22 September, 2023
Ileana Danalache (foto: AaRC.ro, Youtube)

An interview with Ileana Danalache

Elena Vladova

Ileana Danalache is a film critic with more than 40 years of experience. She has followed the development of Romanian cinema also in her capacity of a festival organiser. She has been invited two Bulgaria two times as a member of the jury of film festivals – in April 2019 in Veliko Tarnovo and in August 2019 in Varna.

Ileana Danalache was member of the jury of the 27th International Film Festival ”Love is Folly” in Varna. She has published one book with her interviews. She writes for two informational sites in Romania.

This article was published on 1 September 2019 on the site of the Urban Magazine.

Mrs. Danalache, you have experience as organiser of a festival. Does it still take place?

I was the vice president of the International Festival of the Documentary Film ”Document.Art” with films in three sections: ecological, art documentaries and tourism films. It was the first festival of its kind in Romania. It took place for the first time in 1994 and was member of the CIFFT – The International Committee of Tourism Film Festivals, which is headquartered in Vienna and aims at promoting the tourist destinations through documentary films and advertising clips. Three years ago our festival was stopped, because of lack of funds. Each year in September we make retrospective screening within the literature festival, which is organised by the National Library in Bucharest. The International Tour Film Fest ”On the Eastern Shore of Europe”, which takes place in Veliko Tarnovo is also a part of CIFFT. I was member of its jury this year.

You have a long experience as a film critic. What changed in the last years in Romania’s cinema?

I have been dealing with film critics for 40 years already. Since five years I have been the deputy editor-in-chief of a media, which is printed, and deals with the market of arts. I write articles on movies and communicate with other critics in the domain of theatre, visual arts, who write articles. I am also the deputy editor-in-chief of a news agency, where I publish interviews and film reviews. I have been invited over the years as professor for the students of the National University of Theatre and Cinema Art “Ion Luca Caragiale”. I was expert in the audio-visual domain in Brussels for one year and then I have been coordinator for Romania within the intergovernmental programme EUREKA Audiovisual for 10 years. In the 90s this was a good way to support the countries in Central and Eastern Europe, so that we have access later to the European programmes for cinema funding. We created the National Council for Audio-Visual Arts in Romania in accordance with the model of the European ones. We created programmes for support of independent movies and this was the beginning of a large number of film festivals. Until 1989 there was only one festival in Costinesti on the Black Sea shore. Now there are around one hundred festivals in various parts of Romania. This is the result of the beneficial cooperation with the European Union.

How does film productions develops in Romania? What are the obstacles before the professionals in this domain?

The problem is related to funding. One needs to apply at the National Cinema Centre with a scenario. We created a programme for funding of projects of young directors, but there is a condition – if there are three coproducers or if the director provides half of the necessary sum, the rest coming from the EU. I think that young directors are opposed to the older generation, which doesn’t surrender its place easily. That is why most of the young directors are forced to make independent productions. The fight for obtaining of financing from the National Cinema Centre is difficult. At the same time in the years after the democratic changes a not so big middle class was formed in Romania. These are relatively rich people, who can afford to support financially various cultural projects. I would give an example with a football coach, who managed to become rich. His son is a talented director, but nobody supported him. The the father lent his son a hand. I speak about Corneliu Porumboiu. Pharmacy owners, producers of medicaments, prosecutors, judges, businessmen, who privatised firms and companies all make part of the middle class. The problem is how these people can be motivated to get interested in art. They are interested mostly in visual arts – they buy pictures and sculpture, and taxes for them are not high.

Do you have preferences with regard to Romanian directors?

If we leave apart the prizes, which he has received and the fact that he knows well the laws of profession, I find Cristian Mungiu interesting. I can argues about the film plots, with which he has participated in Cannes and other festivals and has obtained big prizes. “4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days” deals with the abortion, which were banned in socialist times. I was young then and I remember how it was. I even had a schoolmate, who died on the age of 16, because she made an illegal abortion. I will never forget that. Mungiu has a just, but severe and strict point of view on this issue, even though more than 40 years passed since this ban has been abolished. He presents only the past and only negatively. This is my remark.

I will also mention Adina Pintilie, which received “Golden Bear” at Berlinale. She is young and has found the strength to dedicate her talent to the issues of women’s rights. You know well the difficulties before women in the Balkan countries in the past, e.g. the forced marriages.

What are your impressions from the films, which you watched in the competition programme in Varna?

I find the idea of a festival such as “Love is Folly” very good one. Love is always present in our life and is the most important part of it, from childhood until old age. As for the films in the competition programme I can say the the middle-aged actors around 40 years old have the courage to say the we should always move on. It is a very positive message, which a festival can express.

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