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Toronto Romanian Film Festival

Innis Town Hall :: February 1, 2008 - February 3, 2008

A rediscovery of Romania’s cinematic past:
remembering a misbehaved reality

ToRo Arts Group,
Hart House Film Board,

1st annual
Film Festival

February 1-3

Innis Town Hall

All films are in Romanian with English subtitles

(per programme)

$15 - adult
$10 - student
general admission
N.B. There are 7 separate programmes.


Day Pass
(SAT or SUN)
$40 - adult
$25 - student

Festival Pass
(all 7 programmes (FRI, SAT, & SUN))
$95 - adult
$60 - student

The Festival Opening Reception (Feb1 Fri 11pm) is FREE (at Studio 204 (204 Spadina Avenue))

A rediscovery of Romania’s cinematic past: remembering a misbehaved reality.

The ToRo Arts Group proudly presents the 1st Annual Toronto-Romanian Film Festival, which is poised to satisfy Toronto’s increased appetite for cinemas without borders and undiscovered cinematic expressions through a retrospective of Romania’s cinema from its early beginnings to its present international success.

Dedicating its opening night to the late Cristian Nemescu, ToRo will screen California Dreamin’ (Endless), winner of the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Picture at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. The evening’s special guest speaker is filmmaker and York university professor Tereza Barta.

With a line-up of feature films such as Lucian Pintilie’s 1968 political-deviant masterpiece Reenactment, Alexandru Solomon’s riveting Cold-War documentary The Great Communist Bank Robbery, the Festival second night aims to shed light on the political and cinematic context on which the ‘New Wave’ emerges from. The films will be introduced by special guest speaker, University of Western Ontario professor Dr. Calin Mihailescu.

Delving further into Romanian cinema’s history, ToRo is proud to present a special screening of the first ever Romanian feature film, The War of Independence (1912). The Festival’s special guest, New York-based Romanian Dj, Bogman will provide the musical accompaniment for the silent film.

The festival will close with a modern interpretation of Romania’s early voyage into the art of cinema by screening the Canadian premiere of Nae Caranfil’s latest movie, The Rest is Silence. With a record-setting budget of 24 million Euros, The Rest is Silence will be remembered as a period-piece that unveils the artistic passion that has survived in Romanian cinema from its inception to its current worldwide recognition.

The Festival presents two programs of award-winning shorts that will provide a perfect exposé of Romania’s young and emerging directors. Amongst the films are Radu Jude’s Tube With a Hat, 2007 Sundance Film Festival winner of the Best International Short, Adrian Sitaru’s Waves, winner of the Best Short at the 2007 Locarno International Film Festival, Alexandru Mavrodineanu’s official New York Film Festival selection, The Boxing Lesson and Bogdan Apetri’s The Last Day of December, an official selection of the 2006 Montreal World Film Festival.

In typical fashion, the ToRo Arts Group will be hosting an Opening Party, scheduled to take place on Friday, February 1st, following the opening screening, at Studio 204. Live musical entertainment will be provided by the Festival’s special guest DJ, Bogman. Video-art projections will also be on display.


* Please be advised that ToRo Arts Group reserves the right to modify and/or alter the evening’s program so as to meet all necessary legal and copyright requirements. All changes made will arrive with due notification. We ask that you visit for the final program.

Due to festival (international) screening priorities outside our control, Alexandru Mavrodineanu's The Boxing Lesson (2007) will be substituted with Calain Leescu's Afterimage (2007). We apologize for the inconvenience.

February 1

Opening Night

Opening Night is

1. C Block Story / Poveste La Scara C (2003)

Director: Cristian Nemescu
Screenwriter: Cristian Nemescu, Tudor Voican
Cast: Alex Marginean, Catalina Mustata, Maria Dinulescu
Running time: 14 min.

Madly in love with Monica, his neighbour, Andrei, a shy teenager, calls a hot line to find out how he could seduce the girl. Elevator love stories in the outskirts of Bucharest…

- Prix UIP Angers (European Short Film) 2004
- Award of the Festival Director (Art Film Festival) 2003
- Short Award (Berlin Interfilm Festival) 2003
- Best Actress (CineMAiubit- International Student Film Festival) 2002

2. California Dreamin’ (Endless) (2007)

Director: Cristian Nemescu
Screenwriter: Cristian Nemescu, Tudor Voican
Cast: Armand Assante, Razvan Vasilescu, Maria Dinulescu, Adi Vasluianu
Running time: 155 min.

In June of 1999, a top-secret NATO radar system is en route to war torn Kosovo by train. However, the urgent mission sees its progress halted by Doiaru (Razvan Vasilescu), the station master and local heavy of a small Romanian outpost named Capalnita. He insists that all appropriate custom forms be filled out before the high-tech cargo can pass, despite having received verbal consent from the government. Soon a battle of wills begins between the powerful black-marketeer and the leaders of the United States military squadron accompanying the system, Captain Doug Jones (Armand Assante) and Sergeant David McLaren (Jamie Elman).

While waiting for backs to be scratched and paperwork to be completed, the Americans spend some time with the local lasses, including Doiaru’s daughter Monica (the gorgeous Maria Dinulescu). But five days of stasis allows plenty of time for an explosive situation to develop, particularly as all the locals are brainstorming ways to put the Americans to good use. The initial transnational flirtations soon prove to be nothing compared to the political firestorm that erupts.

- Un Certain Regard Award (Cannes Film Festival) 2007
- FIPRESCI Prize & Special Jury Prize (Molodist International Film Festival) 2007
- Grand Prix "Aleksandar Saša Petrovic" (Belgrad Auteur Film Festival) 2007
- Satyajit Ray Award (London International Film Festival) 2007
- Best Feature (Ellensburg Film Festival) 2007
- FIPRESCI Jury Award (Kyiv International Film Festival Molodist) 2007

ToRo Arts Group is proud to announce the special guest appearance of (former Montrealer) actor Jamie Elman (Sg. David McLaren) to its Opening Night Screening of Cristian Nemescu's film California Dreamin' on February 1st at 7pm.

Jamie Elman will be present alongside York University Professor Tereza Barta to introduce the film and talk about his involvement in the project as well as working with Cristian Nemescu.

Following the screening will be a Question & Answer session with the audience.


The ToRo cordially invites you to celebrate the start of its 1st Annual Toronto-Romanian Film Festival by heading down to Studio 204 (204 Spadina Ave.) and attending its Festival Opening Reception.

The Festival’s special guest, New York-based Dj Bogman will provide the musical backdrop for a night of music and art. Come and schmooze to the Live video projections will be organized.

The Festival Opening Reception (Feb1 Fri 11pm) is FREE (at Studio 204 (204 Spadina Avenue))


February 2

Scurt Metraje

1. Last Day of December (2006)

Director: Bogdan Apetri
Screenwriter: Bogdan Apetri
Cast: Dan Grigoras, Florin Rusu
Running time: 15 min.

A man tries to reconcile a harrowing tale from his past and confront old questions that will keep on haunting him forever. But what will it mean for the present?

2. When the Lights Go Out / Cand Se Stinge Lumina (2006)

Director: Igor Cobileanski
Screenwriter: Igor Cobileanski
Cast: Mihai Ciolac, Sergiu Voloc, Ion Sandu, Sergiu Cretu, Lars Bokander, Valeriu Cazacu
Running time: 8.25 min.

In a poor country 100 bucks are enough to lose your mind for a couple of minutes.

3. Waves / Valuri (2006)

Director: Adrian Sitaru
Screenwriter: Adrian Sitaru
Cast: Adrian Titieni, Karen Wallet, Sergiu Costache
Running time: 16 min.

At the seaside, on the beach, two people experience extreme situations. A beautiful Western mother asks a gyps boy to look after a 4 year old child; a husband and father fight boredom by flirting with the same beautiful foreigner while teacher her how to swim. But the story takes a different course when the beautiful mother disappears into the waves.

- Grand Prix Bayard d’Or (Francophone Film Festival, Namur, Belgium 2007)
- “Golden Leopard” for Best Short (Locarno International Film Festival 2007)

4. The Fear of Mr. G / Frica Domnului G (2006)

Director: Adina Pintilie
Screenwriter: Adina Pintilie
Cast: Doru Ana, Richard Bovnoczki
Running time: 20 min.

Mr. G lives a normal yet boring life, what some may call a bothersome routine. One day however, his reflection in the mirror stops obeying him.

- Critics Award and Best Sound Award ("Cinemaiubit" Student Film Festival, Romania 2006)

5. Liviu’s Dream / Visul Lui Liviu (2004)

Director: Corneliu Porumboiu
Screenwriter: Corneliu Porumboiu
Cast: Dragos Bucur, Luiza Cocora, Constantin Dita, Adrian Vancica
Running time: 39 min.

A strange dream forgotten in the morning and an unaccountable feeling make Liviu look with resignation upon the world he lives in. the wakening to reality might coincide with the birth of his child…
Liviu’s Dream tells the story of a young man who was born by mistake. That is, as a result of a communist decree which banned all abortions and contraceptive measures.

- Best Romanian Short (Transylvania International Film Festival 2004)


1. Great Communist Bank Robbery / Marele Jaf Comunist (2004)

Director: Alexandru Solomon
Screenwriter: Alexandru Solomon
Running time: 85 min.

One quiet morning in 1959, the Romanian National Bank was robbed, like in the American movies. It was an exceptional event, in a Communist country, where there was only one bank, money wasn’t worth a lot and it was nearly impossible to run abroad.
After less than 2 months, six people were arrested and charged with the robbery. All of them high-ranking members of the nomenclature, all of them Jews. After the investigation, the defendants were asked to play their own parts in a reconstruction film, directed by the secret police. This 1960 film, entitled „Reconstruction”, shows less than it hides. After nearly 50 years, many questions are left open. Searching for answers, the „Great Communist Bank Robbery” tries to restore the truth of an era plunged into lies and manipulation.

- Prix du Film d’Histoire (Festival du Film d’Histoire, Pessac, France 2004)
- Best Director (Hungarian-Romanian Dok Festival 2005)
- Grand Prix (Mediawave Gyor, Hungary 2005)
- Prize For Social Values (Documenta Madrid 2005)

Feature Film

1. Reenactment / Reconstituirea (1968)

Director: Lucian Pintilie
Screenwriter: Horia Patrascu, Lucian Pintilie
Cast: George Constantin, Emil Botta, George Mihaita, Vladimir Gaitan, Ileana Popovici
Running time: 100 min.

Ripu and Vuica are students who celebrate one evening by drinking too much. They attack the bar owner and break a window. A few days later, they are led back to the scene of the crime by a police officer, a judge, a teacher and a film crew. The judge has decided that instead of going to jail, they will have to work as actors in a state sponsored documentary against alcoholism. They must faithfully reconstruct the events of that day, from the assault on the bartender to the final fight. That which did not happen in real life ends tragically in the fictionalized version.

Upon its completion in the late 1960s, The Reenactment was banned because, according to one critic, "It was dominated by a sense of the tragic...and nourished by a profound civil and cultural awareness."

“I consider that the shock of ‘Reenactment' is a vital, regenerating one, that it is the prelude for other shocks, which will replace a cinema of mystification by a cinema fanatically faithful to the truth.” (Lucian Pintilie)

“One of the pinnacles of Eastern European cinema.” (Antonin Liehm)


February 3

Shorts Programme

1. (Boredom and) Inspiration / (Plictis si) Inspiratie (2007)

Director: Igor Cobileanski
Screenwriter: Igor Cobileanski
Cast: Valeriu Turcanu, Mihai Curagau, Sergiu Voloc
Running time: 11 min.

A bored mayor, an old deputy and a policeman are in search of inspiration...

2. Water / Apa (2007)

Director: Constantin Popescu
Screenwriter: Constantin Popescu (dupa o poveste de Dumitru Radu Popescu – Eclipsa)
Cast: Dragos Bucur, Andi Vasluianu, Mihai Constantin, Ion Bechet
Running time: 33 min.

Somewhere in Northern Romania, in July of 1944, three romanian military men get lost from their platoon following an ambush by the Russian army. One of the men is the platoon’s commander, a young sub-lieutenant. The other two are inferior in rank.

The three soldiers get stuck in an open field, in an abandoned Romanian trench. In the opposite trench lies the Russian army. In-between the two trenches there is a fountain. With both sides suffering from thirst, an armistice of a couple of minutes is agreed upon, and one soldier from each side emerges to bring back water…

3. The Tube With A Hat / Lampa cu Caciula (2007)

Director: Radu Jude
Screenwriter: Florin Lazarescu
Cast: Gabriel Spahiu
Running time: 23 min.

Very early in the morning, Marian, a 7 year-old boy from a small and isolated Romanian village, wakes up his father and persuades him to go to the city, in order to get their old TV set fixed. Despite the bad weather, the father finally agrees.
A short road-movie about the father-and-son relationship and the importance of small things in life…and Bruce Lee.

- Best International Short (Sundance Film Festival 2007)
- Best Narrative Short (San Francisco International Film Festival 2007)
- Best Short Film (Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival 2006)
- Best Short Film (Los Angeles Film Festival 2007)
- Short Film Prize (Cottbus Film Festival 2006)

4. Bricostory (2007)

Director: Andrea Paduraru
Screenwriter: Andrea Paduraru
Cast: Klára Tompa, Tudor Hristescu, Tudor Aaron Istodor
Running time: 21 min.

Ana and Paul visit a home improvement store. They befriend an employee and the three spend the next ten minutes wandering through the aisles getting everything for their home.

5. Afterimage (2007)

Director: Catalin Leescu
Screenwriter: Catalin Leescu
Cast: Madalina Ghitescu, Cristian Popa
Running time: 15 min.

In 2057, a private Forensic Artist is using reflective technology to reconstruct a special 50 year old case.

- Official Selection (European Independent Film Festival, France 2007)
- Official Selection (Capalbio Cinema, Italy 2007)
- Official Selection (BEST International Film Festival, Romania 2007)

Feature Film

1. Short History / Scurta Istorie (1956)

Director: Ion-Popescu Gopo
Screenwriter: Ion-Popescu Gopo
Running time: 10 min.

The first romanian short animation awarded on Plame d’Or, is about the evolution of man.
“Gopo’s film attains in 10 minutes poetic ideas, within a humorous story full of rhythm and imagination. It is important that his film does not borrow from Disney, Grimault, nor from the Czechoslovak or Soviet schools. At Cannes, this animated short was a discovery that needed to be announced by granting it the great prize.”
- Georges Sadoul, 1957

- Golden Palm for Best Short Film (Cannes Film Festival 1957)

2. War of Independence / Independenta Romaniei (1912)

Director: Aristide Demetriade
Screenwriter: Aristide Demetriade, Petre Liciu, Constantin Nottara
Cast: Aristide Demetriade, Constantin Nottara, Aristita Romanescu, Aurel Athanasescu, Jen Metaxa-Doro
Running time: 55min.

* Live musical accompaniment provided by DJ Gypsy Bogdan

The War of Independence is considered to mark the first step in the art of cinema in Romania (although not the first film to have been produced in the country) and a historical document narrating Romania’s war of independence with the Ottoman Empire and Russia in the winter of 1877-1878. It is a “super-production” of the beginnings of cinema, bringing together famous actors of many Romanian theatres, as well more than 80.000 extras, some of which part of the Romanian Army, including real veterans of the depicted battles. It is also one of the first films to feature a real personality – King Carol I. Its genesis and the role of Aristide Demetriade as the key film director have long been unclear, the discoveries made in 1985 by film critic Tudor Caranfil being the source of inspiration for Nae Caranfil’s recent film The Rest is Silence.

Feature Film

1. Seven Arts / 7 Arte (1958)

Director: Ion-Popescu Gopo
Screenwriter: Ion-Popescu Gopo
Running time: 11 min.

“I wanted to draw a couple of lines to caricature the genesis of the seven arts, allotting each of them no more than one minute of screen time. I wanted this small guy, with no muscles and claws, who trembles at his own shadow, to become master of the universe that frightens him.” – Ion-Popescu Gopo, 1958

- Best Animated Film (Tours Film Festival 1958)

2. The Rest is Silence / Restul e Tacere (2007)

Director: Nae Caranfil
Screenwriter: Nae Caranfil
Cast: Marius Florea, Ovidiu Niculescu, Mirela Zeta, Nicu Mihoc, Ioana Bulca
Running time: 140 min.

In 1911, Bucharest was the "Paris of the East." Grand receptions, lavish lifestyles, and luxuriant architecture were all central to the city's existence. If theater was the preferred art form, the city's nascent cinemas were still holding their own. In the midst of Bucharest's theatrical life we find Grig, a would-be film director for the French-based Gaumont Company. Grig manages to alienate his famous father, a celebrated Romanian stage actor who only has contempt for the new cinemas. The lavishly styled The Rest Is Silence vividly recreates turn-of-the-century Bucharest and the turbulence of the early film industry.



Who is ToRo?
There is no bull in toro and we do not do bull runs. ToRo Arts Group showcases and nurtures art. We make possible the interaction between the artists who create art and the enthusiasts who consume it. Go on - do the toro!

ToRo Arts Group is an organization dedicated to making possible cross-cultural dialogue between Toronto’s art communities and Romanian culture through a diverse range of artistic mediums.

The newly founded ToRo Arts Group is a non-profit organization whose primary concern will be to showcase Romanian culture through various art mediums – film, music, photography and painting – for the Toronto arts communities and relevant diasporas.

Of equal importance however, will be the nurturing of Canadian-Romanian art through monetary grants, sponsorships and when applicable, appropriate non-financial guidance and assistance.


Toronto Romanian Film Festival

Innis Town Hall
Fri Feb 01 2008, 7:00pm (SOLD OUT)
Sat Feb 02 2008, 3:00pm
Sat Feb 02 2008, 6:00pm
Sat Feb 02 2008, 9:00pm
Sun Feb 03 2008, 1:30pm
Sun Feb 03 2008, 4:30pm
Sun Feb 03 2008, 7:00pm (LIMITED SEATING)

Ticket Sales Begin:
Thu Jan 10 2008, 11:00am

Ticket Prices:
adult (per programme) - $15.00
student (per programme) - $10.00
adult (Day Pass) - $40.00
student (Day Pass) - $25.00
adult (Festival Pass) - $95.00
student (Festival Pass) - $60.00

For More Information:
Visit Event Website
E-mail: N/A
Phone: (416) 978-8849
Fax: N/A

Venue information, including seating plans & maps.