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Rareş Abraham makes his directorial debut with Friday the 3rd


- The film is one of the very few independent Romanian features made outside Bucharest

Rareş Abraham makes his directorial debut with Friday the 3rd
Rareş Abraham in Friday the 3rd

Talk of Cluj-Napoca becoming an important regional filmmaking centre has been in the air almost since the inception of the Transilvania International Film Festival two decades ago, but only a handful of features have actually been shot in the Transylvanian town, including Ion Indolean’s Warsaw-selected Toni & Friends. Romanian actor-director Rareş Abraham seems determined to put Cluj-Napoca back on the filmmaking map with his directorial debut, Friday the 3rd, which will soon start post-production after being shot in February.

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The feature consists of three interconnecting stories: the first stars Abraham as a man facing a difficult choice, the second centres on two spouses (Maria Obretin and Alin Panc) trying to save their marriage, while the last one focuses on two former university colleagues (Alexandru Unguru and Luchian Pantea) sharing a secret. Supporting characters are played by Dorian Boguţă, Cosmin Seleşi, Radu Micu, Ioana Abur and Ruxandra Şerban.

Friday the 3rd is being made with a budget of only €57,000. The project is being staged by Abraham’s production company, 23 Film, in co-production with Papa Pictures (Alin Panc, Alexandru Pop) and Erka (Ruxandra Şerban). The film’s DoP is Viorel Sergovici.

Abraham sees his first feature as a “commercially orientated” endeavour designed to be attractive to a wide audience, but without forsaking cinematic values only to sell tickets. The director tells Cineuropa that his initial intention was to shoot two of the film’s three stories as short films, but the lockdown gave him time to reconsider the project as a feature consisting of three interconnected stories. “I wanted to prove that one can make movies outside Bucharest,” says the Cluj-Napoca-based helmer, adding that his screenplay has been designed from the very beginning to accommodate situations and character types specific to the Transylvanian town.

About the possibility of Cluj-Napoca becoming a filmmaking hub in the future, Abraham says that this will never happen “without a clear regional strategy, involving a close relationship between [film] schools and institutions. We don’t have an ecosystem ready to nurture film professionals – and by this I mean all of the departments, not only the directors or DoPs – and the authorities do not seem intent on encouraging film production by implementing helpful programmes,” Abraham explains.

Friday the 3rd will be delivered this autumn. The domestic release is expected for 2022, hopefully following a world premiere at a film festival.

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