ROMANIA: Alleged Conflicts of Interest in Romanian Film Awards Highlight Industry Practices

Categorized as Alleged Conflict of Interest, Community Posts Tagged , ,

Thanks to reader’s contribution we’ve been made aware that the Romanian Film Awards, commonly known as the Gopos, have recently come under scrutiny for practices that raise questions about conflicts of interest within the local film industry. Tudor Giurgiu, a key figure in Romanian cinema, won multiple awards for his film Freedom (Libertate), securing 10 awards. This film triumphed over notable contenders such as films directed by Cristi Puiu and Radu Jude.

The conflict of interest arises as Giurgiu’s roles in the Romanian film scene are multifaceted. Not only is he a director, but he is also the founder and leader of the organization that oversees the Gopos. His influence extends further as the president of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF), Romania’s largest film festival, which routinely features his own films, both as director and producer. Notably, Freedom (Libertate) and other productions from Giurgiu have been included in TIFF program, potentially generating profit.

Further illustrating the depth of Giurgiu’s influence, a film he produced, Moromeții 2, dominated the Gopos in 2019 by winning 9 awards. Additionally, two documentary features produced by his former partner and producer, Oana Giurgiu, won the award for best documentary in both 2015 and 2023.

The distribution and production of these films are closely linked to Giurgiu’s other business interests. Most films produced under his company, Libra Film, are distributed through the same channels, and many international titles in their roster have been featured at TIFF. Remarkably, each of Giurgiu’s productions has been included in TIFF’s selections: in 2019, Parking, directed by Giurgiu, was the festival’s opening film, and in 2012, his feature Of Men and Snails also served as the opening film. This creates a sort of monopoly, dominating the local industry, making it harder for smaller producers and films to gain funding, attention or awards.

This vertical integration from film production through to festival presentation, distribution, and the local awards, are all or mostly financed with public funding, a fact that has not escaped the attention of industry observers.

This sequence of film production, festival screening, and distribution is financed by public funding. Despite the apparent conflict of interest, such practices have become normalized within the Romanian film industry, with limited public discussion or critique. This situation is further supported by the behavior of other influential figures in the industry.

Sources: Official websites of the Gopo Awards, TIFF, Libra Film, and Transilvania Film, along with IMDb. Screenshots will be added shortly.

2 comments

  1. All this blah-blah of a disgruntled author hiding behind keyboards and activist sounding texts is useless in this case. Freedom, Giurgiu’s film really deserves all these awards. It is truly one of the best films of recent years, not just because it was extremely hard to make, dozens of actors and hundreds of people, but also because it is extremely hard to capture the atmosphere of those controversial days in December 1989, and the film managed to do it brilliantly.

    1. Thank you for your comment. Sounds like an expensive film, mostly public funding we assume? We think that you’re missing the point of the article – there is a conflict of interest when a festival or an award founder is also a working director, winning an award in an event that he helps put together. That is the definition of a conflict of interest. People who do not want this sort of questions raised, can give up their positions at certain organizations so there is no such conflict. How good or bad the film is, which we did not watch, is not relevant. People in positions of power tend to abuse it and protect it, it is just human nature. We’re here to report on such cases, no matter who the person is or in what country it is. The information was provided to us by Romanian filmmakers who contacted us, meaning this is something that bothers the local industry and, as they say, there is no smoke without fire. We call the film industry to de-normalize this type of practice and allow for more fairness and transparency, in what is a dying art form and industry.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *