Documenting Romania In Film

Romania Over 20 Years

Over the last two decades, I have repeatedly returned home to my native country to produce documentary films, capturing the incredible stories and characters of the land in photographs and documentary films.

The films capture important socio-political issues including the ongoing reconciliation of the atrocities of the Communist regime (still often ignored and never healed), ‘brain drain’ and EU integration, and the rush of modernity and the threat it brings to centuries-old traditions.

The films are also often personal in nature, capturing the people and places that have marked my life.

I’m pleased to present the films below at no cost. However, if you would like to make a donation to support a future documentary film subject about Romania, it is greatly appreciated.

Red Darkness Before Dawn (2003)

Red Darkness Before Dawn is an hour-long documentary dedicated to revealing and preserving the truth of what occurred in the prisons and labor camps of Communist Romania. Providing testimony of ex-political prisoners and historians alike, the film explores many of the torturous methods employed by the regime in Romania. By condemning the crimes of the past, the film serves as a sobering reminder of the methods of totalitarian regimes in the present, and if left undetected, in the future.

The film, produced in 2003, was a finalist for the ADL’s Dore Schary Awards, and was broadcast on WUNC (regional PBS) as part of the North Carolina Visions series. It has also been added to the archives of the Hoover Institution, US Holocaust Museum, and Sighet Memorial.

A Poem of Green & Light (2013)

In the remote foothills of the Carpathian Mountains of Northern Romania lies Sucevița Monastery. Built in the late 16th century by the Movila family, its imposing walls and fortress-like exterior belie the beauty within. Sucevita’s fame, and status as a UNESCO monument, resides in its interior and exterior frescoes. Inspired by Byzantine art, and unique in Europe, the paintings have been preserved over the centuries.

The official film for the UNESCO site exhibited daily, and selected to screen at the European Parliament in March 2018 as part of a presentation honoring 100 years of modern Romania.

Not Even the Mountain Stays the Same (2016)

The second film in the triptych on Sucevița Monastary.

A group of camera-shy nuns attempt to maintain their traditions in a 16th century monastery that is also one of Romania’s most visited tourist attractions.

Official selection of Brasov International Film Festival and Market, Spotlight Documentary Awards, Great Lakes Christian Film Festival, International Film Festival Kolaksai, Ukraine.

A Private Judgment (2015)

The longest film in the triptych on Sucevița Monastary, a meditation on life, death, and what is left behind, as reflected by a remote community of nuns. The nuns memorialize their devotion and dedication to each other, as the time passes.

Official selection of Ethnografilm Paris Film Festival, Accolade Media Awards, UFVA Conference.

Acasa (2008)

The conflict of personal and national identity. The filmmaker, a Romanian expatriate, returns to her homeland to explore the nature of ‘becoming’ and to confront the reality she left behind. The film was produced in the midst of Romania joining the EU and also reflects upon intellectual migration, so-called ‘brain drain.’

Official selection of Down Beach Film Festival, Gate City Women’s Film Festival, BEA Festival of Media Arts, Accolade Media Awards, Jersey Shore Film Festival, DocMiami International Film Festival, UFVA Conference.

My Father’s Revolution (COMING SOON)

A Romanian grandfather who lived most of his life under Communism has his dreams of democracy shattered after the 1989 revolution. Thirty years later he is still reluctant to talk to his daughter and grandson about those days.

In December 1989, long-fermenting unrest erupted into a revolution that saw the fall of one of Eastern Europe’s most brutal dictators, Nicolae Ceaușescu. Throughout the country, misinformation and confusion reigned. In the far north of the country, in a small town far away from the capital and unrest, my father was part of a group of citizens trying to grapple with the new reality.

Come Find Me (COMING SOON)

After the collapse of the Communist regime in 1989, the world discovered more than 100,000 children living in Romanian orphanages. Many were not orphans, but the result of the country’s ban on abortion and contraceptives. Come Find Me tells the story of one of those children, Nori, as she travels from her adopted American home to find the family she lost almost 30 years prior.

The film follows-up on a story that received worldwide recognition in the early 1990’s. Beginning with a 20/20 feature story that revealed the shocking conditions of Romanian orphanages to the world, millions were captivated by the plight of these children. So significant was this story is that it reframed the narrative of post-Communist Romania.