Gabriel Achim's film ‘Snowing Darkness’ had its world premiere in the ‘Rebels With A Cause’ competition selection at the 25th edition of PÖFF
Gabriel Achim's film ‘Snowing Darkness’ had its world premiere in the ‘Rebels With A Cause’ competition selection at the 25th edition of PÖFF – Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, which took place at the end of November 2021. The festival, whose first edition was held in 1997 in the Estonian capital, is one of the most important cinematographic events in Europe, with one of the most visible competition sections in the region. ‘Snowing Darkness’ is produced by Mandragora, and its release in cinema halls in Romania is scheduled for the first part of the year.
We talked to Gabriel Achim about the complicated birth process of his third feature film ‘Snowing Darkness’: “Unfortunately, we are living in challenging times that should make us turn to the essentials, help us value time more, and seek quality more. But this has not happened, on the contrary, there has been a dilution of values, and the arts seem to become more and more useless, because people are slowly taking a distance from them. I could say that ‘Snowing Darkness’ is a film made almost independently, the very small funding did not allow us to have a large team or very many actors. But I'm used to it, and eventually it all came together, and I managed to make a movie that I do like a lot. Before I started working on this film, I had a project that had received funding through the EU Media program, it had a French co-producer, and it had won several international development awards through the festival circuit. It was a project that seemed to be my third feature film. Unfortunately, I did not manage to get funding from Romania, and I realized that it no longer made sense to apply to the National Center of Cinematography. I then had a discussion with film director Cristi Puiu, who, seeing me quite desperate because I could not carry on with that respective project, advised me to write a screenplay based on the situation I was in at that moment. I had two more weeks until the moment I was supposed to apply for funding, but I got mobilized and wrote the film script together with Cosmin Manolache, with whom I usually collaborate. When I edited the film, I had to give up certain things that I had in the initial script, because it would have been too complex, too focused on this idea of provoking the film viewers, of making them get out of their comfort zone. I guess that had I left it in that initial form, I would have pushed too many spectators away. So, I reconsidered my script. I made a film with a complex structure, but a friendlier one and closer to my intentions, a film which, even if it challenges the spectators, will convey what I intended to get across. I can say that I made up for the lack of money through the enthusiasm of the team. I also had an exceptional set designer, Ana Gabriela Lemnaru, also a very professional team whom I also work with on the series Las Fierbinți.”
‘Snowing Darkness’ tells the story of Teo, a director who rehearses with actors for a new project. The subject, autobiographical, is confusing from the beginning: the turmoil of a director who stages a play about the drama he experiences after the death of his little daughter, following an incurable disease. As the story progresses, story that has 5 working versions, uncertain episodes come to light, bordering on life and fiction and accentuating dilemmas.
Here is Gabriel Achim with details: “It's a very complex story. In fact, it is a film made up of 5 stories, there are 5 actors who play different roles, and the only ones who accompany us permanently throughout the story are the main character and his little girl. The other actors play several roles, since it’s a complex story, which is difficult to summarize in a few words. It’s always dark inside us, and in the dark, you always have surprises. And so is this movie, with many surprises, sometimes it can scare you, other times it can make you laugh."
Along with Bogdan Dumitrache, who has the main role, the cast of the film also includes the actors Anca Androne, Luiza Gherghinescu, Gheorghe Ifrim, Rolando Matsangos and Silvana Mihai. The screenplay is signed by Gabriel Achim and Cosmin Manolache, the image by Adrian Iurchevici and the film's producers are Anca Puiu and Smaranda Zărnoianu.
Made with the support of the National Center of Cinematography, Dacin Sara and of the Romanian Television Corporation, the film is distributed in Romania by Iadasarecasa. Gabriel Achim is known for the feature films Ultima zi - Last Day (Romanian Film Days Award in the Feature Film section, TIFF), Visul lui Adalbert - Adalbert's Dream (Gopo Award) and for the popular television series Las Fierbinți. (LS)