Producer on the Move 2010 – Romania
by Stefan Dobroiu
A graduate in Directing from FEMIS in Paris, Daniel Burlac served as promotion manager for Cristian Mungiu's first feature Occident and Cristi Puiu's The Death of Mr Lazarescu [+see also:
film profile]. Also a production manager on Corneliu Porumboiu's Camera d'Or-winning 12:08 East of Bucharest [+see also:
interview: Corneliu Porumboiu
interview: Daniel Burlac
film profile], Burlac went on to associate produce Palme d'Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days [+see also:
interview: Cristian Mungiu
interview: Oleg Mutu
film profile]. His most recent project is Bogdan Apetrei's feature debut Outskirts.
Cineuropa: Outskirts is in the final stages of post-production. What details can you give us about the project and what was its biggest challenge for you?
Daniel Burlac: Outskirts is a Saga Film project on which I am a delegate producer. It is directed by a very talented director, Bogdan Apetrei, a graduate like Florin Serban of Columbia University. It is based on a story by Ioana Uricaru and Cristian Mungiu and the script was written by Tudor Voican and Bogdan Apetrei. The DoP was Marius Panduru, who once again shoots magnificently.
As for the cast, Ana Ularu has a great part, as well as Andi Vasluianu, Mimi Branescu and Ioana Flora, who will make you discover amazing characters. The challenge was to introduce a new director and prove once more that there is something happening in Romania and that the audiences should get used to the talent of this new generation.
In your opinion, what is the biggest problem facing Romania's film industry?
I don't think we have an industry! We only have a seed for something well suited to Romania and our region. And the biggest problem was and is the small number of cinemas as well as the lack of support from those who should help and promote this worldwide phenomenon that is Romanian cinema these days. The best actors I've been working with are the politicians. They promised fairness and we believed them. Nice work, guys! Quite a performance. We don't have a long-term cultural strategy that allows us to work efficiently and give up improvising once and for all. There are many problems... You know, there is a saying: “I need so much that I don't lack anything!”
What about the advantages? After all, Romanian cinema is very fashionable right now.
The advantage is that I'll be able to tell my grandchildren I was part of this. Seriously speaking, now we can sit down with anyone in Europe to discuss a co-production and be interesting and convincing.
Why doesn't Romania have audience hits like France's Welcome to the Sticks [+see also:
film profile], for example?
We are too ambitious and we forget that audiences do not comprise only those who read Dilema Veche [Romania's most important cultural magazine]. There are different kinds of audiences and we never think about them. But it is hard to be entertaining without being embarrassing and it is also hard to charm viewers when you don't have money. But I think we will soon have a domestic hit. I can “feel” it!
In a film industry where a €2m project is considered a “blockbuster”, do you have a dream project, a film you want to do but have never been able to because of the budget?
Yes, a children’s movie that I also want to direct. Something similar to the fairy tales our grandparents used to tell us in our childhood.
What about your next projects?
I have a beautiful new project in Albania that Robert Budina is directing. The cast includes Billy Zane, Asia Argento, Arta Dobroshi and [Eric] Cantona. It is a French/Romanian/Greek/Albanian co-production. I'll also produce Ruxandra Zenide's next film and a documentary with Amos Gitai, which I'll shoot this year with Switzerland's Elefant Films.
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