Director Bogdan Mureșanu’s film ‘The Christmas Gift’ has been short-listed for the Oscar 2020 Awards. At present, only 10 of the 191 registered shorts have been left in the competition. The final list with 5 nominations will be announced on January 13, 2020, following the votes cast by the members of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences specialized in short films.
In early December, Bogdan Mureșanu’s film ‘The Christmas Gift’ received a prize from the European Film Academy - EFA. His movie has actually won many international prizes among which the Grand Prize of the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, the prize of the Days of Romanian film at the Transylvania International Film Festival TIFF, the Grand Prize of the short film contest of the Cottbus Film Festival and a special mention at the Montpellier Festival.
The film’s action is set on the evening of December 20, 1989 and the plot starts from the letter a small boy wrote to Santa Claus, in which he reveals what his parents wish for Christmas. His father discovers, horrified, that his son had written in the letter that his father’s wish was to see Ceausescu dead. One of Bogdan Mureșanu’s intentions was to turn the film ‘The Christmas Gift’ into a black comedy:
Bogdan Mureșanu: “I strained myself trying to achieve that, trying to turn the story into a black comedy. It seems that I managed to do that. Because my film was selected for many festivals of the world and I noticed that, in spite of cultural differences, people are quite amused when watching the film. At first I was really astonished to see that those people did understand the nuances of the dialogue. When I was editing the film, I was afraid that viewers from other countries might not grasp all the hints and allusions in the film. I thought they might find it difficult to understand who uncle Nicu was, how one could be afraid of one’s own neighbor, how one could suspect one’s spouse, and so on. I was afraid the film would be understood only by viewers from the eastern countries, who had that experience first hand. I was happy to see that the film was selected at a number of festivals, that the message of the film was grasped by the members of the jury. And I was happy to see that what I perceived as local language proved to be universal language.”
Bogdan Mureșanu confessed that the film was a Christmas present that he received earlier. At the awards gala in Berlin, when he was awarded the prize of the European Film Academy, he said his real joy was to be together with some of the people he loved and admired.
Set up in 1988, the European Film Academy gathers more than 3,600 professionals form the filmmaking industry and its aims is to promote the European film. The EFA awards galas are held every 2 years in Germany’s capital, and, in the other years, in various European cities. The winners are designated following the vote of the more than 3,600 members of the European Film Academy. Here is Bogdan Mureșanu with impressions on the prize his film received:
Bogdan Mureșanu: “It is an honor for me, because the EFA is made up of professionals who watch lots of movies and who are up to date with the latest films. I know many of these professionals, directors, actors, screenwriters, and I was aware of their impressions about the film. At the awards gala, I shook hands with Wim Wenders, a director whom I admire a lot and who told me he liked the film. I also talked to another cinema star, Werner Herzog, so, for me the awards gala was something magical.”
Next Bogdan Mureșanu spoke about the feedback his film received:
Bogdan Mureșanu: “As I have already said, I first thought that the film would resonate with the people in the eastern bloc, and I did not expect that the movie would be so much appreciated. This means that there is something universal about this story, it is not just something local. People have identified in the film aspects that go beyond that historical moment of December 1989. I was happy to see that the film was well received in America too. You can never anticipate such things.”
The cast of ‘The Christmas gift’ includes Andrei Văncică, Ioana Flora and the child Luca Toma.
(translated by: Lacramioara Simion)