The city of Sibiu in central Romania has recently played venue for the ASTRA documentary film festival
Sibiu, in central Romania, on
Sunday saw the end of the 26th edition of the International
Documentary Film Festival ASTRA, the largest of this kind in Romania. The
trophy for the best Romanian documentary film was reaped by Alex Brendea's film
'Profu' (Teach). The award came as a surprise for the young director who used
to be a student of the teacher depicted in his film.
Alex Brendea: "The film is about a teacher of Mathematics who had
the guts to resign from the Romania's traditional education system and open his
own cabinet of Mathematics, where he is teaching students of various ages and
from various walks of life. At the same time it is trying to sound the alarm on
Romania's faulty education system."
Estonian production 'Immortal' has
reaped the best film award in the international section of the ASTRA festival.
'Immortal' deals with the effects of state propaganda over people in a small
industrial town in Russia. 'I See Red People', a Bulgarian film telling the
story of a family and its roots in the country's former communist regime has
reaped the trophy for the best production in Central and Eastern Europe.
According to Dumitru Budrala, the
founding director of the ASTRA FILM Sibiu, at this edition of the festival,
'directors took a retrospective look at the past after three decades of
freedom'. ASTRA's latest edition has benefitted from one of the best selections
of documentaries on social-political themes in recent years. Sergey Loznitsa's
'State Funeral', which depicts the impact Stalin's death in 1953 had upon the
whole Soviet Union, was screened in the opening of the festival.
Werner Herzog's film 'Meeting
Gorbachev', which comprises a dialogue with the last secretary general of the
Soviet Union about the failure of the communist project, and his own
contribution to the demise of communism in Europe and Jurgen Bottcher's 'The
Wall', a documentary about the fall of the Berlin wall, were among the
productions screened during the festival.
20 films were screened only during
one day of the festival, telling genuine life stories, such as the story of a
journalist's family in the war-torn Syria, or the one depicting Sicilian mafia
or that devoted to couples in various countries who recently celebrated 60
years of marriage.
Mornings were devoted to children
part of the Astra Film Junior programme, one or Romania's most successful
educational programmes, which this year involves the participation of over 25
thousand pupils. Over 120 documentaries produced in 45 countries were screened
during the one-week ASTRA Festival.
(translated by bill)