×

Transilvania Film Fest Launches New SVOD Platform

CANNES–The Transilvania Intl. Film Festival has announced a new SVOD service, TIFF Unlimited, which will launch during the festival’s 18th edition, which bows May 31 in Cluj, Romania.

The service will curate titles from current and previous editions of the festival, while also showcasing other hand-picked auteur-driven productions, presented in partnership with local distributors. It will launch June 6 and be available across Romania.

“With all my colleagues from the festival, we thought we have to do something that will somehow extend the whole festival experience for all the year,” said director festival chief Tudor Giurgiu (pictured), whose latest feature, “Parking,” opens this year’s fest. “Yearly we are receiving emails from the public who say, ‘Oh, I missed that Russian film that won the audience award in your festival. Where am I going to see it?’ And I say, ‘Sorry, I don’t know where you can see the film, because it’s gone.’”

The problem isn’t limited to movies that are screened during the festival, which unspools this year from May 31 to June 9. Giurgiu noted that arthouse and indie films in Romania also quickly vanish after brief theatrical runs. “There’s this fairly big amount of titles, great titles, with important pedigrees, with festival awards and so on, and if the timing is not right, you will lose them,” he said.

Transilvania follows in the footsteps of festivals like Rotterdam and Goteborg, which have also launched VOD platforms to complement their brick-and-mortar offerings. But the need to utilize new technologies is particularly pressing in Romania, which suffers from the lowest rate of screen penetration in the E.U. Romania has nearly 50,000 inhabitants per screen: twice the number of neighboring Hungary, and roughly five times the number of cinephile France.

During the Communist era, Romania’s theatrical industry flourished, with some 450 cinemas operating around the time that dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was executed in 1989, jumpstarting the country’s transition to democracy. Those numbers have dropped precipitously in the years since, with around 100 cinemas operating today.

There has been a cautious revival of late, powered largely by the construction of more multiplexes. Total box office has been steady in recent years, and the 13.3 million total admissions across Romania last year was just a small decline from the previous year’s modern record highs.

Yet those numbers largely reflect the influence of Hollywood blockbusters, which accounted for the nine highest-grossing films in Romania last year. (The tenth spot was claimed by Corin Hardy’s “Conjuring” spinoff “The Nun,” which was lensed in Romania.)

Auteur-driven films struggle to reach an audience. “There are more cinemas, but there are more multiplexes,” said Antoine Bagnaninchi, of leading indie distributor Independenta Film. “A lot more screens than before, but there are no more arthouse cinemas.”

For now, festival organizers hope TIFF Unlimited can help fill that gap. While the SVOD platform will launch locally this year, Giurgiu said it “would not make sense on a 10-year basis” to limit the service to Romania.

“At the beginning, we would like to see how it would grow, what will be the response from the market, and how we can expand,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Fiddler A Miracle of Miracles

    Film Review: 'Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles'

    Still beloved and routinely revived 55 years after its Broadway debut — including a Yiddish-language version now playing in New York — “Fiddler on the Roof” is a popular phenomenon that shows no sign of subsiding. Max Lewkowicz’s “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles” provides an entertaining if hardly exhaustive overview of how the unlikely success [...]

  • 'Weathering With You' Heads for $100

    'Weathering With You' Heads for $100 Million Box Office Haul

    Makoto Shinkai’s animated romantic drama “Weathering with You” passed the JPY10 billion ($94 million) mark in Japan on Wednesday, according to an announcement by distributor Toho. This makes it the tenth-highest earning Japanese film of all time. Since its release on July 19 on 448 screens in 359 complexes, the film has racked up 7.52 million admissions. The [...]

  • Burn review

    Film Review: 'Burn'

    There’s more smoke than fire in “Burn,” a reasonably promising single-location thriller that never quite settles on what it wants to be — a straight-up suspense piece, twisty black comedy, oddball character study, etc. “All the above” would be a tall but not impossible order to pull off. The problem is that writer-director Mike Gan’s [...]

  • Rounds

    Sarajevo Film Review: 'Rounds'

    Five features (plus a scattering of documentaries) into his career, leading Bulgarian writer-director Stephan Komandarev has resisted cultivating a clear thematic or stylistic throughline to his oeuvre. Yet his latest, the overnight police patchwork “Rounds,” feels surprisingly close to quintessential, pulling as it does plot points, structural models and tonal switches from his previous films [...]

  • Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix

    Travis Scott Surprises Fans With Netflix Documentary Reveal, Pop-Up in Houston

    Travis Scott just revealed his new Netflix documentary in the most organic way possible: a social media post to his 18.5 million followers on Instagram. The photo consisted of him holding a series of VHS tapes, which turns out to be the trailer for his forthcoming documentary on Netflix titled “Look Mom I Can Fly.” [...]

  • Overcomer

    Film Review: 'Overcomer'

    No matter the setting or circumstances, the solution to every dilemma found in Christian Evangelical films is getting closer to God. That certainly holds true with regards to “Overcomer,” the latest bit of bigscreen proselytizing by writer-director-star Alex Kendrick (“War Room,” “Courageous”). The story of a high school basketball coach who’s forced to take over [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Inside the Spider-Man Split: Finger-Pointing and Executive Endgames

    Spider-Man’s neighborhood has been decidedly unfriendly this week. A private and contentious battle over the onscreen future of the beloved Marvel superhero has spilled out into the public square over the past few days. After making nice for two wildly successful films, Sony Pictures, which holds the licensing rights to the Marvel character, will go [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content