The first Romania International Film Festival was held partly to help renovate some of Romania’s oldest cinemas and partly to promote Black Sea Cinema overall. The organisers were disappointed by the low attendance, but those who did attend were impressed with both the selection and the standard of the films in competition.
The jury awarded the prize for the best feature film in the Black Sea competition to Georgian director George Ovashvili for his film “The Other Bank”. The film is set in the breakaway province of Abkhazia and is about a boy living on the streets in Tbilissi who decides to go back to Abkhazia to find his father. Naturally, since he hardly remembers his father’s face, he can’t find him. Says George Ovashvili: “One day, my scriptwriter found a boy who was sleeping under the bushes in the winter. The boy told him the story how he went back to Abkhazia to his hometown after the war to find his father. He did not remember anything, not even the face of his father. Of course, he could not finde the father and came back to Tbilissi. So, at that time it was an absolutely typical story in my country.” The best actress award went to Romanian/Hungarian actress Hilda Péter for her performance in the leading role of acclaimed drama Katalin Varga directed by Peter Strickland. When her husband finds out that his son is actually the result of a rape attack on his wife, he rejects both his wife and his son. Together they set out on a journey to find the rapist and get their revenge. Says Hilda Peter: “I just put the problems to myself and how I would react in this case, what I feel about this. I was two times in my life very close to being raped. Thank God I was not.” Katalin Varga is on release in France and the UK this autumn and will be released in the Netherlands next January. For more information about “The Other Bank” go to: uk.imdb.com/title/tt1360875