A year ago, when I was about 2,000 km from home in the Abkhazia region and participating in a cultural exchange project, I found out that I had won the screenplay competition for a documentary, organized by OWH Studio, UNDP and the Government of Switzerland.
My idea for the movie "Missing Home" was convincing, although I presented it online to the jury. The online dimension has in no way inhibited the stories of migrants who wanted to appear in the light of the big screens.
Migration, as a phenomenon with a positive impact, is a subject close to me. I know what it is like to live abroad and how much courage you need to return home.
My return from Georgia marked the beginning of filming. That scared me a bit, because I didn't have the experience of making a feature film and I also didn't know where to start from. I only had a few short movies in the portfolio and didn't know how to go the "long distance". Another concern was who to involve in my team, especially since we had to work together for a few months in a row. Shortly, Victor Galușca, my favourite director among colleagues, who was also a participant in the screenplay competition, and the sound engineer Constantin Coada, joined me. Great! I have the team in place, but what next? Consultations with Lucia Lupu, a young director, followed; she supported me a lot during the project and gave me a great deal of courage.
I caught all the seasons in the village. And each of them reflects the spiritual state of the village. In autumn-winter they are heavier, gloomier, and in spring-summer - lighter. This is also reflected in the film, in the dialogue with the people. And being with our heroes for several months in a row, they were waiting for us at their homes with great pleasure. And to this day I have remained in warm relations with them all.
Another challenge was the pandemic. To finalize the film, we needed two or three more field trips. And the scenes with Easter holidays were supposed to end the film. This is where we made changes in the scenario. But I think it was for the better, because that's how summer scenes appeared in the movie.
The film editing lasted five months. I had a timeline of about twenty-four hours. During this period, I was permanently in a state of deja-vu, I was still returning to the village in the improvised editing studio. At this stage I was working with Cristian Niholat, the most patient editor I have ever met. I am very grateful to him.
Premiere. The producer of the film, Virgiliu Mărgineanu from OWH Studio, told me the news that "missing" will be released online. It saddened me to be deprived of people's lively reactions, to hear them laugh and sigh. But then followed a screening on the big screen with spectators in the hall and a tour in several localities of Moldova.
I had the opportunity to talk to many people, most often these were requests for face-to-face discussions, where I was told other stories of migrants. I had many messages asking me to give them access to the film, so that people could show it to relatives abroad. Then there were even more messages with the same requests from Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Russia. This is how the idea of an official launch of the film in the online space appeared. I thought it was important for it to be seen here as well. But the latest events have led me to the idea that the film is of much greater value to our migrants. It will be like a Christmas card for them. By the way, I am happy that we managed to capture a neo-carol sequence for the film, I was also curious how this holiday happens in Moldovan villages nowadays.
Thank you. Colleagues, a big thank you. OWH Studio for the experience. UNDP and the Government of Switzerland for the opportunity to make such a film, one that is very important to me personally. The consultants of this film for their patience and involvement.