RO culture professionals call for sector rescue strategy
More than 150 culture professionals have sent an open letter to president Klaus Iohannis and prime minister Florin Cîțu asking for “a coherent, functional strategy to rescue the culture sector during the crisis we experience.”
The letter came after director Alexander Nanau turned down the country’s Cultural Merit medal, pointing to the state’s lack of support for the culture sector during the Covid-19 crisis.
In response to Nanau's decision, the Culture Ministry published the financing that Nanau’s latest film Collective, Romania’s proposal for the 2021 Oscars, received for development, production, and participation to festivals, and the set of measures it took during the pandemic, including financing granted through its Acces Online (Online Access), Nevoi Culturale de Urgență (Emergency Cultural Needs), Programul Cultural Prioritar (Priority Culture Program), and National Culture Days, a program to purchase artworks, and the measures allowing culture sector professionals unable to gain any revenues to benefit from an allowance amounting to 75% of the gross salary.
The signatories of the letter said, however, that most of the financing lines mentioned by the Culture Ministry, presented as if they were “support schemes created during the pandemic,” “have been running with difficulty for years.”
They also point to culture minister Bogdan Gheorghiu’s attempt to “discredit director Alexander Nanau” for signaling the state of the sector by turning down the presidential medal. “The minister pulls out the records with the funding received by Mr. Nanau’s film starting with 2016 as if we were talking about sums granted by Mr. Gheorghiu, and the requester thus lost his right to protest. He attacks a man who contributes to the international prestige of the Romanian culture and implicitly if Romania, but avoids the substance of the issue,” the letter argues.
The signatories ask the culture minister to apologize publicly “for intentionally manipulating the public opinion” and called for “competent people at the helm of the Culture Ministry, not people who despise those who work in the sector and do not understand their problems.”
The letter, available here, is signed by theater and film professionals, musicians, writers, architects, artists, gallery owners, and cultural managers.