Mohamed Tomescu and Brick in the Wall, both produced by Aristoteles Workshop 2013, the international documentary workshop organized by Dan Nutu, have been selected in the official competition, Student section (Mohamed Tomescu), and Made in Romania section (Brick in the Wall) of Astra Film Festival, which will take place between 6th and 12th October, in Sibiu.

The two films are around 25 minutes long and tell the story of a Syrian boy, hip-hop artist living in a Bucovina village, far away from the trouble in Syria but also emotionally very far away from his father (Mohamed Tomescu), and a house that is slowly being built for the past 30 years, with no end in sight (Brick in the Wall).

The 9th edition of Aristoteles Workshop, the documentary film workshop where professionals from the European film industry guide 12 participants through the entire process of creating their own documentary is happening right now, with less then a week to go. The participants are grouped into four teams of three: a director, a cinematographer and an editor. They have four weeks to develop their own film, from pitch to postproduction.

The winning team of this year’s Aristoteles Workshop will be awarded €2000. This prize is offered by FARMEXIM, the same company that gave the prize for the 2013 edition of the workshop. Between 2008 and 2011, the Romanian Cultural Institute (ICR) offered the award for best AW documentary film.

Supported by ARTE/France, Aristoteles Workshop is a cultural project financed by AFCN (Administration of Cultural National Fund), CNC (National Center of Cinematography) and Istyle. The program its participants offers a triple benefit: to learn, to produce a documentary and to be promoted as filmmakers.

The tutors, experts and famous guest filmmakers who came to Aristoteles Workshop until now all agree the structure of the workshop is a real priviledge, and the participants will not find anything close to it in any film school or master program in the world.

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Mohamed Tomescu, the Sirian from Vama

Mohamed Tomescu(24 min.), nominated for the Gopo Awards 2014, was made by Olesya Bortnyak (director, Ukraine), Norbert Fodor (cinematographer, Romania) and Razvan Ilinca (editor, Romania)

The film tells the story of Mohamed Tomescu, a young man with a passion for music who tries to answer questions about his identity. His father is Syrian, his mother is Romanian. They are divorced. The community where he lives regards him as the Syrian boy who lives in Vama. He wants to change his name and forget about Syria but doesn’t know how to break the news to his father. His wish will hurt the already fragile reationship he has with his father. At the point of the shooting, the Syria conflict was ongoing and growing in intensity for more than two years.

The soundtrack of the film Mohamed Tomescu is signed by none other than the real Mohamed Tomescu.

Brick in the Wall – AW best documentary, 2013

Brick in the Wall(23 min.) was awarded the best documentary prize at the 8th edition of Aristoteles Workshop. The film was made by Gregory Brzozowski (director, Poland), Ioana Turcan (cinematographer, Romania), Iulia Matei (editor, Romania).

The film shows the life of an elderly couple and their son. They are trying to finalize the construction of a house bigger than their powers. The team of young filmmakers have recorded this family’s trial to lead a normal life in the shadow of an unfulfilled dream. Their endless work stems from a superstition, the fear their life will end with the finalization of the construction.

It is amazing that the three members of the team succeeded, in such a short time, to get so close to the family and convinced them to pour their hearts out in front of the camera.