From The Shadows / Din Umbre is the first visual study to document the shaping of Romanian Hip Hop from its origins to its current, active role within a culture that now, more than ever, demands an identity in tune with the global changes happening around it.
Essentially a story of the underdog, the history of Romanian Hip Hop is a narrative threaded by a ‘Do-It-Yourself’ spirit that emerged from the shadows of Communism to provide an alternate voice for a society in transition. In spite of its immediate cultural marginalization, Romanian Hip Hop took the country’s rapidly-growing music industry by storm, becoming one of the highest-selling genre by the end of the 1990s. Developing a prolific and self-sustaining underground strand, the movement’s maturity in the 21st century has brought it to a new level of consciousness. Through the efforts of artists, labels and fans, Romanian Hip Hop’s impact is now seen and felt more than in any previous years.
Coming from a background in film and media studies, Andrei Tanasescu and Sebastian Cimpean were motivated to take on this project by their personal interest in Romanian Hip Hop.
As Romanians living abroad, our fascination with the movement’s evolution over the years was always struck by the absence of a concise documentation that explored ‘how’ and ‘why’ it became such an integral element of Romania’s culture. Inspired by the ‘do-it-yourself’ nature of the movement, we travelled to Romania in November 2012 to begin preliminary research and conduct interviews (presented in our promo).
Sebastian Cimpean was born and raised in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and emigrated to Toronto, Canada in 2001. In 2010 he graduated from Ryerson University with a BA in Radio and Television Arts and went on to follow a masters in Media Design and Communication at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam, in 2012. Influenced by his past and the formative years spent between communist apartment blocks, his experience as an immigrant motivated him to look from ‘without’ at the social and cultural intricacies affiliated with the westernization process of post-communist Romania. Fascinated by the recording and manipulation of static and moving images, his directorial debut was a 15 minute documentary on the adoption of extreme sports in Romania.
Andrei Tanasescu immigrated to Canada in 1994, having spent his early childhood collecting cassette tapes in Bucharest. After graduating from the University of Toronto with a specialist in Film Studies he co-founded the Toronto-Romanian Film Festival – now at its fifth edition. He joined the programming team at the Toronto International Film Festival after completing an MLitt at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His passion for music and cinema have led to a number of projects that concern the peculiarities of each form and their potential for historical reevaluation.
Considering the DIY nature of the movement and absence of official archival sources, our research process involves crowdsourcing. We are casting a wide net, asking potential contributors to contact us with any print (photographs, flyers, press clippings), audio (unreleased material, radio recordings), video (concert footage) material that would help to construct a better context for our documentary.
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As the project is entirely self-financed, production costs have risen beyond our means and as tough as a decision this was, we decided to reach out to the larger community to make this project come to fruition. Your contribution will help finance the production phase of the documentary throughout the spring/summer of 2013.
Help make it happen by contributing on their Indiegogo page.
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