Anca Damian is our next New Directors/New Films discovery! Her film Crulic: The Path to Beyond is a chilling and ironic documentary that utilizes striking animation to tell a heartbreaking story. It screened at Locarno and SXSW and will screen at ND/NF on Friday and Saturday. [Buy tickets here]

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Anca Damian

Describe your film to someone who hasn't seen it.
I think this description is closest to the way I see the movie.
“The film begins with the death of the young protagonist – narrated by the deceased himself. After describing his post-death appearance as being so different that even his parents can’t recognize him, the Romanian character, Crulic, begins to tell his story: childhood in a poor village without a mother, adolescence filled with work in a communist society, and adulthood in Poland in hope for a better life. Then he gets arrested and convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. He goes on a hunger strike to gain justice, but in the pressure of an arbitrary establishment nobody notices his distress. Crulic – The Path to Beyond, is much more than a depiction of human suffering and a Kafkaesque miscarriage of justice. Most of all, it is a touching and skillfully animated documentary that approaches a difficult issue with some fresh irony and plenty of black humour.”

What was the most memorable day of shooting like?
As it was mostly animation, I remember a day from the research. I travelled during a heavy winter in Northern Romania to meet Crulic’s sister and get the last photos from his camera. There were the last images he ever had alive.

If you could work with any artist alive, who would it be and why?
Michael Fassbender for his performance in Hunger.

What are you most excited to do while you're in NYC?
As I am staying only two days, I look forward to feel how the NYC audience perceives my movie.

Describe your very first experience with filmmaking.
I started when I was 16 years old in a cine-club making an experimental movie.

What would you be doing if you weren't making films?
I would make photos, paint, write and be involved in non-governmental organizations for humanitarian work.

What is your favorite (and/or least favorite) movie and why?
I can’t name one: cinema has more than one masterpiece, and I was fascinated by artists like Melies, Chaplin, Kurosawa, Tarkowski, Kieslowski, Tom Tykwer, Kim Ki Duk, Wong Kar Wai, Nuri Bilge Ceylan… and the list is very long.

From what types of art, other than film, do you draw inspiration?
From the visual arts (painting and video-art)

What is your favorite food to eat on set?
I can’t eat while shooting, so I never eat on set. It keeps me alert while I am drinking only water.

Do you have any rituals or rules for yourself while you're working on a film?
The main rule is: making the movie is a “work in progress” till the last day — never stop digging to find the most valuable form or truth.

Which parts of the filmmaking process do you enjoy the most? The least?
Luckily I enjoy all the parts of filmmaking as a director: I pay a special attention to the preparation, to find the best shape of my concept. As producer, I enjoy only the financing game, after the production starts, I start to dislike it, especially the negotiating.

What was the biggest surprise you had while making your film?
Everyone from my team at this movie was at the first experience of this kind: animators, actors, composer, and sound technicians. I was the only link in between, as they never met each other. The final work makes each one's contribution inseparable.

Crulic: The Path to Beyond screens on March 23 and March 24 – buy tickets now! Follow Crulic on Facebook and visit its official website here.