”CLARA” will be a feature film with a length of 90 minutes on the topic of woman labor force migration from Romania to the Western Europe and family problems caused by the distance that separates mothers from children.
Clara is a Romanian woman in her thirties. She works as a live-in nurse in a German city by the Danube river, taking care care of Edith, a deaf-mute old woman and Martha, her five years old nephew. Her daily routine is interrupted by a telephone from her neighbor in Romania who calls her back home as something terrible happened.
Nobody tells her what exactly the problem is, so Clara is worried as she cannot contact neither her father, nor her son, Ionut, who lives with him in Dubova, a small village by the Danube in Romania. She is terrified when the bus driver on the way back to Romania thinks she is the mother of a boy who people say committed suicide a few days ago in Dubova. Clara almost faints.
But finally she arrives back home and finds out that her son indeed run away from home a few days ago and police find him on a boat floating on the Danube. He was alive, but with severe hypothermia. Ionut was trying to navigate till Germany to reach his mother by water, as he felt angry and abandoned.
For now, the boy is in hospital and Clara finds him very upset. He recovered from hypothermia, but refuses to talk to her. The mother cannot reconnect with him. She remembers him as a child and now she finds a very furious teenager. Little by little Ionut finally accepts his mother. He really needs her affection as they were separated for so long time. Clara understands his radical action of navigating the river to reach her and feels guilty that she “abandoned” him. She tries to find a job or even to start a business in Romania so she won’t be forced to go back in Germany again to escape poverty. But for now those are just beautiful plans for the future. And as she needs money urgently. She has to go back in Western Europe. At least for a short period of time. Ionut understands the situation, and Clara promises him she will come back soon and never leave again.
To find out more about the story, you can read an 8 pages treatment HERE.
“Clara” continues the story of two short films about woman’s migration. Those two films act as production trailers and examples as they present the general look, mood, locations and even cast of the future film “Clara”. Both short films can be watched by clicking the two links above. The first short film - “Way of the Danube” presents the Romanian locations on the Danube and the general look of the future film “Clara” that will be shot in winter. The second short film, “The Birthday Boy” presents the location of Clara’s house in Romania and the actress who will actually play Clara in the feature film presented in this booklet.
As a film director I always ask myself: why should I do this film? Why me, and not someone else? And there are several reasons why I feel more than motivated to develop this subject and film “Clara”.
At the age of nine, when I was just a little bit younger than Ionut in the film, I witnessed my uncle’s migration to Germany. This might not seem like a big deal, but for me at that age, my uncle meant the world for me! He emigrated in the early 90’s, when immigration was not very common among Romanians. He took this radical decision under his wife’s influence, my aunt. She has German roots, so, for her, it was the natural thing to do. My uncle is very close to me. He actually is like an older brother for me. His departure came as a shock for the little boy that I was back then. In those days, immigration in Germany supposed to live for a while in a special place designed for asylum seekers. He left quickly and did not come back to Romania for more than a year. As a child, I felt this was a very sad experience.
Flash forward 20 years. A few years after my graduation, I started to document this social phenomenon: “the migration of mothers / woman from Romania”. At first I just read lot of news articles on the internet and newspapers, and then in the autumn of 2012 I decided it was time for me to start making a short film about it. Therefore, in 2013 I produced the short film “Way of the Danube”. It had a good festival circuit for almost three years. Even today there are still festivals who demand my short film. Working on this short film was crucial for me in building up my ever growing interest on the topic. After the short film received some very good screenings and reviews in the US and Europe, someone asked me if they could include footage from the film in a music video. The music video I am talking about is ”All over again” and represented Romania in Eurovision song contest Vienna 2015. Some footage from “Way of the Danube” had been broadcasted live during Eurovision song contest 2015. It was the first Romanian film ever to be shown live at such a big song contest.
The national and international exposure of the short film “Way of the Danube” made me want to search even more info on the topic of families who suffer from the separation causes by migration. So the next step was to produce in early 2017 a new short film that actually continues the story from “Way of the Danube”, but this time more focused on the story of the mother who turns back to her child’s birthday. The new short was called “The Birthday boy”. So after completing my second short film on the topic of woman migration, It came as a natural decision in the autumn of 2017, that my first feature film will be on this topic. And there it was, my new project “Clara” was born. Both the short film “Way of the Danube” and “The Birthday boy” are available here on this page, at the links below:
On an international scale, there are many countries where the labor force migration is a real problem: Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Poland and even Russia. So the theme of the film and especially the unique subjective feminine view of the migration, has a very powerful international appeal, because people from so many countries in the world can relate directly to this social issue.
After Romania joined the European Union in 2007, an ever increasing number of Romanian citizens left the country and went to work in the western countries of the continent. They had hopes for a better life and for decent salaries. Statistics show that nowadays there are 4 million Romanians who work and live outside their country. The biggest migration in the world after the refugees from Syria!
In most of the families, parents are working abroad while the children are left at home, with grandparents. According to the same statistics, there are around 100.000 Romanian children left behind, whose mothers went to work abroad to escape poverty.
The international drama of these “orphans of the migration” is a very controversial social issue in the Eastern European countries. This is an international problem with serious consequences on the near and long-term future of this region of the European Union, as it is affecting the next generation of workers and leaders. What kind of parents and individuals will these children become?
The 2008 financial crisis had bad consequences in the constructions business all over EU. Since most of the jobs for men were happening in this sector, all of the sudden thousands of immigrants found themselves unemployed. As a consequence, their wives from Romania started to emigrate massively in search for jobs. Most of them now work as live-in nurses for elder people in the rich countries of the EU. At present, the only sources of steady decent income in Romanian families are provided by Mothers. Mothers sacrifice everything for the sake of their very own children. Poverty forces them to leave their own families behind and go work abroad, for other people’s families.
Sabin Dorohoi is a film director & producer from the western part of the Transylvania Region (Romania). In 2013 he founded WTS - Western Transylvania Studios, a production company in the western part of Romania, to provide full production services for international projects from Western Europe or US. He produced acclaimed short films and documentaries, selected and awarded in film festivals around the world: Los Angeles, Cannes, Palm Springs, Geneva, Montpellier, Capalbio, Reykjavik, Chicago, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Vilnius, San Francisco, Regensburg, Mexico and many more. He was the first ever Romanian director who had footage from one of his films screened live in Eurovision Song Contest Viena 2015, with an audience of 180 millions TV viewers all over the planet.
Find out more about the director at his official portfolio website www.sabinfilm.com
Sabin Dorohoi – producer | sabindorohoi[at]yahoo.com