Alexander Nanau, director of the acclaimed documentary Collective, has turned down Romania’s “Cultural Merit” medal. To be presented by the countries president Klaus Iohannis on 15 January 2021 (Day of National Culture), Nanau protests the government’s lack of COVID-19 support toward its creative sector.
In a public statement on his Facebook page, The Emmy award-winning director said: «As a filmmaker who at this moment is attracting the biggest international attention to the Romanian culture and cinema, I consider it would be hypocrisy to accept this decoration since the cinema and its institutional structures are brain dead. From March 2020 till now the authorities not only have refused to address this topic but moreover have aggravated it by neglect and lack of initiative».
In Romania, COVID-19 has affected its production and creative sectors significantly with no production grants allocated in 2020. Furthermore, the 100 million euro 100 m EUR that was allocated by the Ministry of Culture towards its cultural sector, only companies reaped the benefits, not independent artists. Others, including those supported through copyright, as well as authorised persons, liberal professions, individual/family businesses, and persons remunerated through service contracts have seen 75% of the national gross salary as compensation.