Astra Film Festival
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (April 2010)|
ASTRA FILM FESTIVAL is a major event in the European film community. The film festival is located in Sibiu - Romania, and it is unique in this part of Europe. Besides the four AFF Competition Sections , it offers a variety of programs showing the diversity and the current tendencies of documentary film.
AFF SIBIU is the place to see great documentaries, to feel the pulse of Romanian and Eastern European documentary film production, meet fellow-filmmakers from around the world, debate upon major issues faced by documentarists while exposing real life and real people on the big screen, and interact with professionals and with an enthusiastic audience.
AFF Sibiu has made its way into becoming an acknowledged cultural brand in Romania and abroad by the quality of the official selection, the high standard workshops and events for professionals, and the variety of programmes. AFF is a major forum for documentary film in Romania. It is a celebration of documentary cinema where both professionals and cinema-goers have the chance to view outstanding productions and discuss them with their authors. The festival focuses on facilitating the interaction between author and public, preferring the direct dialogue to pitching sessions or film market activities.
AFF Sibiu is the place where documentary films are viewed and debated upon, and have a long life outside the Festival, being included in the online web catalogue and in various programmes of the ASTRA FILM Cinematheque.
AFF Sibiu received financing from the Media Programme of the EU in 2009, after winning a tough competition with hundreds of festivals in Europe.
In 2009, AFF Sibiu created ASTRA FILM JUNIOR, an educational programme through documentary cinema designed for school students which is unique in Romania. Up to now, ASTRA FILM JUNIOR has held four local editions for the children and teenagers in Sibiu, and two national editions. With 25,000 participants so far, ASTRA FILM JUNIOR is the amplest extracurricular educational activity in the country. ASTRA FILM JUNIOR was granted the Civil Society Award in 2012.
AFF Sibiu is appreciated for the excellent organization, for its original format, and for the interractive and friendly atmosphere that attracts young audiences from all over Romania and from the neighbouring countries. AFF Sibiu has been invited to give special programmes in Paris (Jean Rouch International Film Festival 2008), Poland (Krakow, Poznań), and Novosibirsk (Siberia-Russia). AFF Sibiu has been the source of inspiration for the Open City Documentary Film Festival in London, inaugurated in 2010.
The international prestige of AFF Sibiu has played an important role when the city of Sibiu candidated for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2007. The AFF special edition was one of the major cultural events of the year, and the ASTRA FILM Cinematheque offered an uninterrupted daily programme of documentary films, called „365 Windows Opened To The World”.
Throughout the decades, AFF Sibiu was honoured to present Portrait programmes of the world’s greatest documentary filmmakers: John Marshall (USA), David MacDougall (Australia), Robert Gardner (USA), Kim Longinotto (UK), Michael Yorke (UK), Mircea Săucan (Romania-Israel), Leonard Retel Helmrich (Holland), and Bob Connolly (Australia). Personalities of cinema and visual anthropology have been in the AFF juries: Thierry Garrel (France), Cristi Puiu (Romania), Michael Stewart (UK), Mark Soosar (Estonia), Andrei Shemyakin (Russia), Pavel Pawlikowski (UK), Kaori Sakagami (Japan), Renate Roginas (Germany), Dan Alexe (Belgium), Sorin Botoşeneanu (Romania), Antonio Delgado Liz(Spain). The Astra Film awards are recognized as prestigious professional prizes that help the filmmakers in their careers.
ASTRA FILM FESTIVAL Sibiu is organized by ASTRA FILM – Centre for Documentary Film and Visual Education, Department of the National Museum ASTRA in Sibiu, and by the ASTRA FILM Foundation. The founding director is Dumitru Budrala, documentary filmmaker and doctor in visual anthropology. The Festival started in 1993 as an anthropological and ethnographic film festival. Throughout the years, it has widened its area to the broad category of non-fictional film. AFF Sibiu is a reference point for cinema professionals, academics, and cinema goers.