Radu Ciorniciuc and scriptwriter Lina Vdovîi had initially planned to make a report about the Văcărești Delta, the wildest place in Bucharest.
"Acasa, My Home", Radu Ciorniciuc’s debut documentary film had its international premiere at Sundance Film Festival, the most important independent film festival in the US, where it won the cinematography award. The documentary, that tells the story of a family who lived 20 years in harmony with nature in the wilderness of the Vacaresti Delta until they were chased out when the place became a protected area, also won the big prize of the Munich International Documentary Festival, the Special Jury Award at the Thessaloniki Documentary Film Festival, the big prize of the Krakow Film Festival, the Human Rights Award at the Sarajevo Film Festival and the Moral Approach Award at the MakeDox Documentary Film Festival in Macedonia.
Radu Ciorniciuc and scriptwriter Lina Vdovîi had initially planned to make a report about the Văcărești Delta, the wildest place in Bucharest. The story of the Enache family, who had lived for almost 20 years in the Văcărești Delta and who, in 2016, when the park was declared a nature reserve, had to move to the city with their nine children, made Radu and Lina dropt their initial plan in favour of a documentary. It took the team four years to make the documentary, during which time they watched and filmed the family’s transition from the middle of nature to the hustle and bustle of the city.
Radu Ciorniciuc: “My fascination with this story has a lot to do with how I saw these people build and strengthen their families. Also, the children's strong relationship with nature was another topic that was very important to me. Then, after the Enache family moved to the city, I was of course very interested in following their adjustment process. The story turned out to be quite complex, although four years ago, when I started this project, I would have said that things are quite simple and I would have not considered making a film. I thought we would make a report that adds a social dimension to the story of the Văcăresti Delta. It was quite natural how the story unfolded. Working on this film for so many years, other ideas came to us along the way and things started to fall into place. In terms of editing, it's always a challenge to navigate through hundreds of hours of material and extract what you consider to be the essence of the story. It's a challenge to compress, as a director, as a storyteller, almost three hundred hours of tape into an 86-minute film. It seemed almost impossible to tell the whole story, but together with the film's scriptwriter, Lina Vdovii, the film's producer Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan, and especially the film's editor, Andrei Gorgan, we managed to get the essence out of the three hundred hour material, without losing the important themes of the film. The editing lasted two years precisely because it is not always easy to compress so much material and at the same time to give the story its best form in a few tens of minutes. ”
Radu Ciorniciuc and screenwriter Lina Vdovii wanted, first of all, to make the voices of the characters heard. In their opinion, only by having access to the characters’ perspective one can truly empathize with them and understand how difficult it is to integrate a Roma community into society. Although "Acasa, My Home" enjoyed huge international recognition, Radu Ciorniciuc did not have the opportunity to accompany his film to many festivals: “I went to a lot of places online, from my little office, via zoom. However, we managed to physically attend the festivals in Zurich, where we won a special mention, and in Cologne, where we won another important award that gave the film visibility. It was very emotional and very exciting because we met real people gathered around a project that we worked on a lot, a project on which we wanted to have debates and discussions. Having full cinema halls and people very interested in our story was truly rewarding. We also had a Q&A session that gave us a lot of energy and optimism at the thought that we, humans, are survivors and we know to keep the good things in our lives. And one of these good things is to bring people together around a story. I think this is extraordinary, because we will never lose interest in and curiosity about stories.”
The documentary "Acasa, My Home" is also in the official selection of the European Film Academy Awards (EFA) and premiered on HBO GO on October 15.