Confession: I have been writing this post for over a week. Normally, I am able to sit down and write a blog post in about an hour or so (yes, it takes me that long!), but now that we have a baby I find that I can only grab a few minutes here and there to write. Not to mention that until recently, I felt like a zombie. At least now I finally feel like my brain is somewhat working again. I didn’t realize how much having a baby affects your capacity for thinking until I forgot how to say the word “bake” and instead my mind created the word “oven-ate”. As in, “I just need to…uh,…oven-ate the lasagna”. So now I’ve said that, please forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes in this post!
I can’t believe I haven’t written about Romania’s film industry yet, especially because I love watching movies filmed there just for the scenery. I also like to annoy my husband by pointing out every place we’ve been, “Look, honey, it’s BRAŞOV”. Thankfully, we’ll be headed there in just 19 days so we can see it for ourselves in person.
In Georgia, there are lots of tax incentives to seduce film and production companies to film locally. As a result, you see a lot of familiar places at the movie theater. In my opinion, it makes it harder to suspend your disbelief that the characters are driving through downtown Los Angeles when you recognize the “Underground Atlanta” sign or you see a “Peachtree St.” road sign in the background. It is kind of fun when you do see production going on around you – once I was walking in downtown Atlanta and I went past a street that was filming for The Walking Dead. There was a burnt out car and basically looked like the apocalypse had hit. They film so many movies and TV shows in Georgia that we are now known as “The Hollywood of the South” aka Y’allywood.
As it turns out, a lot of films are made in Romania as well. One of my favorite movies, Cold Mountain, was filmed in Zarneşti (my husband’s hometown). I find it interesting that Zarneşti often stands in for “Southern Appalachia” on the screen, as seen in productions like Cold Mountain, Hatfields and McCoys, and The Keeping Room. I remember hearing in an interview that the director of Cold Mountain needed a location that would receive a decent amount of snow which is why they chose Romania.
Like Georgia, Romania also offers lots of tax incentives to lure in filmmakers. In 2018, tax rebates were revealed worth up to 15 million dollars per production.
One of the main film studios in the country, Castel Film Studios, was founded in 1990, right after the revolution. Their facilities are located between Bucharest and Ploieşti and are huge, include several sound stages and outdoor standing sets. There are several cool YouTube videos that show the various old sets.
“Old Town” (recognize anything from Cold Mountain or Hatfields and McCoys?)
…and my personal favorite, “American Street” (I think this location stood in for NYC on A Christmas Prince)
One thing that I enjoy immensely is trying to “catch” where a film was made in Romania. Some movies make it super easy. Both “A Christmas Prince”, “A Christmas Prince 2”, and “A Christmas Prince 3” (yes, 3) AND A Princess for Christmas (not to be confused with “A Christmas Princess”…I’m sensing a theme here) were filmed at Peleş Castle in Sinaia, close to Braşov.
I have visited Peleş Castle a few times, but like many tours, they don’t let you go in every room. If you watch these movies, it’s kind of like getting a behind-the-scenes peek at places generally reserved for special tours. You can find The Christmas Prince Trilogy on Netflix.
Another movie filmed in Braşov is “Oh, Ramona!” which is a Netflix film based on the popular Romanian novel “Suge-o, Ramona!” by Andrei Ciobanu (which literally translates to: “Suck it, Ramona!”). While I can’t recommend watching this film for the plot, the gorgeous settings of Braşov’s Old Town and city center make it worth a quick look-see.
Of course, there are so many more films that I didn’t mention. If you ever find yourself stuck at home and unable to travel (like maternity leave!), you can do a bit of “traveling” to Romania through these films.