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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Romania

Adrian Ţofei in post-production with apocalyptic indie flick We Put the World to Sleep

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- The film centres on two lovers with big plans: ending all life on Earth

Adrian Ţofei in post-production with apocalyptic indie flick We Put the World to Sleep
Duru Yücel-Ţofei and Adrian Ţofei as Duru and Adrian in We Put the World to Sleep

Given that the Romanian film industry depends almost exclusively on state funding, guerrilla filmmaking and genre productions are quite rare. Five years after directing Be My Cat: A Film for Anne [+see also:
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, the first Romanian found-footage horror that went on to be shown at circa 30 horror film festivals around the globe, director Adrian Ţofei is currently in post-production with an ultra-independent mockumentary, We Put the World to Sleep.

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Written by Ţofei and highly improvised on set, the story follows actors Adrian (Adrian Ţofei) and Duru (Duru Yücel-Ţofei, the director’s wife), playing two lovers planning to end life on Earth. The two protagonists lose themselves in their characters and embark on a secret mission, convinced that the only way to end suffering – the strong crushing the vulnerable – is to reset the world to its initial, peaceful state. In doing so, Adrian and Duru record themselves, pretending to make a documentary. In case everything feels too meta, don’t worry, as Duru and Adrian will soon uncover a secret CIA mission that will make them change their strategy.

The movie was shot between July and November last year in 12 cities and villages in Romania (including Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca), Turkey (Izmir) and Ukraine (Chernivtsi). This resulted in more than 90 hours of footage, which Ţofei will edit himself over the next few months, with post-production expected to wrap in the second half of the year. The film’s estimated budget amounts to €45,000. Ţofei says he needs circa €4,500 in order to wrap post-production and will start a crowdfunding campaign as soon as he’s edited a teaser trailer for the feature.

Here is how Ţofei describes both his working style and why he is forced to stay on the margins of Romania’s established film industry: “I shoot the film as a documentary filmmaker would shoot real events. Then I watch the footage as a documentary filmmaker would, and I start creating the story in post-production, during the editing process. This improvisational method of filmmaking, combined with the found footage and mockumentary approach, can lead to some incredibly creative and realistic results both in terms of acting and filmmaking, but it's almost impossible to work in the system this way. Since there's no script, I have no traditional way to convince investors and production companies to finance my film.”

We Put the World to Sleep is expected to be released domestically in 2021.

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