Cameras, stories, emotions. Six questions about Anina

A questionnaire by Dalesia Cozorici.

A couple of months have passed since the workshop in Anina, Reșita: months in which we had the time to reflect and process all the materials and information we gathered during the 10 days we spent there.

A part of the workshop participations (film, photography and writing enthusiasts) agreed to speak to us about some of their experiences, their impressions and retrospective thoughts, that came back fresh into their minds with the help of the following questions.

Macrina began writing at the age of 15, doing it so she can unblock her thoughts. After the workshop, she would like to study antropology, because she says the workshop helped her open up to people.

Andrei began to take an interest in photography 2 years ago, when a friend brought a DSLR to school. They learned how to take pictures together, on their way home from school. What inpires him are Magnum photographs, but also photographers like Andre Kertesz or Harry Gruyaert. After the workshop, Andrei feels like his desire to become a filmmaker is even greater.

Octavia has been drawing since the 2nd grade After the workshop, she is taking analogue pictures more often and started loving animation films, saying she already started producing one.

Iuliana also started writing when she was of 15, with the desire of bringing together all sorts of meanings. The workshop made her understand that culture is a very important aspect in keeping a city alive.

What are the first words that come to mind when you think about Anina?

Macrina Moldovan: The first words that come into my mind would be empathy, the past and a friendly glance.

Andrei Movileanu: Lots of cats!

Octavia Bortişcă: I think about the train I took to Anina. Since then, I’ve developed a sort of passion to take the train whenever I leave the town.

Iuliana Radu: Ripples, longing, boundlessness, living poetry, warmth.

In your opinion, what was the most important aspect of the workshop?

Macrina: The opportunity to get familiar with doing field-based research, and the chance to learn to empathize with a community that one would like to discover, understand and observe.

Andrei: Discovering oneself.

Octavia: The most important thing, for me, was to rediscover a former mining town that once meant something for our country, which now seems to be in state of degradation, but which still has a lot of stories to tell.

Iuliana: The goal was to acknowledge a vulnerable community. Once we become aware of this, we could speak about it to others. A community that can become known through our individual means of expression, which was cultivated within the workshop.

What were the things that you left with, after this experience?

Macrina: Well, I can say that it helped me with certain situations you bump into in life, situations in which you need to use skills that you didn't even know you had until then. An experience like this helps you greatly. You bond with people, and then you realize you can bond with anyone, really. In addition to this, I also learned how to work with audio-visual means of expression.

Andrei: I met incredibly nice people, who helped me figure out everything that goes on in Anina.

Octavia: I could make a joke about how I ended up with a t-shirt I bought from there, but I won't. I can say that since then I really want to take analogue pictures, and I'm more confident when I think about my drawings.

Iuliana: Through documentary projections, non-formal disscusions and stories about each participant's love about cinematographic, I realized that films are the best links between the realities in my head and those in the real world.

If you could choose an activity that is most dear to you from the workshop, which one would you choose?

Macrina: The most interesting thing, to me, was to conduct interviews with the people of Anina, and although “interviews” might sounds impersonal, and it was actually a very personal process. There was an open and friendly atmosphere throughout the workshop. 

Andrei: The most interesting activities involved walking through the city, talking to people and photographing them. 

Octavia: I don't think I'm able to make a hierarchy of activities, but I enjoyed the moments when I was talking with people and I was finding out all sorts of stories, and usually, the talk  ended with a Polaroid.  Actually, all the goings out that were spontaneous (the last day in Anina, the first day in Steindorf). 

Iuliana: The experience of working on the film, which had me testing the stakes of analog photography, along with the rest of the artistic manifestations ( installation, photography). 

Most people associate a former mining town with abandonment and ruin... but what do you think?

Macrina: I think that, as long as people keep on telling the city's stories to others, the city’s not yet dead.

Andrei: I am from a small town with few things to do, but there are some people who are trying to make this city “alive” and I think it resembles Anina from this point of view.

Octavia: I think it would be ideal that they visit it in order to convince themselves that there will always be elements that will keep the city alive. And it doesn’t matter how hard it is to get there, or how long the road is, because it deserves every moment that you put into it.

What is your opinion about the One World Romania at School programme and what did it offer you throughout this workshop?

Macrina: I think Romania needed a programme like this one, and still needs it. Documentary films can open the minds and eyes of many, especially in small towns like Anina. Change comes in small steps, so it's probably important to start working step by step with small communities.

Andrei: One World Romania at School gave me the chance to discover myself during the workshop, to discover other people and places.

Octavia: What I like about One World Romania at School is that they involve a lot of teenagers in their activities. I find it fascinating that they’re able to bring some forms of alternative education in schools, to encourage clubs coordinated by high school students.

Iuliana: One World Romania at School is remarkable in bringing together the preoccupations of young people, with anthropological explorations. They help us understand the problems of isolated communities.