Legendary Maia Morgenstern has often been described as the "symbol of Romanian theater and film" (Florin Mitu, AMOS News). Born in a Jewish family in Bucharest, she studied at the Film and Theatre Academy and went on to become a member of the repertory companies of three prominent Romanian theater organizations — the Piatra Neamț National Theatre (1985 – 1988), the State Jewish Theatre (1988 – present) and the National Theatre (1990 – present). She made her film debut in 1983 with Too Hot for May/ Prea cald pentru luna mai. Since then she has appeared in dozens of Romanian feature films, as well as several international productions, including the English-language Nostradamus (1994), starring F. Murray Abraham and Tchéky Karyo; the Hungarian-language Siódmy pokój (1995) , the English/Greek language Ulysses’ Gaze (1995), in which she co-starred with Harvey Keitel, and the French language feature Marie, Nonna, la vierge et moi (2000). Morgenstern also took on a role in the USA Network TV movie Dark Prince: The True Story of Dracula (2000). She is probably best known for the role of Mary, mother of Jesus, in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ(2004). She performed her role in Aramaic, but unlike the other actors in the cast of the film, she simply memorized her lines phonetically. In Romania, she has been nationally known since her 1992 role as Nela in Lucian Pintilie’s Balanța/ The Oak, set during the waning days of Communist Romania.
Before starting his career in film, Daniel Sandu studied theology at the Orthodox Seminary "Saint George" in the North-East of Romania. He wrote and directed feature films, shorts and TV shows. In 2011, his short "The Counting Device", co-produced with Ada Solomon, was selected in official competitions of prestigious film festivals at Sarajevo, Cambridge, Montpellier, Leuven and won the Jury Prize in Leiden. In 2013 he got the Special Prize at the Anonymous Festival in Romania, for his film "The Second Voice". "Horsepower" was awarded the Prize for the Best Short a year later at the Locarno Film Festival. He continued his collaboration with Ada Solomon for his debut with "One Step behind the Seraphim", a film that swept Romania’s Gopo Awards last year. Daniel is now working on a TV series for HBO Romania and on his second feature movie- "Father Moves Mountains/Tatăl mută munții" produced by Cristian Mungiu (Mobra Films). This project received the ARTE award at Les Arcs in 2016.
Elena Beuca grew up in a small farm town in Transylvania, Romania. After graduating from Law School in Bucharest and working in real estate for a few years, she became interested in the entertainment industry and decided to move to Hollywood. Elena studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She studied with Ivanna Chubuck, the famous acting coach for Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Brad Pitt. She has appeared in the HBO comedy series "Enlightened", the Fox Network action drama "Gang Related" and Nickelodeon's "Victorious". Elena has always loved a good challenge, so when a friend introduced her to the 168-film festival (making a short film in a week ) she decided to jump in and direct her first short film. She loved it so much, that she decided to do it again and again and again.. D-love is her first feature film. She is currently working on another feature film that will be shot in the fall in South Carolina.
Andrei Dăscălescu (born 1984) started as a radio DJ in his hometown during his teenage years. He then moved to Bucharest to study Sound and Editing at the Film University, at the same time working as a freelance editor and sound engineer for BBC World Service Romania and on many films, including Francis Ford Coppola's Youth Without Youth, as the assistant of the legendary editor Walter Murch. He moved on to make his own films with the awarded short feature Fly, then made his documentary debut with "Constantin and Elena", a film that achieved worldwide recognition through multiple festival selections, awards and broadcasts. Planeta Petrila is his second feature-length documentary.
Daniel Ursache is an illustrator, painter, print-maker and graphic designer. He was born in Romania, in Turnu Severin, a Romanian city on the northern bank of the Danube. He was raised in Constanta, ancient Greek and then Roman colony on the Black Sea coast, explored geology in Iasi, the former capital of the Moldavian kingdom and studied fine arts in Timisoara, briefly the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 2004 he got stranded on the island of Montreal, in the middle of St. Lawrence river and did his post-graduate studies there. He has exhibited his work in Canada, Romania, Poland, Yugoslavia, Holland, Germany and Italy.
Vivian Hua (華婷婷) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer who is fascinated by synthesizing divergent schools of thought. She is the Executive Director at Northwest Film Forum, a co-founder of the civil rights film series, The Seventh Art Stand, and Editor-in-Chief of the socially-conscious long-form arts publication, REDEFINE. Much of her work unifies her interest in the metaphysical with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society.
Programmer/selector since 1997 for SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival), a twenty-five day film festival of over 400 films, that includes features, documentaries, archival films, animation, experimental, short films, and film forums. Ajaja is a writer and a poet and specializes in films from Eastern/Central European, Russia, Baltics, Central asia, and Caucuses. Born in Hollywood, she makes her home in Seattle, Washington since 1969.
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