Preparations for the Florida premiere of “Puzzle for a Blind Man,” Andrei Zinca’s first feature film, are drawing near and will unspool Friday, March 21st. at 8:50 pm at the Muvico Centro in Ybor City. Critically acclaimed in Europe “Puzzle” is a highly anticipated entry in the 8th Annual Gasparilla International Film Festival (GIFF) in Tampa, Florida. Follow up screenings are confirmed for Saturday, March 22nd at 8.30pm, at the same Muvico Center Ybor in Tampa.
Additional “Puzzle” screenings are slated for April 5th, at 8.30 pm in Atlantic City, NJ as an official selection in the Garden State International Film Festival, and on May 1st, at 6 pm as an official selection in the Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival. Though “Puzzle” was adapted from the Argentinean playwright Mario Diament’s ‘Blind Date,’ the feature length movie was filmed and produced in its entirety in Romania.
Puzzle’s entry in the GIFF is even more of a distinction given that, this year GIFF received a record-number of submissions, totaling more than 500+ films from across the world. The GIFF Programming Team narrowed its selections down to 100 films which will be screened at the Tampa Theatre, Cinébistro at Hyde Park and Muvico Centro Ybor 20, Tampa Art Museum and Firehouse Cultural Center. More information at gasparillafilmfestival.com
“Since last year’s amazing World Premiere of Dito Montiel’s Empire State, GIFF has become a festival where filmmakers want to premiere, feature and launch their work,” says Joe Restaino, GIFF Program Director and Past President (2012-2013). “We’ll have 35 feature films screening this year, and out of those 35 we have 11 world premieres, two U.S. premieres, 15 Florida premieres and six Tampa premieres.”
Romania’s popularity as an ideal production location is due to the regions incomparable locations. Romania’s unspoiled wildernesses of first growth forests , medieval villages and ancient castles combine with exceptional crews and deeply discounted production costs.
Anthony Minghella’s “Cold Mountain,” a riveting Civil War epic, was filmed on location in Romania with Jude Law, Renee Zellweger and Nicole Kidman. Scenes were filmed throughout the endangered Carpathain Mountain Range, Europe’s largest and endangered virgin terrains.
The very same forests are depicted on a more sober note in Paul Listerand Charlie Ottley’s documentary “Wild Carpathia”. Coinciding with “Puzzle for a Blind Man’s” screenings on the USA Film Festival Circuit are exhibits of “Wild Carpathia” in Miami, New York and Washington DC. For a complete schedule please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The critically acclaimed Joyeux Noël (English: Merry Christmas) was also shot on location in Romania in 2005. The World War I Christmas truce is depicted through the eyes of French, Scottish and German doughboys in the trenches. Written and directed by Christian Carion “Joyeux” was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 78th Academy Awards. Contrary to popular myth, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 erotic drama starring Gary Oldman as the insidious Romanian Count Dracul with Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins and Keanu Reeves was regrettably shot on a Los Angeles soundstage and not where the ubiquitous werewolf myth evolved.
Andrei Zinca’s film is the first co-production of its kind between Andrei’s Florida/Los Angeles based production company Double 4 Studios and Romania’s internationally lauded Castel Film. Financial support was provided by the Romanian National Center of Cinema, TVR and McCann-Erikson of Romania. The main roles are played by Adrian Titieni, Ioana Pavelescu, Tünde Skovrán, Catalina Mustata and Dan Nutu who garnered worldwide fame as a leading actor and star throughout the 70’s and 80’s.
Following a three decade hiatus, “Puzzle” brings Dan Nutu back on the screen. Natu insists he “was skeptical of the idea to return to cinema” but found Andrei and the producer Vlad Paunescu very persuasive.
Adrian Titieni’scharacter is a married man who falls in love with a much younger woman. “He is a complex and enigmatic character, twisted, simple, ordinary and extraordinary”. A popular actress at the Hungarian Theatre in Cluj-Napoca, Tünde Skovrán is Adrian Titieni’s love interest and “Puzzle” is her first feature film. “This role is heart rendering and quite challenging from a technical perspective and the dialogue in Romanian was another first, as my first language is Hungarian. I relied mostly on feelings and instinct rather than dialogue to flesh out my character”.
The Romanian Daily News (“Cotidianul”) wrote about the film, which premiered in Romania in the Spring of last year: “Love, passion, or better said the lack thereof, constitute the subject of the movie. The heroes are in love, but at the same time used by the object of their passion. The director Andrei Zinca masterfully leads his characters through the puzzle of their lives and the lives of others, which slowly become profound dramas.”
It comes of no surprise that Zinca is receiving critical acclaim for his feature film directorial debut. His creative lineage is multi generational. His father was a well known writer Haralamb Zinca, compared to the Harold Robbins of Eastern Europe. In 2007 Andrei Zinca received a Best Series Award from the Romanian Association of Television Professionals and one from the Romanian Filmmakers Association. He received the Best TV Director Award from the Hispanic Association of Television Critics and was nominated for an Emmy Regional Award in 1993. He is currently in post-production with “Projects from the Past”, another Romania/U.S. co-production, entirely shot in Romania and in development with two features: a drama set to be shot between Argentina and the US., and a movie for children.
For more information about the Gasparilla International Film Festival or to view the full list of featured films, visit: GasparillaFilmFestival.com. To set-up interviews with the GIFF team or assistance with talent interviews, please contact Nancy Vaughn of White Book Agency at 813.994.9807. The official website of the movie is www.puzzlefilm.ro and you can see the English and Romanian trailers at https://vimeo.com/87250705
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