Monica and Gabriel
Monica and Gabriel (Michael Magidson, U.S., 26 min., documentary short): Monica and Gabriel Sas, siblings coming of age in the years following the fall of the Ceausescu regime in Romania, grow up in abject poverty and squalor, with alcoholic, dysfunctional parents. Nine-year old Monica is given the chance for a better life but it means leaving five-year old Gabriel behind to face a future of neglect and abuse. Her brave, life-changing decision leads them both to an orphanage. Seizing the opportunity for a second chance, both are able to rise above their considerable challenges through hard work, a support system, and their commitment to each other.
Key People (cast, crew, etc.):
Michael Magidson (director/editor), Mark & Stefania Magidson (Producers), George Dorobantu (Associate Producer), Sorin Gociu (Cinematographer), Marcello De Francisci (Composer)
Why did you decide to submit to FirstGlance?
FirstGlance is a dynamic film festival and I was thrilled it was located in my home town…I thought it would be a great place for my film to be viewed. The fact that it’s a great platform for indie films and has an impressive track record have been additional attractions. I submitted my film to it as well as to other film festivals.
Will someone from your team be attending FirstGlance?
I (Michael) will definitely be there as will Mark and Stefania Magidson. Most likely the music composer, Marcello De Francisci, will also attend.
What is something you feel is important for our readers to know about your film?
I was inspired to make this film from my mother’s work providing scholarships to Romanian orphans and abandoned children. I also am grateful to my father for teaching me about filmmaking from an early age. The process of interviewing Monica and Gabriel and asking them to delve deeply and share painful memories required a great deal of courage on their part and is a privilege to view. For me structuring the film was challenging, this is the kind of film where the story and flow comes in the editing process based on the footage. It took many iterations before I was comfortable it was working.
What should viewers expect from your film?
I hope viewers will find themselves swept away on a journey rich in emotions, from sadness, helplessness, and despair to hope, faith, and ultimately triumph. Monica and Gabriel’s stories are authentic, touching, at times overwhelming. There is some background information as well informing viewers why child abandonment has been such an issue in Romania.
Do you have any production stories our readers might enjoy?
I had many great memories getting to know various children from the SOS orphanage, doing activities with them such as playing basketball and riding bikes. All of the children are sweet, giving, and humble, and I will never forget the experience I had with them.
What are you looking forward to most at FirstGlance?
First of all, I hope festival participants will get to see and appreciate my film, the story it brings to light and all the work behind it. I am also very much looking forward to meeting new people especially other passionate filmmakers. I also am eager to watch the other films in the festival and have my own experience of them.
Where can our readers find more information about your film?
We have a Facebook page setup called “Monica and Gabriel” https://www.facebook.com/Monica-and-Gabriel-683350061768290/?ref=hl
“First Glance at FirstGlance” is a feature we will be running up to the FirstGlance Film Festival April 15-17 in Los Angeles. We will be giving you the info you need to know to about the great films you’ll be able to see, while also getting you excited and ready for the fest! If you’d like more information or to purchase tickets, visit their website.
All information, trailers, and photos seen here have been provided by the filmmakers whose films have been accepted to the festival.