A magic place called Piata Unirii

Every day the main square of the city -  Piata Unirii-  gathered around 2000 people to watch a movie (more than 3000 at the Opening Gala). Every night, this place magically turned into an open-air cinema where one could see a great film under the stars. We talked to those for whom Piata Unirii has become their second home during TIFF.

Bogdan, the location manager of Piata Unirii, was responsible for screening movies in the evenings.  “Just for fun, every evening we put two banners upside down, but no one ever noticed. Every time we changed the banners. Usually I asked to do that two volunteers from Lithuania”, - laughs Bogdan.

Besides two Lithuanian girls, he had 18 volunteers more on the list, but for some apparent reason five were missing from the first day. Being all the time busy he didn’t manage to see the movies and for seven years of working at TIFF he saw only three, and all of them at Piata Unirii.

Roxana is responsible for the TIFF lounge that hosted workshops, meetings with famous directors, actors, critics and other professionals in the film industry. Nevertheless, the open air location is always a challenge and a bit chaotic, but she is certain that the lounge was quite well-organized. However, even in such a well thought-out place you need creativity.



 “…every time it rained, the ceiling of the lounge was full of water and I took a swab to  pour it out. And do you see the flowers upstairs? Usually I took the water for the plants from the fountain which is nearby”, - smiles Roxana.

Noemi and Alex were working as bartenders - they are just two of the ten for this location. Noemi combined working here with her final exams at Babes-Bolyai. Being a waitress in the bar, she decided to support the festival in the same way as well, but unfortunately she couldn’t manage to watch the movies.



I met Anisoara in the TIFF shop at the main square – she was a volunteer here. After telling me she was from Moldova I asked her in Russian if she did speak that language. And then… I have never seen such a reaction about the Russian language: “Oh my God! I can’t believe it! Thank you very much! I am so glad to hear it!” The flow of our conversation immediately changed the direction and the tone. Did I tell you I am from Belarus?
Anisoara is also having her exams till the end of June and she is really looking forward to visit her family in Kishinev because she misses them so much.



The last but not least is Esme – the only cashier (at the time I was here) in this location. Being in the center of the city, Piata Unirii is the easiest and accessible way to get the ticket. “There is always a long queue in the evening – till the end of the square – and people prefer to be outside and buy tickets here but not to go to other smaller locations which are further but usually more free”, - she said. I assumed that maybe people just wanted to buy tickets from her. Esme confided that it's hard for her to understand some festival movies but she would love to watch more of them.



The festival is over and not only the viewers are looking forward to the next one to come but the festival crew who made this magic atmosphere will miss it too: “It’s very sad when you create the cinema from scratch and then you have to destroy it and see that the screen is gone”, - says Bogdan.

I will also miss it, for sure. What about you?


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Nadzeya Prasvirava