Tel Aviv-based sales agent Cinephil has taken world sales on Emmy Award-winning director Alexander Nanau’s “Collective,” an investigation into the tragic 2015 fire in a Bucharest night club, fallout from which toppled Romania’s government. The high-profile documentary is screening in Venice and Toronto.
Co-produced by Nanau with Luxembourg’s Samsa Film and HBO Europe, and supported by the Sundance Institute, “Collective” delves into the events surrounding the fire and resulting stampede at the Colectiv Club in Bucharest on Oct. 30, 2015, which initially left 27 dead and 180 injured. Soon, more burn victims began dying in hospitals from wounds that were not at first life-threatening. A doctor blew the whistle to a team of investigative journalists, who “started to uncover a vast health care fraud,” according to the doc’s synopsis.
Public protests against corruption prompted by the investigation led to the resignation of then-Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta.
The doc shot by Nanau and his team over more than a year, and then meticulously edited during a longer period, will be released theatrically in Romania by Alexander Nanau Production in partnership with director Cristian Mungiu’s Voodoo Films.
Nanau won an International Emmy in 2010 for the immersive documentary “The World According to Ion B,” the story of a Romanian homeless collage artist. His most recent work is “Toto and His Sisters,” about the lives of three kids in a Bucharest slum, which won several prizes on the festival circuit.
“In the process of making ‘Collective,’ I came to understand how people in power manipulate and pervert the truth and the law and tread on dignity and fundamental rights,” the director said in a statement.
“For me, the broader meaning of this story became that we should not take democracy and social justice for granted, and this applies to almost any country, not just to Romania,” he added.
Cinephil managing director Philippa Kowarsky praised Nanau’s latest work for combining “incredible access and sensitivity with his unique style of filmmaking,” and also for turning the “Collective” story into a “thrilling” investigative doc.
“Collective” will world premiere as an out-of-competition special event in Venice and subsequently screen in Tiff Docs in Toronto.