The Romanian Film Festival in Seattle

In a city with a long and dynamic tradition of film-related events, ARCS is thrilled to announce the 3rd Romanian Film Festival in the Pacific Northwest:

To BE, to LONG or to [BE]LONG? In tune with our title, One Eye Laughing, One Eye Crying, we played along with the Romanian taste for dark humor and selected award-winning films that will stir up questions, emotions, and will challenge your sense of [be]longing to a given country, culture, ethnic group or generation. Through a variety of genres (animation, documentary, comedy, drama), we will explore the ways in which we relate to the others and the world.
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Join us for 3-day visual feast in the company of good friends, food, and internationally acclaimed special guests from Romania. So are you longing for some world-class Romanian cinema yet?

2016 Edition Sneak Peek

Look WHO's coming to Seattle!

Horațiu Mălăele

Famous Romanian actor, director and cartoonist, Horațiu Mălăele, was born in 1952, in Târgu Jiu. He had his first art exhibit in 12th grade. In 1975, he graduated from the Institute of Theater and Cinema in Bucharest. He began his professional acting career on the stage of the National Theater in Piatra Neamț. He then moved to Bucharest and has performed at legendary theaters such as the Nottara, Odeon, Bulandra, etc., where he has had many roles of great success. He started his career as a theater director with shows such as A Princely Feast by Theodor Mazilu, The Flea by Georges Faydeau, or Carlo Against Carlo by Paul Ioachim, for which he won the Romanian Comedy Festival Prize, in 1994. He made his cinema debut in 1974, in The Hidden Mountain. He also directed movies such as The Hat (2004), Silent Wedding (2008) and Happy Funerals (2013). He had over 30 art exhibits and published an autobiographical book called Horațiu about Mălăele, as well as Wanderings, a collection of short episodes, aphorisms, and memories.



Oana Giurgiu

She was born in Bucharest and studied Law and Journalism. She started her career in the film industry as a director of documentaries for the Romanian Television. Since 2002, Oana Giurgiu has been part of the executive board of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF). In 2004, she worked with Cristi Puiu as locations director for The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu. She was production manager for Kornel Mundruczo’s Delta (FIPRESCI Award at Cannes, 2008) and Peter Strickland’s Katalin Varga (Silver Bear, Berlinale 2009). She produced several of Tudor Giurgiu’s films, such as Love Sick (2006), Of Snails and Men (2012) and Why Me? (2015), as well as Călin Peter Netzer’s Child’s Pose (2014). In 2015, she directed the documentary Alyiah DaDa that explores the history of Romanian Jews and their emigration to Palestine. She is currently working on Occasional Spies, a film dealing with a little-known WWII story about a group of young Jewish people from Palestine sent by the British Intelligence on a suicide mission behind enemy lines.

You asked for more family-friendly films, and we obliged.

We're happy to present one of our festival's highlights, the first 3D Romanian animation feature film:
Mercy Street / Strada Sperantei (2016), director Stefan Buzea.


Please stay tuned for more info on the film lineup and the special guests. Updates coming soon.

Want to get involved? Please consider donating at arcsproject.org/support-film-fest. No amount is too small.
Volunteers are welcome. If you are interested in helping us, please write us at contact@arcsproject.org.
We'd love to hear from you.

Last Year's Edition

We grew tremendously last year, experiencing a 75% increase in audience numbers. Thanks to your generous support, we are on our way of becoming a staple of Seattle's diverse film scene.



Visit 2015 edition website

Words from Our Special Guests

Interview with author/screenwriter Florin Lazarescu

Literary debut in 2000 with the collection of short stories Mistletoe Nests. Other literary works: The Tube with the Hat, prose volume (2009) and several novels: What They Know of the Panda Bear, (2003), Our special Envoy (2005 and 2014, and Numbness (2013). He (co)authored the screenplays for The Tube with the Hat (2006, dir. Radu Jude, winner of Sundance Festival for the best international short film, 2007), A Shadow of a Cloud (2013, dir. Radu Jude), and Aferim! (dir. Radu Jude, winner of a Silver Bear in Berlin, 2015).

You’re an excellent storyteller. Can you share with us a story you told your friends & family about your visit in Seattle?
I even wrote a couple of stories in a Romanian magazine about my experience there. I just copy-paste one of them:
“I go out in front of a restaurant to have a cigarette.
I even find a legally designated spot for smokers, on a bench, 10 feet away from the exit.
A homeless guy shows up. He looks like he’d love a smoke. I offer him one, but he turns it down, not interested in this shit: he thought I was puffing a joint.
- Do you know it’s legal to smoke marijuana in Seattle? he asks me.
- Yeah, but it’s not my thing, I answer.
He wants to know where I’m from.
-Aaa, Romania? I know everything about Romania, he says.
- How come?
- One of my Jamaican buddies has a Romanian friend.
- What do you know about it?
- I know about Nikolai Ceaikovski.
- Which one, the composer or the dictator? I ask.
- The dictator, of course!
Nicolae Ceausescu would have taken much pride from such a confusion.“
Read more

How was your overall experience as a special guest at the second edition of the Romanian Film Festival in Seattle last year?
Frankly speaking, it was a great surprise, much more than I expected. Usually I’m a little bit reluctant when it comes to some of the events organized by Romanian communities from abroad. From my own experience, I can say that they tend to be claustrophobic, showing nostalgia for the country and quite isolated from the local public. Happily, that was definitely not the case. The festival was organized at excellent professional standards, gathering both Romanians and Americans.
Can you tell us a few things about your interaction with the Seattle public?
I guess it’s enough saying that, after each screening of Aferim!, after the Q&A inside the theater, tens of people came and talked to me outside, asking more questions about the movie, about Romania, and about me.
What is the most surprising or unexpected thing you found out about Seattle and the Pacific Northwest during your stay here?
Oh, there were a lot of pleasant surprises. The full house at both screenings of “Aferim!” was pretty impressive. Or the 2500 people attending a lecture with Anthony Doerr, hosted at Benaroya Hall downtown Seattle, as part of the SAL program. It is hard to imagine for me such an interest in a writer, not even in my country, nor in Paris or London.
You’re an excellent storyteller. Can you share with us a story you told your friends & family about your visit in Seattle?
I even wrote a couple of stories in a Romanian magazine about my experience there. I just copy-paste one of them:
“I go out in front of a restaurant to have a cigarette.
I even find a legally designated spot for smokers, on a bench, 10 feet away from the exit.
A homeless guy shows up. He looks like he’d love a smoke. I offer him one, but he turns it down, not interested in this shit: he thought I was puffing a joint.
- Do you know it’s legal to smoke marijuana in Seattle? he asks me.
- Yeah, but it’s not my thing, I answer.
He wants to know where I’m from.
-Aaa, Romania? I know everything about Romania, he says.
- How come?
- One of my Jamaican buddies has a Romanian friend.
- What do you know about it?
- I know about Nikolai Ceaikovski.
- Which one, the composer or the dictator? I ask.
- The dictator, of course!
Nicolae Ceuasescu would have taken much pride from such a confusion.“

If you were to place one of your novels or movie scripts in the Pacific Northwest, what would you write about?
First thought, on the Mount Rainier, although I loved the city of Seattle. I was lucky enough that Dana Cozmei from ARCS drove me there, while being in Seattle. It would be, let’s say, the story of a sixty years old guy, who lived all of his life in Seattle, but he never was on the top of the mountain that he could see daily. And he finally decides to go there by himself :)
Do you have any comments or suggestions for the organizers?
I know this kind of events suppose fighting a lot of difficulties. My suggestion is never lose your enthusiasm. The festival’s worth fighting for.Show less

(Interview conducted by Otilia Baraboi, 2016)

Interview with film critic Monica Filimon

Monica Filimon is currently Assistant Professor of English at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Rutgers (2011) and has published articles on French, German and Romanian cinema. Monica is now working on a book about Cristi Puiu's relevance to Romanian and world cinema, entitled Cristi Puiu: Ineffable Experiences of the Profane World.
We are looking forward to welcoming her in Seattle at our festival for the third time, as a moderator and presenter.

How was your experience as a special guest at the Romanian Film Festival for two consecutive editions, since 2014?
I felt great every time. Everybody was very helpful and accommodating, the events were timed and organized flawlessly, and the public was generous and very lively. Even the weather collaborated.
How would you describe your interaction with the Seattle public?
I was very much impressed by the number of viewers and, especially, by their love for, and knowledge of, Romanian cinema. It is not always very easy to be on stage—and I usually shy away from such “duties”—but that was never the case in Seattle. I always felt welcomed, and, more importantly, I was very happy that people were very interested in finding out more about each film. Many of the comments and observations were very much on point and uncovered the deeper levels of the films, which, I hope, was as gratifying to the public as it was to me.Read more

How was your experience as a special guest at the Romanian Film Festival for two consecutive editions, since 2014?
I felt great every time. Everybody was very helpful and accommodating, the events were timed and organized flawlessly, and the public was generous and very lively. Even the weather collaborated.
How would you describe your interaction with the Seattle public?
I was very much impressed by the number of viewers and, especially, by their love for, and knowledge of, Romanian cinema. It is not always very easy to be on stage—and I usually shy away from such “duties”—but that was never the case in Seattle. I always felt welcomed, and, more importantly, I was very happy that people were very interested in finding out more about each film. Many of the comments and observations were very much on point and uncovered the deeper levels of the films, which, I hope, was as gratifying to the public as it was to me.
In your work as a film critic, you focus on Romanian New Cinema. Can you tell us a few things about it?
The New Romanian Cinema is responsible for putting Romania on the “map” of international filmmaking, and it deserves the full attention and support of the Romanian authorities. It is indisputably rooted in Cristi Puiu’s early films, especially The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005), which brought Romania its first important prize at the Cannes Film Festival in forty years (it won the Un Certain Regard section). One cannot overestimate Puiu’s profound influence on the thematic and stylistic practices of his compatriots. It must be said, however, that the New Romanian Cinema is not a coherent, unified movement; it is not a “wave” with a declared manifesto and strategy. It is, rather, a very lucky “collection,” so to speak, of independent voices and talents, whose one common preoccupation is with the rendering of life as faithfully as possible. There are significant differences in terms of cinema philosophy and approach among the NRC representatives.
You’ve been with us since the first edition of the festival, you’ve watched us grow two years in a row and will be there with us again in November 2016. What is the importance of the Romanian Film Festival in Seattle in your life and work?
The Festival has been an opportunity to reflect on, and learn more about, a number of films I had not seen in a long time. The chance the public and I had to meet some of the directors and scriptwriters was very precious because their accounts added layers and layers of meaning to the screened narratives. For the past two years, I have been working on a book, and the films screened at the Festival provided a much broader perspective to my topic than I would have had otherwise.
What are you working on right now?
I am adding the finishing touches on the book that will be published in winter or early next year by the University of Illinois Press. Entitled Cristi Puiu: Ineffable Experiences of the Profane World, the small volume will be part of the Contemporary Film Directors series edited by Justus Nieland, Jennifer Fay, and Daniel Nasset. My next project focuses on the topic of violence in contemporary European cinema, but it is in its very early stages.
Do you have any wishes for the Romanian Film Festival in Seattle?
I hope it will grow every year, and that it will become the most important festival of its kind on the West coast.Show less

(Interview conducted by Otilia Baraboi, 2016)