Five new and challenging documentaries in the official competition of Pelicam 2016


Pelicam brings this year, as well, the most current documentaries about environment and people in national premiere. Whether they are talking about coal, land grabbing, wildlife or fashion industry, the films in the official competition call for a critical look at the realities around us. Vlad Alexandrescu, the former Minister of Culture will be joining us at Tulcea for the fifth edition of the festival, as part of jury for the official competition.

Behemoth (Zhao Liang, China, 2015) combines documentary and experimental filmmaking to show the human and environmental costs of mining and consumerism in China, the largest consumer of coal and the biggest polluter in the world. The film takes place in Wuhai region of Inner Mongolia where sheep graze on green pastures, and just a few meters away of dust-covered workers digging coal day and night. Having its world premiere at Venice Film Festival, Behemoth will be screened for the first time in Romania in the official competition of Pelicam 2016.

Land Grabbing (Kurt Langbein, Germany, 2015) shows the magnitude of a phenomenon threatening the survival of small farmers in favour of large corporations that have access to the most important resources of the world. This problem has ravaged through Africa and Asia, but is present everywhere, including Romania. An area half the size of Europe has already been overtaken by big companies. The will have its national premiere at Pelicam 2016.

Poached (Timothy Wheeler, UK, 2015) introduces us to the bizarre world of illegal egg collecting from rare birds. Convicted collectors tell their stories on film. They are not motivated by money, but by their passion for the beauty of the egg, as well as the thrill of the chase. Police seized thousands of eggs found under beds, under the floor and in secret rooms. The film will be screened in premiere for Romania as part of the official competition of Pelicam 2016.

The official competition also includes two documentary films part of Pelicam 2016 Focus on the industry fashion. The True Cost (Andrew Morgan, 2015, USA) tells a story about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The documentary will have its premiere in Romania at Pelicam, in the official competition, in the presence of producer and journalist at The Guardian Lucy Siegle.

Jungle Sisters (Chloe Rhutven, 2015, India/UK) tells the story of two village girls from India, who are being recruited by director Ruthven’s sister to work for a company that places girls into textiles factories in Mumbai to produce clothes for giant international brands. The documentary will be screened at Pelicam in national premiere, in the official competition.

The screening of art films, documentary films or environmental films has become so threatened in Romania, like some species of wild birds. In Bucharest, we see it less because there are various festivals and foreign films events, but in other cities in the country the situation is dramatic. Most of the old cinema theatres in the country are ruined or changed their destination. Watching a debate movie or an art film has become a private act and this is regrettable. Tulcea and the Danube Delta area are generally seen as tourist destinations. But it seems important to acknowledge their cultural potential. In my opinion, tourism always has a cultural component because the human gaze on nature cannot ignore the cultural aspects. Therefore, I decided to give the proper importance to Pelicam Festival, the only international film festival in Romania dedicated to the environment. Its aim is to inform people and to open ways of sustainable development through screenings in national premiere of international films, and other cultural activities. The festival is suggesting to see the concern for the environment and culture as a whole, as two natural parts of contemporary man”, says former Minister of Culture Vlad Alexandrescu.

The jury of the official competition of Pelicam 2016:

Vlad Alexandrescu, Minister of Culture between 2015 and 2016. Philologist by profession, he was Romanian ambassador in Luxembourg between 2006 and 2011. As Minister of Culture, Vlad Alexandrescu has backed Roșia Montana’s nomination for UNESCO list, and also launched the campaign Brâncuși is mine.

Margaret Parsons, the head of film department at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. She contributes to the preservation and promotion of independent film.

Levente Molnár, actor, plays Abraham part in Oscar winning picture Son of Saul.