra Film Festival. That is why it is important that you watch as many films from our generous programme. The official selection is filled with documentaries that can penetrate the minds of audience members and remain forever imprinted in their memory”, said Dumitru Budrala, founding director of Astra Film Sibiu.
You can find the complete festival programme here: www.astrafilm.ro/en/program
Tickets for AFF 2019 can be purchased online: www.eventbook.ro/festival/astra-film-festival
Astra Film Festival Sibiu is held under the High Patronage of the Romanian Presidency.
Astra Film Festival 2019 is coordinated by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, the Ministry of Culture and National Identity and the National Center of Cinematography. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the City Hall of Sibiu.