“When justice fails to be a form of memory, memory alone can be a form of justice”

Between Silence and Sin explores the life and work of dissident Romanian poet Ana Blandiana, an artist threatened, censored, and banned by the Communist dictatorship. Even now, she continues to fight to reveal the truth about the past and to build a free and democratic future. 

An intense biography about beliefs, censorship, and the power of writing, this film explores the contrast between the sensibility of the poet and the strength of the truth-seeker. The film interweaves never-before-seen archival materials and personal testimonials from Blandiana, punctuated with momentous poetry written by her over eight decades. The result is a showcase of the ease with which truth and propaganda blur, and the importance of art as the last bastion of a nation’s collective soul in the face of oppression.

As authoritarian governments wrestle for control throughout the world, in countries long considered to be bulwarks of democracy and free speech, the story of Ana Blandiana is more relevant than ever.

About Ana Blandiana

Ana Blandiana, one of Europe’s most important yet overlooked poets, leads a struggle for justice in Romania, by exposing Communist atrocities and building a nation-wide civil movement for democratic reform.

She has published 17 books of poetry, two short story collections, ten books of essays and one novel. Her work has been translated into 26 languages published in 97 books of poetry and prose to date. Among her many awards, she has earned the European Poet of Freedom Prize, the Griffin Trust’s Lifetime Recognition Award, the Gottfried von Herder Prize from the Austrian Academy, the Women of Courage Award from the US State Department, and the Légion d’Honneur from France.

Born in 1942, the daughter of a frequently-imprisoned Orthodox priest, Blandiana was banned from publishing before she was even officially recognized as a writer and resisted persecution, house arrest, death threats, and censorship during the Communist regime. Her poems were used as a form of resistance, representing the first samizdat of Romanian literature, anonymously handwritten and circulated underground. As Blandiana remarks, in a dictatorship poetry contains “the last molecules of freedom” which people breathe in order to feel free.

After the 1989 revolution, she threw herself into the tumult of changes to fight for freedom and democracy, and worked to create a new civil organization that culminated in a first of its kind memorial and museum to the victims of Communism. The formation of Alianta Civica was also a decisive factor which made possible Romania’s entry into the European Union.

Equally a critic of the Communist deprivations and the spiritual void following the transition to a kleptocratic Capitalism, Ana Blandiana continues to interpret the world through her poetry and speaks to bring justice to the forgotten.

About the Film

Between Silence and Sin will be an intensely personal biography interweaving testimonials from Ana Blandiana, extensive use of never-before-seen archival materials, private recordings, official television and radio appearances, and other archival materials. The film will utilize footage shot throughout Romania paired with Blandiana’s poetry to reflect the events captured in the story, as her writing over eight decades mirror the turmoil and transition in Romania and Eastern Europe. The result will be a visually striking film that will convey not just the factual events of Blandiana’s life but also her poetic sensibilities.

Production began in July 2021, filming the most extensive set of interviews with Ana Blandiana ever conducted in three different locations throughout Romania — Bucharest (site of her home), Sighetu Marmației (site of the Memorial to the Victims of Communism she founded), and the site of her country home. Scenes of her at schools, conferences, and ordinary life help further paint a portrait of this complex and compelling character. Additionally, dozens of hours of video archives and hundreds of personal photos have been acquired.

Over the coming months, we will be working to identify and access relevant material from the film and television archives in Romania and other areas of Europe, as Blandiana has more than 60 years of life in the public eye in Romania.

Trailer

Our Team

Diana Nicolae, Producer & Director, is an accomplished documentary filmmaker who has produced or directed over 50 films. A native Romanian, she began her career in media working as a TV news reporter in the post-Communist era, prior to working as a writer for BBC Radio on the first dramatic series inspired by the country in transition.

She has produced several documentary films about Romania, starting with Red Darkness Before Dawn (2003), which was broadcast on PBS and included in the Cold War archives of the Hoover Institute and the US Holocaust Memorial. Her subsequent films have delved into topics as diverse as intellectual migration, substance abuse, dating violence, and a group of camera-shy nuns.

Recent work:
Come Find Me (trailer) – Screened at Visions Du Reel, Astra Film Festival, and SEEFilm Los Angeles, among others. Currently negotiating worldwide distribution rights.

My Father’s Revolution (trailer) – Screened at SEEFilm Los Angeles and other festivals.

One Mother’s Fire – Screened at nearly 20 film festivals around the world, winner of multiple awards; broadcast on PBS regionally in eight states.

A Private Judgment – screened at multiple film festivals in Europe and North America.

Matt Jozwiakowski, Camera & Editor, has worked as producer, camera and editor on over a dozen acclaimed documentaries.

With more than 15 years as a marketing director for multi-national iconic brands, he has managed multi-million dollar budgets to shepherd highly creative and compelling advertising campaigns into market.

His documentary work has likewise been featured in film festivals throughout North America and Europe, and been broadcast on PBS regionally.

Recent work:
Then Everything Changed – Distributed to over 350 colleges nationwide as part of a partnership with leading non-profit organizations.

Frank’s RedHot TV campaign – Marketing director for first major update to the break-through “I put that $#~+ on everything” campaign.

French’s Mustard TV campaign – Marketing director for docu-style TV campaign repositioning the 100-year-old American iconic brand.

Alexandru Munteanu, Co-Producer, is a multi-award-winning documentary producer and director.

Since 1993, he has been a producer for the documentary unit of Televiziunea Română (TVR), the leading broadcast television station in Romania, with a reach of over 19 million people.

He has produced or directed 14 stand-alone documentaries, and over 500 episodes of acclaimed documentary series that have been broadcast nationally and received international recognition.

Recent work:
Resistance Through Culture – A nationally broadcast documentary series of 90 episodes; winner of APTR award (Romanian Emmy) in 2012.

Archeology of Crime – A 17-episode nationally broadcast documentary series exploring the crimes of Communism.

Built Romania – A 10-episode nationally broadcast series presenting the evolution of architecture in modern Romania.

Memorial of Pain – Producer of the landmark documentary series of post-Communist Romania, now over 250 episodes, chronicling the crimes of the Communist era for the first time.

Donate

HELP US FINISH BETWEEN SILENCE AND SIN

DONATE NOW to make a quick, simple gift to support the continued production and preliminary editing of this important film. Ana Blandiana is one of the most important poets of the 20th century, and one of Eastern Europe’s most fervent activists for democracy — your gift will help bring her life and work to the world.

This film is a fully independent and self-funded production, so to continue the film we need your help and support. Help close our $50,000 funding gap with your contribution. 100% of your gift will go directly to production and travel expenses, and to help access and license the many film and image archives needed to properly tell this historically-important story. Your support will also help make the project even more attractive to grant-funding organizations that can help provide the future funds to finish the film.

SUPPORT LEVEL PERKS for a gift of …
$25 – Receive acknowledgement on social media
$50 – Receive a digital download of the final film (delivery date TBD) AND thanks on social media
$100 – Receive your name included in “FRIENDS OF THE FILM” end credits
$250 – Receive exclusive access to a digital screening of the film AND “FRIENDS OF THE FILM” credit
$500 – Receive your name listed in “SPECIAL THANKS” credits of the film AND all perks above
$1,000 – Receive tickets for two to the FESTIVAL PREMIERE AND all perks above
$2,500 – Receive “ASSOCIATE PRODUCER” credit in the film AND receive perks above


All donations will be used directly to pay for travel and filmmaking expenses. If you would like to support the work of Ana Blandiana, we encourage you to purchase one of many fantastic books available in English, including A4: My Native Land, and The Sun of Hereafter / Ebb of the Senses from anywhere fine books are sold.

Testimonials

I salute your project on a documentary about Ana Blandiana and will give you assistance with pleasure. Like you, I believe that her courage and initiative down the years deserve greater recognition both within Romania and beyond.

Dennis Deletant, obe, historian (UK)

Ana Blandiana is not just a poet that you learn about in school, but someone who has contributed to the writing of recent history through her activity at the Civic Academy and by revealing the truth about Communist repression. For the enormous impact she continues to have on European democracy and culture, this is certainly a worthy film and an admirable initiative.

cristina guseth, Director of Freedom house romania Foundation

As today’s world reels between crises, Ana Blandiana’s poetic authority grows ever more urgently essential.

fiona sampson, poet (UK)

Probably Romania’s greatest contemporary poet.

Charles Altieri, Chicago review (USA)

Ana Blandiana wanted to render justice by making the facts known and bringing them to light, through this memory placed at the heart of public debate in her country, and beyond. Quite simply, she created the world’s first memorial to the victims of Communism.

M. Henri Paul, french ambassador in romania (2009) (FRANCE)

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