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CPH:DOX 2021 CPH:DOX Industry

Lina Vdovîi, Radu Ciorniciuc et Monica Lăzurean-Gorganas • Réalisateurs et productrice de Father (Tata)

“C’est une enquête personnelle”

par 

- L’équipe qui prépare le projet lauréat du Prix Eurimages au développement de la coproduction espère mettre fin au cycle de la violence

Lina Vdovîi, Radu Ciorniciuc et Monica Lăzurean-Gorganas  • Réalisateurs et productrice de Father (Tata)
(de gauche à droite) : les co-réalisateurs, Lina Vdovîi et Radu Ciorniciuc, et la productrice Monica Lăzurean-Gorganas

Cet article est disponible en anglais.

Awarded €20,000 for best pitch at this year’s CPH:FORUM, Father (Tata) – set for release in 2023 – will see co-director Lina Vdovîi deciding to finally confront her father, only to find out he has suffered abuse too, at the hands of his employer in Italy.

Cineuropa: Is it much harder to tell this kind of story when it is also your own?
Lina Vdovîi:
I realised I was taking on some of my father’s traits – I was behaving just like he was. It was actually more painful to deal with that than to confront him, but I went to Italy and decided to talk to him about our past, to figure out how we could end this cycle of violence. Then I found out that he was a victim himself, so vulnerable. I am a journalist, so it was easier to hand him the hidden camera and teach him how to gather evidence than to react to it all in a personal manner. When I became a mother, it added another layer of complexity. I needed to solve all these issues.

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I am always amazed by the things we pick up from our parents. You also worked together on Acasă - My Home [+lire aussi :
critique
bande-annonce
interview : Radu Ciorniciuc
fiche film
]
, but what is it like to finally co-direct?
LV:
To be honest, Radu is the more experienced one.

Radu Ciorniciuc: To be even more honest, Lina is the lead in the story. I am there to make sure that everyone is comfortable with what’s being done and aware of all the implications. In our everyday life as journalists, she is my boss and I am her director of photography. Here, the story was more sensitive, but we found it therapeutic. We have a family together, so there are questions we need to be answered.

Our relationship with Monica and our editor Andrei [Gorgan] helps a lot too. This team is used to working together, we can ask them for advice and guidance. So even though it’s painful, we try to embrace it and maybe it will be valuable for the viewers.

LV: It’s helpful to have Radu there because he has a broader view – we can cross-check some creative decisions. Yesterday we were having a picnic and we ended up talking about the film, just like we have done every day for the past two years. Both of us have been through hard times, we all carry some “generational debt”. Now, we want to get rid of it. Or at least turn it into something that would make us much better people.

Has the pandemic influenced the project, has it slowed you down? What are you planning to use the award for?
LV:
With my father, we were apart for most of my life anyway. In that sense, the pandemic didn’t change too much. When we came back to Romania, our communication took place mostly online. Now he has his tools and keeps on investigating. We will return to Italy though, hopefully next week.

RC: Lina did a great job training him. Later, he would also use the camera to show her around, to record video letters. It became something very intimate: the tool for investigation became a tool for communication. On a more practical level, it has been hard, especially from a legal point of view – the institutions take twice as long to respond. We have been using this time to develop the script and clarify our intentions. It has forced us to be even more creative.

Monica Lăzurean-Gorganas: It slowed down the process, yes. In Romania, in 2020, there weren’t any calls for production support subsidies, we had to wait to apply this year and the competition is fierce. This award came at a perfect moment – before, all we had was development support from HBO Europe. The production couldn’t keep up with Lina and Radu – they were moving much faster.

With such projects, you can’t really wait forever though, can you?
RC:
Also, it being such a delicate topic, you can’t hire other people to do things for you. Then again, our jobs are never easy and at least now we feel we have a well-developed project. We can’t wait to go back and film, and this award allows us to do that. It’s not exactly a plot-driven film, but things are starting to reach a point of conclusion.

LV: The most important thing was to make my father feel empowered. This hidden camera, it gave him confidence. He had something that could protect him from this employer. I used to write about victims of domestic violence and modern-day slavery. He was aware of that and when we met, he asked for help. He had to learn a lot, as he had never even used a computer before, but he was very enthusiastic. It was amazing to see.

RC: The only thing he knew was that nobody was going to believe him. Not the police, because he is “just” some guy from Moldova, with an Eastern European accent. “Nobody will believe me” – this is how the conversation started. We showed him how to do this in an ethical way. In short, we taught him investigative journalism.

MLG: In the film, they use tools that we recognise to find out more, but it will be an observational, personal film. It’s more of a personal investigation, really.

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