Anamaria Antoci or the refusal of being a mediocre artist
Then we met again in high school, at the ‘Drama Club’ at the A. T. Laurian National College, when the play ‘A Midsummer Night’s dream’ by W. Shakespeare was being staged, with the guidance of some very talented people like Volin Costin, Victoria Bucun and Silvia Răileanu. I was a fairy and Ana was playing Puck.
We finished our studies and our ways parted to different capitals, but we stayed in touch; we kept talking because she is the type of person I greatly admire: honest, unique, ambitious, daring and warm. Someone who knows what she wants, who fights to achieve her objectives, but who, at the same time, remembers to be a woman and to always express her sensitivity and creativity.
With great joy I invite you to discover a piece of her and to acknowledge all the different beautiful projects she took part in or she is working on that take Romania to beautiful horizons.
Tell me a little about yourself and what you enjoy about life…
“All of my friends describe me as full of life and very ambitious…
My small pleasures would be: latte machiatto, the chic bistrots, the rosédry wine and the board games.
And the big pleasures are my closest friends who have helped me set the values I am now following, from whom I’ve learned a lot and who I never get tired of, travelling to new places and socialising with beautiful people.”
Do you have a motto in life?
“I do have a motto that I discovered in high school: ‘If you cannot see the world the way you wish to see it, dream.’, but lately I tend to believe that ‘everything happens for a reason’.”
Tell me a little about your job and your professional journey, please.
“I like to describe myself as a cultural worker, that’s what I write in all of my application forms. I’ve always been animated by the wish to become an artist… Therefore I applied for choreography at the UNATC Bucharest to become a theatre choreographer, but the practical studies at university were focusing on contemporary dance, an area that didn’t really catch my attention. Gradually, the realism and pragmatism that characterise me made me realise I would never be more than a mediocre artist.
Through a happy conjuncture, in my second year of university I started to collaborate with ARCUB – Municipality Bucharest Centre of Cultural Projects, joining the organisation team for cultural projects and artistic events. At first, I would accompany the groups, translate for foreign artists, and by the time I finished university I had started to coordinate cultural projects and be in charge of all their development stages.
After a major in cultural management, a few years of work for festivals, projects and important events, then the experience of the Romanian Cultural Institute, I got a job: cultural projects coordinator, or project manager.”
What do you do exactly ?
“Two and a half years ago I started to flirt a lot with the independent film production, and nowadays this is my main activity domain. I’m currently working at a film production studio (4 Proof Film), and last year I set up my own company, Tapioca Film, with 3 other good friends – an editor and two art directors, who are my partners.
Although this activity is very challenging and takes most of my time, I still collaborate with ARCUB, for which I coordinate at least 1-2 projects that I find endearing every year.
And, also, because I couldn’t just give up dance, last year, me and a very good friend and choreographer, Simona Deaconescu, we set up the dance company Tangaj Dance (www.tangajdance.com).
To be able to set up the different projects I’m involved in (films, dance shows, festivals, etc), my energy is divided between the different realisation stages: from budgeting, activities proposals, logistics, hiring the artists, partnerships, setting up the locations, obtaining the necessary paperwork for the event, timetables etc., to obtaining the sponsorship (the hardest part).”
What stimulates you in your activity?
“What stimulates me are the talented artists and the projects with a strong artistic character. I firmly believe that no matter how well I do my job as a producer or manager, the most important thing for the success of a project is the artistic potential.”
Any recent beautiful projects?
“Before I talk about the recent projects, I would like to mention the short dance film ‘Silent Places’ (finished at the end of last year), which is very dear to me for two reasons: firstly, it’s a project that blends dance and cinematographic art, and secondly, it’s the first film I have got credit for as a producer. Also, I’m proud of it because it has been selected by a lot of film festivals, the latest one being the San Francisco Dance Film Festival, where it was awarded with an Honorific Diploma.
Among the recent beautiful projects, there is the short film ‘Art’ directed by Adrian Sitaru, which had a worldly premiere at the Venice International Film Festival and which is competing nowadays at other international festivals. It’s a 100% 4 Proof Film independent production, carried out with no financing and greatly appreciated by the specialised critics.
I would also like to mention the most recent cultural product made under Tangaj Dance’s wing, the contemporary dance show ‘0002BIRDVILLE’, which had the premiere at Bucharest on the 7th and 8th of October at the Explore Dance Festival – the 9th edition (co-produced by the 4 Culture Society, WASP-Working Space And Production, Life Long Burning and Battery Dance Company New York). The show has an interacting system of generating video projections connected straight to the dancers’ movements, sounds and breaths, so that the music is being created live on stage. For this project we had been financed by the National Cultural Funding Administration, ARCUB – Municipality Bucharest Centre of Culture, through the project ‘Bucharest 555’ and the Bucharest Centre of the United States Of America Embassy.”
Are there any projects in progress or in the near future you would like to talk about?
“I’m very excited about two full-length films, both directed by Adrian Sitaru, the first full-length projects I am working on:
- The first, called ‘On time’, is being carried out with no budget, and the filming ended on the 25thof October and is now in the post-production stage. The project is being filmed in the ciné vérité and has some non-professional actors as well.
- With the second one, ‘Fixeur’, we are in the preparation stage (casting, location scouting, etc), and the filming, which will begin at the middle of February, will take 6 months. It’s a co-production with France, which participated in two co-production international markets last year (Cinelink Sarajevo, where it received the CNC France Award, and Les Arcs Co-production Village) and is being sustained by the Cinematographic National Centre, also obtaining a development (grant) from the MEDIA Programme (Creative Europe).
And lately, not long ago, I came back from Koln, from the film production workshop EAVE – European Production Workshop, where I had the chance to present the projects I’m working on to a big group of decision makers from the film making industry. This workshop, which took place in between March and November, introduced me to an international film production network, and, most importantly, allowed me to participate at a very interesting and useful training programme for my professional development.”
Now that you have told me about the activities you are personally involved, let’s talk a little about what’s going on in Romania on a global level… What beautiful Romanian films/shows have you seen that you would recommend?
“For 3 years I have been recommending the play ‘Bury me behind the plinth’, directed by Yuri Kordonsky. It’s being staged at the Bulandra Theatre in Bucharest, The Liviu Ciulei Hall.
I would also like to mention some of my favourite Romanian films, especially since so few of them are put out every year…
- ‘Has it or has it not been?’ directed by Corneliu Porumbaiu
- ‘How I spent the end of the world’ directed by Catalin Mitulescu
- ‘Sport fishing’ directed by Adrian Sitaru
- ‘Tuesday, after Christmas’ directed by Radu Muntean”
Any Romanian people you admire in your or any other influence domains?
“As I was saying earlier, I am inspired by artists that manage to have a unique style.
In the film department, I admire the New Romanian Wave directors (Cristi Puiu, Cristian Mungiu, Marian Crişan, Adrian Sitaru, etc.), who, inspired by the fact they received no funding, managed to remake the cinema, taking on a realist style, most of the times minimalist, and to put the Romanian film industry on an important place on the international stage.”
How would you describe the Romanian artistic life nowadays?
“I believe that in Romania there is not only a very high level of artistic creativity, but of innovation as well. However, I would say that we are extremely creative in finding resources and ways of making our cultural products and bringing them in front of the public… The contemporary artistic life here is limited by the fact that there are no fundings, but the artists lost their interest as well in spending their energy in individual projects; they are always waiting for fundings from the government, or trying to obtain them from private sponsors.
However, it is true that in the big cities at least, the cultural offer is fairly big and diversified. There are more and more artistic events and festivals, a lot of them international, new cultural spaces designed for independent projects and young artists. We have festivals that have quite a history, with a higher and higher artistic level every year. If in summer I enjoy the Transilvania International Film Festival in Cluj, the Bucharest Music Film Festival, the Bucharest Jazz Festival and a lot more outdoor ones, in autumn I enjoy Les Films de Cannes Bucharest, Anim’est – The International Animations Film Festival, The National Theatre Festival, the Explore Dance Festival and many more.”
What does the Romanian public appreciate?
“We always have to know who to address a certain cultural product. I believe there is a public for anything, you just have to find it and interest it.
If we are referring to film, most people are attracted by the commercial American box office films, anything that is wrapped up nicely and easy to access, but they will also appreciate the quality products. We have to invest just as much if not more, in the distribution and marketing stage, not only in the production process. It’s absurd to expect the public to buy a product they have never heard of before or it’s put on the market with no marketing effort whatsoever.”
A word of advice or good-bye?
“If I were to give any advice, it would be to tell young people not to hurry up to accept any job, but to have patience and look for the one that fits them. Nothing compares to the feeling of working on something you love. Have the courage to believe anything is possible!”
This being told, I hope you all have a great weekend with beautiful moments, whether they are at home, at the cinema or at a cafe!
If you want to follow the artistic projects in the dance department (and not only), you can contact Anamaria on the site www.tangajdance.com.