latest revision: 22 May 2007
Welcome to the filmproject Romania website.
Filmproject Romania focuses on Romanian society and the period of transition that it is experiencing today; after the fall of communism and on its way to enter the European Union. In filmproject Romania this theme is visualized through the means of film, supported by this website.
On this website information about the film "I'm a European" and a multitude of images from Romania can be found. Each time when 'refresh' is clicked on the homepage, a new videostill will appear. Also information about the filmmakers can be found and under 'news' there's a listing of where the film has been shown and is being shown at this moment.
We started working on the film "I'm a European" in september 2002. We wanted to show how the transition process from a communist towards a democratic society was taking shape in Romania. The emphasis lay on finding out what this means for the people of Romania, to give a familiar face to our new neighbors and future EU members. To explore this theme we traveled to Romania twice. One explorative trip in November of 2002, and a prolonged stay of two months in Romania in January and February 2003. Most of the time we stayed in a small town which made it easy to get to know its inhabitants. Little by little we came to find out what the current changes mean to them in their daily lives.
We lived in Vatra Dornei, a picturesque mountain town in the region of Bucovina, in northeastern Romania. We lived with Mihaela and Floara Manole, mother and daughter who rented out the upper floor of their home to (mostly Romanian) tourists. Through living with them we were directly confronted with their daily struggle to make ends meet. For example, we couldn't do the dishes with hot water, although they had a boiler it was too expensive to use it. However, Floara and Mihaela were very inventive in solving these kinds of problems, like saving the water used to boil the pasta in, to do the dishes with afterwards. And they used to put bottles filled with cold water on the ceramic stove, for the water to be heated up slowly. This warm water could be used for all kinds of purposes like making tea or cooking rice.
Young and old
The contrast between the young and old people in Romania is quite impressive. The elderly people would trade their lives now immediately with the good old communist days, when one at least knew what to expect. Now they are stuck with a pension of merely 800.000 Lei (28 euro's) a month that has hardly been compensated for inflation, while a bread costs 6000 Lei. Don't even think about those tomatoes of 40.000 Lei a kilo.
The young people might not be significantly more prosperous, but they focus more on the possibilities that they have now, that they wouldn't have had otherwise. Freedom of expression, the freedom to save your money and spend it on whatever you please. In most cases this means going to the disco, the internet cafe to play computergames and perhaps in the future start their own business in tourist guiding trough their gorgeous region. Because tourism is the way for Romania to develop, as some of them feel.
Now that since last May ten new members entered the European Union, all of a sudden the EU is a lot closer for Romania as well. Now they have become a nextdoor neighbour to the EU which means that the changes in the neighboring countries will be much more visible. How Hungary, Chzeck Republic, Slowakia and Poland will develop the next few years, will help shape the image Romanians have about the EU. But it will also be easier to trade directly with EU countries now which could mean already a certain improvement in the economic situation.
The accession to the European Union is something that most people of Vatra Dornei think about and that most of them (but not all!) also look forward to. Once they will be member, they think, changes will speed up and Romania will finally return to its rightful place in Europe. But they have little consideration about the responsibilities it involves, few Romanians realise that it will also be a lot of hard work.
The synopsis of the film and more information about the layout of the project can be downloaded below in pdf format.