Liviu Mărghidan at the end of post-production with her third feature, Refuge

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– The drama film, shot entirely on location, centers on two siblings separated by their parents

Refuge by Liviu Marghidan

A well-known cinematographer before moving on to directing, the Romanian Liviu Marghidan is currently in the end of post-production with his third feature film, Refuge. The family drama, centered on two siblings separated by their parents, is one of the few Romanian films where the protagonists are children. The photo is directed by Ruxandra Flonta, through Scharf Film. Chainsaw Europe (Romania) is the co-production company, with Viorel Chesaru serving as co-producer.

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The screenplay, written by Alexander Popa and the director himself, focuses on a broken family: after their parents divorce (Judith State and Dragos Olaru), two siblings (Adela Marghidan and Radu Marghidan) are separated, the girl living with her mother in France and the boy with his father in Romania. Every year, the family gets together for a few days to go mountaineering in a nature reserve. But when the last day of their happy reunion approaches, the children wish they could stay together longer and run away from their parents.

The budget amounts to around €750,000, of which around €165,000 comes from the Romanian National Film Centre. The film was shot in June and July 2020, with another week of production in the summer of 2021. The DoP was Mircea Valentine.

Ruxandra Flonta tells Cineuropa that the shoot was tough for the whole crew, as it took four to seven hours to walk just to get to the location. “Due to the high effort and the limited accommodation conditions, the crew had to be very small,” explains the producer. “We organized two long climbs on the ridge of Piatra Craiului, where we spent five days each time, in a tent or a mountain hut. The climb was even more difficult as each crew member had to carry their own food, water and basic items. We experienced all types of weather conditions, ranging from summer conditions to winter conditions,” she adds.

Liviu Mărghidan says of her film: “It’s not a family film, not in the traditional sense of the word. It’s the story of a broken family, a common problem these days. And above all, it’s the story of the two brothers and their powerful connection.” The director also says that, even if Refuge is not a children’s film per se, Romanian audiences strongly need more titles in this genre. “We have a strong need for films for children, films capable of inspiring them, guiding them and above all inviting them outside. In Romania, we have absolutely no films for children”, explains the director, who has already made two feature films of this type: The Sentinels and its sequel, The Sentinels of the Delta.

Plans are underway for a national release for Refuge this autumn.

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