Ana-Maria Comănescu’s debut feature “Horia” starts shooting in Romania on Wednesday. The film is a Romanian/Bulgarian/Serbian coproduction, produced by Carla Fotea and Ada Solomon through Romania’s MicroFILM, in coproduction with Rossitsa Valkanova through Bulgaria’s Klas Film, and Nikolina Vučetić-Zečević through Serbia’s Biberche Productions, Film New Europe reports.

The script, written by Comănescu, follows Horia, a cautious teenage boy from a Romanian village, who is badly longing for his crush, who lives on the other side of the country. He resents his only parent, Petrică, a charming mechanic, for constantly pushing him to pursue girls. After a big fight, Horia tries to do something impulsive for a change and flees on his father’s old motorcycle.

His decision tumbles him into a series of encounters, the most significant being with Stela, a 13-year-old street-smart girl who runs away from her family. She becomes a key influence on him, as a younger but wiser sister figure, who knows plenty about living in the moment and adapting to circumstance. Their bond must withstand their journey, as it transforms from a one-day trip to a full adventure.

Vladimir Țeca, Liviu Cheloiu and Angelina Pavel play the main characters.

Fotea told FNE: “I have been working with Ana-Maria for about seven years now, since film school. So it was natural for us to be working together on her debut. But besides this personal reason, I really believe Horia brings something fresh to the screen: it will be a feel-good film, full of life, color and laughter. It’s firstly a road film, so expect to see some action and a lot of adventure. And secondly, it’s a coming-of-age film, so it will be bittersweet and very relatable for our audience. We are also very excited to be working with a bunch of new talents, such as Vladmir Țeca (Horia) and Angelina Pavel (Stela), who will be on screen for the very first time.”

The budget is 800,000 Euros. The Romanian Film Center, the Bulgarian National Film Center and Film Center Serbia are supporting the project. It also received a Creative Europe MEDIA development grant. Private financiers include Altex Romania, Orange Romania, Kaufland Romania, Dr. Oetker, Bilka Steel, Hochland Romania, Help Net, Huawei Romania, Boromir, UniCredit Romania, SaviniDue, MediaCom, OMD Romania and Vitrina Advertising.

Lazy loaded image
Courtesy of FNE

Shooting will take place only in Romania and it will start on June 29 in Dobrogea, from where (after several locations) it will move to Brașov and Transalpina (the highest road in Romania). Filming will wrap on Aug. 3.

“Since it’s a road film we will be literally on the road all the time between the numerous locations, which entails a big production effort. But it will pay off in the breathtaking landscapes that we will show,” Fotea said.

“Horia” is expected to be delivered in the first half of 2023, with the premiere set for 2023.

MicroMultilateral will release the film in Romania. No sales agent is attached yet.

This article is published in partnership with online news service Film New Europe, which covers film and TV industry news from across Central and Eastern Europe.