Producer Ada Solomon, whose credits include Cãlin Peter Netzer’s Berlin Golden Bear winner “Child’s Pose,” Radu Jude’s Berlin Silver Bear winner “Aferim!” and Maren Ade’s Oscar-nominated “Toni Erdmann,” has announced new projects from Jude and Ivana Mladenovic, whose debut feature “Soldiers. Story from Ferentari” premiered in Toronto in 2017.
Jude’s “Uppercase Print” (pictured) is an adaptation of a documentary play by Gianina Cărbunariu that interweaves two narrative strands. One is the true story of Mugur Călinescu, a Romanian teenager who wrote graffiti messages of protest against the regime of dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and was subsequently apprehended, interrogated, and ultimately crushed by the secret police. The other story uses archival footage from the public broadcaster to depict everyday life in Romania in the 1980s.
Solomon said the film will celebrate the “unknown heroes of the Communist era,” using a cinematic method to reveal the brutal mechanisms of repression by juxtaposing “secret vs. public, personal vs. collective, small-scale heroism vs. general submissiveness.”
She added: “With the 30th anniversary of the fall of Communism, I think this is the right time to bring an homage to the heroes of the time, and a perfect occasion to reveal in a cinematic way the treasure of the Romanian Public Television archive.”
The film is a microFILM production in co-production with Romanian public broadcaster Televiziunea Română and HiFilm, in association with nomada.solo, and with the support of the Romanian CNC, the Creative Europe – Media Program, Dr. Oetker, Covalact, Mediacom, and Zenith Media Communications. The script is written by Cărbunariu and Jude, with Marius Panduru attached as DoP. It stars Bogdan Zamfir, Șerban Lazarovici, Șerban Pavlu, and Ioana Iacob.
“Ivana the Terrible” is the follow-up to Mladenovic’s critically acclaimed “Soldiers.” It’s based on the true story of a crisis that took place in the summer of 2017 in the life of Mladenovic, a Serbian-born director living in Romania. The film started as an independent project in which the original protagonists, including the filmmaker’s friends and family, were invited to re-live the events of that summer as fictional characters on camera. They rehearsed for months, performing their actual selves in the form of on-screen roles, so that a creative process that began almost as a form of therapy became a film.
“Ivana Mladenovic is one of the most interesting voices of the new-new Romanian cinema, her background in both Serbian and Romanian culture being only one of her strengths,” said Solomon. “In the same time this very personal film is showing the impossibility to choose between the two or to find the right balance. It is a film about longing and (non-)belonging, a film about enlightening and darkness, a film about thunderstorms.”
The film is a co-production between Solomon’s microFILM and Serbia’s Dunav’84, in association with nomada.solo and Mai Mult Verde, with the support of the Romanian CNC, Televiziunea Română, Hollywood Multiplex, and United Romanian Breweries. It’s co-written by Mladenovic and Adrian Schiop and stars Mladenovic, Gorana Mladenovic, Miodrag Mladenovic, Luka Gramic, Kosta Mladenovic, Zivka Sorejevic, Andrei Dinescu, and Anca Pop. Carmen Tofeni is attached as DoP.
Both films are currently in post-production, with an eye toward an early 2020 release. Solomon is in discussions for world sales rights for each film.
Solomon’s slate also includes “Fools” from Polish director Tomasz Wasilewski, winner of Berlin’s Silver Bear with “United States of Love.” “Fools” is lead produced by Ewa Puszczynska, whose credits include Pawel Pawlikowski’s Oscar-winner “Ida” and his Oscar nominated “Cold War.”